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Building Loyalty in B2B Markets

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Executive Summary.

  1. Why building loyalty is critical to success
  2. Five suggestions on how to do so

Building Loyalty in B2B Markets

At the risk of repeating what has been said many a time by recognised experts, Pareto’s law better known as the 20/80 rule remains alive and well. Yet, why do companies still spend a disproportionate amount of time focused on getting new customers rather than investing in their existing clients and leveraging those relationships to grow share of their clients’ spend.

This is all the more surprising given that your client base is your single greatest asset. No customers equates to no company!

Hence, here are five thoughts for you and your team to focus on in building loyalty in B2B markets.

Trust: How strong is the client’s trust in your professional competence, your integrity, and your willingness to always focus on your client’s agenda? Can you work informally, without constant checks, controls, and updates? Does your client require extensive documentation and analysis to support everything you say, or are they willing to consider your judgment and insight without challenging it?

Thought leadership: Are you perceived as a trusted business advisor who brings both subject matter depth and broad business knowledge and judgment to the table? Are you shaping and leading the client’s agenda, or simply reacting to it? Would your client say that you bring them new ideas on a regular basis? Do you have strong “share of mind” in terms of the group of individuals who are shaping how your client thinks?


Inner circle: Do you have a “seat at the table” for significant strategic and operational conversations and decisions? Does your client call you and say, “We’re just thinking about this idea and I wanted to bounce it off you at an early stage…”

Transparency: Does the client openly share information with you about their plans, programs, priorities, and upcoming initiatives? Or are you kept in the dark, at arm’s-length? The willingness to be transparent is a manifestation of trust.

Loyalty: Will the client always use you in areas of acknowledged competence? If they frequently shop around, or would be willing to drop you in favour of a slightly cheaper alternative, you may not have the high quality relationship that you thought you enjoyed.

These are in no particular sequence however, from experience Trust is the most critical of all.


Andrew Clare is Managing Partner of reLiance a business to business relationship marketing practice. I focus on improving client profitability through developing, implementing and measuring sustainable, collaborative business to business relationships.

Cell: +27 83 326 2451, E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Web: www.rassa.co.za, LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/andrewclare



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