If you’re a marketer or an entrepreneur, you know the importance of loyalty for your company. Whether you deal with customers, influencers, or business partners, you want them to remain loyal to your brand for as long as possible.
You use B2C loyalty programs to provide excellent customer experience and keep them loyal to your business. But when it comes to keeping your business partners engaged and making them stick with you in the long run, B2B loyalty programs and channel loyalty programs prove to be extremely useful.
In this blog post, we discuss everything about B2B loyalty programs and how they are different from B2C loyalty programs. Read on to gain valuable insights.
What are B2B Loyalty Programs?
B2B loyalty programs are customer retention solutions with specific features and loyalty logic designed to help businesses establish brand loyalty with the businesses they sell to. They differ greatly from their B2C counterparts in terms of both incentives and progression.
Difference between B2B and B2C loyalty programs
B2B and B2C loyalty programs are designed for different types of customers, and they have different goals and objectives. Here are some of the key differences between B2B and B2C loyalty programs:
B2C loyalty programs are free to join. To become a member of a B2B loyalty program, one needs to buy or sign a pact.
2. Potential customers
In B2C loyalty programs the number of prospective customers is a lot more compared to B2B loyalty programs.
3. Target market and scale
The target market and the scale for B2B companies are small and focused, whereas for B2C companies it’s much larger.
4. Need of buyers
B2B loyalty programs are less personal and more value driven. B2C loyalty programs are very personal and trigger the emotions of customers.
5. Volume of purchases
In B2B, the volume of purchases is massive as many people in an organization use the products. In B2C, the purchases are small as the customers buy the products or services to use on their own or with their families.
6. Buying cycles
B2B loyalty programs involve a longer buying cycle, whereas B2C loyalty programs involve a shorter buying cycle.
In B2B loyalty programs, the main focus is on lead generation. In B2C loyalty programs, the focus is to make customers stick with the business for a long time and build a strong brand image.
8. Reward achievement
In B2B loyalty programs, the potential to achieve huge rewards is much higher compared to B2C loyalty programs.
Features of B2B Loyalty Programs
B2B loyalty programs often vary depending on the industry a business is in as well as its size and business style. That’s why different B2B rewards are suitable for different businesses. Let’s take a look at them:
B2B loyalty programs can use perks to build VIP clubs for valuable clients. Perks such as early access, priority access, exclusive content, and experiences such as VIP tours, meet-and-greets, and more are useful when it comes to engaging and retaining channel partners and influencers.
Tiers in B2B loyalty programs are levels and progressions that channel partners and other clients can reach depending on their spending and volume purchases. Tiered reward programs categorize rewards into different levels. Customers are placed in tiers as per their purchasing capacity and transaction history.
As per Bond, 37% of customers said that they would readily pay to upgrade to an enhanced tier of a loyalty program. The same study found that 47% of Gen-Z customers said that they would pay to upgrade their loyalty program membership.
3. Partner rewards
Partner rewards include gift packages, branded merchandise, and other items. Client companies, business partners, and influencers receive these rewards as a free bonus, which encourages them to transact more with the business and drive more revenue.
4. Experiential rewards
As the name suggests, experiential rewards are rewards that give or create experiences for partners or clients. Here are some stats on experiential rewards. Eight out of ten people in the millennial bracket said they would spend money on experiences instead of products.
As per loyalty platform Tada, 81% of best-performing B2B companies offer non-cash reward programs to their clients. As per recent stats, 84% of B2B companies are embracing the client experience model. A 2019 research by Gartner showed that the number of loyalty programs that offer experiential rewards grew by 17%, from 61 to 78%, in just one year.
5. Referral program
Did you know that referral programs generate three times to five times higher conversion rates than any other marketing programs? As a majority of customers trust referrals from people they know, referral programs are extremely beneficial for businesses.
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How to Build Effective B2B Loyalty Programs?
Here are seven steps to build an effective B2B loyalty program.
1. Define clear and measurable goals
Do you want to keep your channel partners or influencers loyal to your brand for a long time? Do you want to enhance sales of specific products? Or do you want to enhance your brand image? Asking these questions will enable you to understand what you want to achieve with your B2B loyalty program. You need to be extremely clear about your why as that would define the purpose of your B2B loyalty program.
2. Partner with the right loyalty solution provider
Selecting the right loyalty solution provider can mean the difference between success and failure. Choosing the right loyalty solution provider can take your B2B loyalty program to new heights.
A recent study found that almost one-fourth of B2B organizations said that the proven return on investment is one of the most important factors in selecting a loyalty vendor.
3. Handpick the right rewards
Handpick the right rewards after taking the needs and preferences of business partners, channel partners, and influencers into account. You can leverage sales data to make sure that the loyalty rewards are relevant to the recipients. Aside from financial rewards, offer personalized experiences, exclusive products, or discounts to your business partners.
4. Ensure the loyalty programs are user-friendly and easy to join
Make sure that your digital loyalty programs are user-friendly and that your business partners and influencers can join your B2B loyalty program easily. Apart from providing your business partners and influencers multiple ways to join, ensure that the process is fast and simple.
5. Promote the program
Leverage your website and mobile app to drive engagement, and existing marketing assets to build awareness, and encourage your employees to promote the B2B loyalty program.
6. Analyze and monitor results
Analyze and monitor the results of B2B loyalty programs to make sure that it’s fulfilling your goals. Keep an eye on feedback and important data to measure the success of your loyalty program.
You can leverage the power of a sophisticated loyalty platform to focus on the areas that can give your B2B loyalty programs the best results.
7. Upgrade and update your B2B loyalty program
As per a recent study, almost two-thirds of B2B brands said that they plan to implement new loyalty programs or upgrade their existing ones. To remain competitive, you must do the same. Your B2B loyalty program should evolve with time.
And to make that happen, keep your loyalty program up-to-date by regularly evaluating and improving it. That’s where partnering with the right loyalty platform provider can be extremely useful.
Taking everything into account,
B2B loyalty programs are extremely useful to reward, engage, as well as build long-term relationships with business partners and influencers. At LoyaltyXpert, we have designed effective and highly-targeted B2B loyalty programs for many businesses across industries. If you intend to run successful B2B loyalty programs for your business, contact our team of experts or book a free demo now.