B2B is all about keeping your relationships with your clients or potential clients in order. It's not as easy as it sounds unless you have some expertise in the area.
Your B2B communications should typically form part of CRM (Client Relationship Management) coupled with Sales & Marketing prospect development.
Many companies appreciate the benefits of effective client communications both in terms of account maintenance but also ongoing development and growth. Some also refuse to accept the concept of a "lost customer" and work hard to re-develop and recover such clients over time.
Equally important is having the ability to identify new prospects and to convert these into live leads and hopefully new accounts as fast as possible.
In both cases, data quality and accuracy is critically important and typically, a thorn in the side of many organisations.
The trouble is that over time, your existing business client information becomes out-of-date and regular maintenance is imperative - unless you are willing to accept the unprofessional impression made when, for example:
* Your letters and communications are sent addressed to key personnel that no longer work for your client.
* You send propositions and advertising material that is now inappropriate to your customers' activities.
* Different people from different parts of your organisation are operating with the same client but actually oblivious to each other’s activities.
In the case of new prospects and marketing, the need for highly professional and targeted B2B is equally critical. Time in front of a live lead is in short supply and it's unlikely to be secured unless all communications are pertinent and immaculately crafted.
Converting a prospect into a live lead can be even more of a challenge.
Few businesses have the time to take communications from potential suppliers seriously. Even fewer will be prepared to do so if the communications are misdirected or show anything less than an accurate understanding of their business and its needs.
Initial promising prospects will also vanish overnight if their requests for information and responses are not promptly followed-up - few will forgive the "sorry, your request never reached us" syndrome.
In other words, you may have one initial chance of 'getting it right'.
To make all of the above things happen certain key things are required:
* You must know your existing clients and hold accurate intelligence on them.
* You must be able to access good contact lists and critical data for prospective clients.
* Supporting administrative and management systems must be in place.
Ideally, B2B must form part of an integrated set of process and communications culture that takes time and expertise to develop. There are companies who specialise in this area, so it may be worth investigating a little further.