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To cultivate lasting B2B customer relationships, assess where your customers are in the customer journey and how you can meet their needs. — Getty Images/Sunwoo Jung

Customer relationships are crucial to the success of any business — especially in the business-to-business (B2B) space. For B2B companies, developing relationships with customers can provide an array of benefits to all parties involved, including increased loyalty, networking opportunities, and an increase in revenue.

Here are five ways you can manage the expectations of your B2B customers.

Build a trustworthy partnership

Developing and maintaining a trusting relationship with B2B clients ensures a long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnership. To help customers feel valued and understood, demonstrate your trustworthiness by providing honest and open communication, ensuring you answer messages promptly, and offering growth and networking opportunities with like-minded clients. Be sure to track customer satisfaction via anonymous surveys and by analyzing metrics to uncover areas where clients may feel unsupported and what clients think you’re doing right.

Taking time to nurture the relationships with your B2B customers can ultimately lead to additional sales, as customers are likely to develop a sense of loyalty and will look at your offerings first before taking their business elsewhere.

[Read More: 5 Business Practices that Build Strong B2B Relationships]

Improve your customer experiences

Getting ahead of customers’ needs and solving problems on their behalf can be very valuable for B2B customers, and it demonstrates your business's desire to improve customer success rather than trying to make a sale.

To enhance the customer experience, assign a health score to customer accounts to identify your happiest and unhappiest customers. Look at where each of these clients is on their customer journey. Work to uncover patterns as to what is and isn’t working for them, then promptly make changes to address those gaps. This may entail improving the overall user experience, offering more education or resources, or providing personalized services.

Studies show that 83% of B2B buyers prefer to do business online rather than through a salesperson or other outlet.

Stay in touch after the sale

B2B customers are looking for long-term relationships with their suppliers, as they’ll continue to have needs for as long as they’re in business. If you’re ignoring your customers after you make a sale, you’re missing out on an opportunity to further develop your relationship and establish a long-term customer.

Depending on the services offered, your B2B customers may need guidance or training to properly implement them. By staying engaged with customers, providing instruction, and being available to answer questions with a positive attitude, you can humanize the customer experience and demonstrate your company's value and commitment to customer satisfaction, which can go a long way in strengthening the relationship.

Further, staying in contact with your customers after a purchase allows you to continue selling to them — if they express dissatisfaction or a need down the road, you can meet their needs through product and service promotion.

[Read More: 10 Valuable B2B Sales Tools for Small Businesses]

Use targeted marketing campaigns

Targeted marketing campaigns — which can take shape as an advertisement, social media content, email, newsletter, etc. — are a great way to share relevant and valuable information with your optimal B2B audience. Not only do these campaigns provide a chance for your business to show off its offerings to customers, but they highlight your company’s understanding of your audience’s problems and provide solutions to those needs, making your audience feel supported.

Effective marketing requires you to know your customer from their stage in the customer journey to their demographics to their company’s goals. Acquiring this information and using it to guide your marketing campaign can ensure your content is suited to the needs of your target audience.

[Read More: 5 Smart Ways to Market Your B2B Business]

Optimize your website’s usability

Today’s modern customers expect businesses to have some kind of online presence. Studies show that 83% of B2B buyers prefer to do business online rather than through a salesperson or other outlet. A business without an online presence could be losing out on e-commerce sales due to out-of-date practices and a lack of modernization.

Keep customers returning by offering online shopping capabilities via a website along with blogs and social media content that is of value to clients. In addition, provide your customers with outlets where they can make requests and provide feedback. Ensure all of your customers — regardless of any limitations or disabilities — can access your website by optimizing its usability; otherwise, your business’s reputation could be negatively impacted, and you could miss out on sales from those who have difficulty navigating.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Become a small business member and save!

Become an integral voice in the world’s largest business organization when you join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a small business member. Members also receive exclusive discounts from B2B partners, including a special offer from FedEx that can help your business save hundreds a year on shipping. Become a member today and start saving!