Trust is an integral part of any meaningful human relationship. At work, trust must exist between leaders, teams and co-workers. In business, trust is built between a brand and its customers. Without trust, a company’s long term success is in jeopardy, and they would simply cease to exist.
Just like you and I as individual customers want to make the right decision when we want to purchase something, B2B buyers looking to purchase your technology offering want to do what's best for their organization. They want a reliable, good quality product from a credible, trusted vendor that will help solve their problem and achieve their business outcome.
Unfortunately brand trust doesn’t come easy
63% of people agree with this statement: “A good reputation may get me to try a product—but unless I come to trust the company behind the product I will soon stop buying it, regardless of its reputation.”
Building trust is a slow process, it is earned over time. Before we look into how to gain customer trust, let’s briefly look at why it is important to build trust with your B2B buyers.
Brand trust drives
Customer loyalty (62% consumers state they are loyal to brands they can trust)
How to build trust with modern B2B buyers
Customers grant trust based on ethics of the company and delivery on their promises. A company’s reputation and it’s brand perception is critical. If a customer has previously done business with you and has had a positive, trust filled experience, they are likely to do business with you again. But what if you are new within the industry still building your credibility and there are other well trusted brands out there that you are competing with, where do you start?
1.Understand buyer’s needs, challenges and goals - Buyers like to see that you understand their needs, challenges, goals and objectives. They also want to know that you truly understand their business, industry, customer behavior and trends. When you demonstrate that, it raises their comfort level and trust in you. What are they specifically looking to do - launch their ecommerce business, upgrade from existing legacy systems, partner with smaller stores to directly sell to customers? Buyers are not looking for a one off transaction, they are looking for their right, long term partner who will be with them through their digital transformation journey, now and in the future. They want to see your level of commitment towards them. Do you have their best interest at heart or do you just want to make a sale? Use empathy in your sales and marketing to show that you genuinely care about their reputation and business outcome.
2.Transparency - Technology buyers spend 65% of their time reviewing information or talking to other organizations or people . When buyers are considering you as a potential technology vendor, they are interested in learning not only about your commerce offerings but also relevant facts about your business. They want to know how you work, what your policies and business practices are, what other customers think about you and the general market feedback. Since buyers begin their research process online, use relevant content and right messaging that resonates with your buyers, to share facts, contextual insight and data supporting your brand, product, technologies used, processes, promise and claims. Be open and honest.
3.Enable your buyers - Technology buying is a long, complex process and buyers reward those that simplify it by providing them with the right, high quality information and tools they need to navigate various stages of their buying journey. Your website is typically where the buyers will first stop to learn about you. Think of everything you can provide using deep industry and customer knowledge that will help them. White papers, Research reports, Trend Reports, Product demo, Free trials, Competitor comparison, Buyer’s guide, Replatforming guide are some examples. Focus on assisting digital customer interactions by providing them immediate answers via chatbots and self service material is also useful.
4.Core values and your why - 64% of business buyers like to do business with vendors they share core values with .What are your core values, mission, vision and your “why”? Have you clearly defined what is important to you, what you stand for, why you do what you do, what is your overall vision and focus?
5.Communicate openly - Open communication builds and keeps trust. The relationship you are trying to build will be a long one, it might be easy and straightforward or it may be challenging at times, either ways building a rapport with key stakeholders will help along the way. Set clear expectations about priorities, working methodologies, processes and timelines. Be realistic in your promises. Document requirements from everyone on the buying team. Be timely in your email responses. Share your thoughts and ideas. Be collaborative
6.Evaluate your current sales and marketing initiatives - In today’s digital-first buying world, your approach should be to educate and help prospects with their needs. Evaluate your current sales and marketing strategies, tactics and messaging from this perspective. Are you coming across too salesy or are you educating the buyer with the aim of helping them with their purchase? Are your sales and marketing teams aligned?
7.Create influencer program - An influencer is someone who is an established, well-respected and recognized individual in the industry, such as - analysts, evangelists and consultants. Their opinion, views, recommendation and referral carries weight. Business buyers like to read/listen to what they have to say. Aligning yourself with them and having them mention, refer or recommend you can be a powerful strategy to build trust.
8.Collect the right data - Modern B2B buyers now expect the same online experience as B2C. They want hyper-personalized, frictionless, connected experiences as they research and gather information on products. What kind of content are they consuming? What topics and format do they prefer? How long do they spend on what kind of content? How do they engage? This kind of data can help you serve up more what they prefer, thereby increasing their engagement and trust.
Aligned sales and marketing teams that are able to create simplified, personalized, relevant and engaging buyer experience will outpace other businesses that don’t. They will be able to build long-lasting relationships that results in winning increased business.