Aiming to deliver value outside the sales funnel allows your business to build long-term relationships with customers, rather than focusing on a single sale.

Congratulations! You closed the deal. You hammered out the terms and set up the billing. But, according to marketing experts Mark Bonchek and Vivek Bapat, now the real work of growing revenue begins.

Successful 21st century businesses focus on what happens after they close a sale, not the transaction itself. That’s because consumers — and B2B customers — have higher expectations than ever before. They read reviews, listen to webinars, and download white papers before they buy, and they expect a better experience after.

Purchase brands vs. usage brands

Bonchek and Bapat describe two types of brands: “purchase brands” and “usage brands.” The usage brands “focus on the moments of truth that happen after the transaction, whether in delivery, service, education or sharing.” As a result, they command greater loyalty and higher prices than competitive brands that are content to end their relationship with an invoice.

Suppliers need to shift focus from persuading people to buy, to persuading them to become a committed advocate for their brand. Click To Tweet

What does that mean for you as a supplier? You need to shift your focus from persuading people to buy, to persuading them to become a committed advocate for your brand.

“Be” the B2B customer

B2B accounts are complicated. They have many decision makers and many points of contact. You may have a sales team with multiple reps and sales support people on one account.

With so much going on, it’s important to “be” the customer. Try to identify and understand the people who depend on your product or service to get their work done every day. Those are the people you need to impress.

“What is the likelihood that you would recommend Company X to a friend or colleague?” According to Bain & Company, this is the one question that most closely correlates to customer satisfaction. “High scores on this question correlated strongly with repurchases, referrals and other actions that contribute to a company’s growth.”

And what makes people recommend a product or service? Success while they’re using it.

Social media: An important part of the B2B relationship

Bonchek and Bapat say, “The purchase and usage mindsets are equally, or even more, relevant for B2B brands. Business solutions tend to have longer life cycles than consumer products and there is an even greater opportunity to deliver value outside the sales funnel.“

So yes, you may have to tweet. And stay present on LinkedIn. Because your customers look there to follow trends and find good information to help run their businesses. Industry forums, YouTube, and Instagram are also great places to provide value beyond the sale.

Don’t worry if you’re not a creative genius. Most of us aren’t. Do try to talk about issues that are relevant and maybe even unsettling to your industry. If your customers are having a problem, chances are other businesses have the same concerns and vice versa.

You probably have an opinion, maybe even a solution. Use social media to share it with a larger audience, your users will thank you for it.

How do you deliver value outside the sales funnel?

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