Six tips for optimizing your B2B relationships in the time of COVID-19


B2B companies can use the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to re-evaluate what clients and stakeholders need and accelerate products and services that will better serve them. 


Use current customer needs as your new barometer.

Make the effort to understand how your clients’ and stakeholders’ priorities have changed and what matters most to them. Use this opportunity to recalibrate your relationship with them.
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Examine your experience landscape and conduct a strategic triage.

Determine what new product or service innovations you’ve generated during this crisis that you want to take forward. Also, think about what new partnerships you’ve created or opportunities you can identify to bring new B2B partners into your experience ecosystem. Once the worst is over, which practices will you keep, and which should you leave behind?

Be alert to unexpected or innovative solutions.

Focus on the latent and unmet needs of your customers and create an experience map that pinpoints the series of interactions customers have with you. Identify which interactions are ripe for signature, brand-defining experiences. Next, identify the intersection where what you can offer meets what the people in your community need. Then, seek out innovative solutions — including new ecosystems with potential partners in complementary sectors — that could yield long-term benefits for all.

Don’t neglect your existing ecosystem.

Most B2B companies are deeply enmeshed within a web of commercial interdependencies, with vendors, with partners, and with their supply chain. The crisis should give you a fresh look at — and fresh appreciation for — all of your business relationships, and the experiences you provide.

Celebrate and reward good service, not just sales.

Use recognition programs, awards ceremonies, and appreciation dinners to reward your employees and partners for excellent customer experience practices. Doing this can help shift your company’s culture from selling to serving and reward customer-centricity.

Remember: No company’s success can be divorced from societal success.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to help you realize that values, purpose, and genuine care really do matter. In the era of COVID-19, the traditional imperative of business growth has been augmented by a larger truth: Company success cannot be divorced from societal success, whether economic or humanistic. There’s no better moment than now to demonstrate your company’s broader purpose and credibility as a force for positive change.

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