How to Create Successful B2B Relationships

B2B marketers have many business partnerships – with brokers, customers, and others. And, as a B2B marketer, you often try to build close relationships with your partners. After all, close and long-term B2B relationships are likely to be more profitable.

But how do you know you have a close relationship?

• Partners take care of each other.

• The partnership is long-term.

• There is a network of multiple connections between the two partners.

• There is a lot of formal and informal communication.

• Problem solving is proactive and prevention-oriented.

• Trust prevails.

If you look at this list, you will see that close relationship with business partners are very similar to close relationships with personal partners. The fact is that they are similar in both understanding and creation.

And as much as you want to have a close relationship between companies, as well as in personal relationships, there are two things to keep in mind:

1. Does every potential partner want an intimate relationship?

2. Does every potential partner want to be close to you?

3. It seems to depend: first, what kind of partner are they? And secondly, are you considered good for long-term relationships?

4. If there is a discrepancy between two partners (for example, one wants an intimate relationship, the other is not good at intimate relationships), disagreements arise and problems are not easy to resolve. In short, it will not seem like an easy relationship.

You can now have two business partners who do not want a close relationship and can work very well. But, in this scenario, it is better to have the lowest price and the best price on the market. This is because your partner only considers you a profession and can easily look elsewhere. But it should work for you too because you also don’t want a close relationship.

B2B relationships: not everyone wants or needs close cooperation

In the business world, dependence on you is the key to determining whether a partner needs a close relationship.

For example, if what you offer to the relationship is so relevant that, if it doesn’t work out, your partner will suffer a lot, then that partner will want to have a close relationship with you. However, if you are easily compatible with what other providers have to offer, likely, your partner does not need a close relationship.

Here are some simple examples of both types of relationships:

• Suppose you are selling custom computer-based systems to a customer who is highly committed to very specific databases and software to run your business. If the databases go down or these specific programs fail, your customer’s business is at risk, as there are no other vendors who can help them in that case.

• But suppose you sell phone services to the same customer. This is a much less long-term commitment for customers, as telephone services are more compatible between operators. Customers are not at risk here.

So, you can see that some partners (customers, in the examples above) need a close relationship, but others do not.

Abandonment alert: Partners who do not need an intimate relationship usually have an incentive to convince you of this. That way, they can get all kinds of commitments from you, even if they don’t plan to be a partner for a long time. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the dependence of these B2B relationships.

But when you find a partner who really needs an intimate relationship, the question is: are you good at relationships?

The most direct way to have a good relationship is to make sure that your partner can trust you. For example:

• Are you willing and able to adapt the relationship to new circumstances?

• Can you inform others on time about events or changes in your business that may affect them?

• Are you expected to be concerned with improvements that could benefit the relationship as a whole and not just your business?

B2B relationships: reliable commitments

The best way to demonstrate your commitment to a close relationship is to make credible commitments.

When is a consultation reliable? In short, one has little value in other relationships.

A simple example of a reliable bet is giving someone fresh flowers. What makes fresh flowers believable is that they wilt and die and it is not possible to give the same fresh flowers to anyone else. (Dried flowers, however, are easy to give to more people over time, so they are unreliable.)

Now think about doing personal training for your partner. Personalization makes you reliable because the specialization doesn’t work with another partner. Provide the same general training partner, but it will no longer be a reliable commitment.

The same applies to customized equipment (especially for that partner, such as specific equipment for that partner) or specialized procedures.

Because they are specific to the partner, they indicate that you are committed to that relationship.

Now, if it’s hard to do, then so be it! But you can always send signals that you are committed to the relationship. Make sure that the signal you are sending is not the same signal that you are sending to others (if you do, it will no longer be reliable) and make sure that they do not know that you are sending the same signal for all; when it does, it looks cheap.