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9 Ways Trusted Advisors Can Nurture B2B Relationships

Updated: Mar 8

Building lasting B2B relationships is crucial for any organization's success. By forming strong bonds with your stakeholders, you can boost sales, improve loyalty, and raise brand awareness over time.

2 person looks holding a heart figure together to show business relationship

In our blog, the 4 Types of B2B Relationships, we mentioned that businesses earn “a certain amount of sales equity with their customers.”  For a quick recap, the 4 types that are measured according to sales equity levels are:

  1. Antagonistic: If you are categorized as “antagonistic,” you are in trouble— you are noticeably below average, and your customer is actively seeking to replace this relationship.

  2. Transactional: You are average. You have earned an average amount of sales equity, but have not differentiated yourself from the other vendors.

  3. Predisposed: You have earned above-average sales equity with your customers. Your customer will likely continue doing business with you but it is a relationship based on momentum, not motivation. 

  4. Trusted Advisor: You are noticeably better than your industry competitors and have earned high levels of sales equity with this customer! Your customer is loyal to your product or service.

The 4 levels can be depicted with the industry performance in a bell curve:

A bell curve of earned sales equity levels showing below, industry average, and above

Most providers will have an “average” earned sales equity within this bell curve. If the goal is business growth and an increase in revenue, then getting to the Trusted Advisor level is the logical move.

But how do you get there? How can you improve your earned sales equity? And how can businesses know their client’s true perception of their business relationships?

Nine (9) Ways to Nurture B2B Relationships

To nurture a B2B relationship, you should first understand your client's needs. Learn about the 6 Dimensions of a Trusted Advisor to turn your business relationships from Fine to Fantastic! But if you're ready to move forward, here are 9 ways to build stronger bonds with your clients.

1. Communicate Regularly

Effective communication plays a central role in maintaining successful relationships. Regularly communicating with partners, preferably using channels they are most comfortable with, aids in establishing an open and honest connection. This can involve sharing updates on business progress, discussing challenges, dispelling feedback, or simply brainstorming for future endeavors. Ensuring open lines of communication, helps you quickly address issues or concerns that may arise.

2. Demonstrate Authenticity

Being authentic in your interactions is crucial when building and nurturing B2B relationships. Being genuine, honest, and transparent in your interactions will pave the way for trust and credibility, essential building blocks for any long-term relationship.

3. Give Value First

According to Viral Solutions, “a healthy and beneficial business relationship is a two-way street.” Bringing valuable insights before offering paid services lets clients know you are there to help, not just to transact. Businesses are more likely to avail services from someone who’s already an asset to them before they even do a business deal. Prioritizing their needs displays your commitment to the relationship.

4. Build Trust

Trust lies at the cornerstone of any successful relationship. Building trust with partners involves delivering on promises, maintaining reliability, and exemplifying integrity in all actions. Trust is not granted overnight. Rather, it is earned over time through consistent positive actions and behaviors. Learn more about Building Trust in Business: The Power of Integrity & Competency.

5. Personalize the Relationship

One size does not fit all when it comes to business relationships. Each interaction with your clients should be tailored to their needs, preferences, and goals. Show sincere interest in their business and objectives and find ways to bring value to their operations. Using data-driven insights and technology to deliver personalized experiences that resonate with customers personally can increase customer retention rates.

People celebrating a milestone as a way to nurture b2b relationships

6. Celebrate Milestones Together

Appreciation goes a long way in nurturing relations. Recognize and cheer for your partners' noteworthy milestones and accomplishments. This could be through a simple congratulatory message, small gifts, or even organizing events to honor their achievements. Celebrating together boosts camaraderie and fortifies the bond sealing the relationship.

7. Seek Client Feedback

Client feedback is an essential tool for improvement. Encourage your partners to share their thoughts on your offerings, services, and overall relationship. Active solicitation of feedback conveys your openness to hear their thoughts. This is a key strategy to go from a Transactional level to a Trusted Advisor type of B2B relationship. Utilize these insights to fine-tune your approach, reinforce the partnership, and drive collective growth.

8. Adapt and Evolve

Business relationships are not static; they evolve, reflecting the changing business landscape. Being rigid can hinder the relationship's growth. Hence, stay flexible and receptive to new ideas and opportunities. Be open to adjusting your strategies to align with your partner's evolving needs.

9. Integrate Nurturing into Company Culture

Nurturing B2B relationships should not be an isolated effort but has to be integrated into your company's culture. Encourage employees at all levels to prioritize building and maintaining strong relationships with partners. Provide ample training and resources to support these relational efforts. This integration will foster a unified approach, promoting long-lasting, fruitful business relationships.

Access Client Insights that Matter with Encompass-CX

Before you move through strategizing to implement these 9 ways, it will be beneficial to identify what level of B2B relationship you have with your clients. With Encompass-CX, you can measure your buyer’s perception of your business and plot where these relationships fall within the 4 sales equity level.

You’ll be able to collect data and get actionable insights to improve your business relationship. Want to test it out for yourself? Sign up for the free trial here.

Showing the Encompass-CX dashboard

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