Some thoughts after reading an interesting discussion of the challenges of relationship marketing in the B2B arena:
Putting the relationship back into B2B marketing for real means balancing the imperatives of both customer relationship stages and buying stages.
Often these two things are regarded as the same when in fact they are connected but quite different. A customer relationship develops over the course of multiple buying cycles. It is not driven by an individual deal, or a stream of nurtured content. It is the sum of a range of relevant and relationship stage-appropriate activities and actions. It moves across a continuum of states: from attraction to cultivation, then engagement, and finally collaboration.
The strategy for driving real customer relationships requires a relationship marketing framework that delivers a means for assessing/benchmarking the relationship, and a strategic and tactical set of maps to plan the optimal mix of both marketing and sales activities, content, and approaches to drive movement across the lifecycle of the customer.
— Lisa Dennis