Tag Archives: relationship marketing

Relationship Stages and Buying Stages

ImageSome 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

Relationship with Innovators

Looking at customer lifetime value is an important metric in applying and measuring the success of relationship marketing efforts for a key account.  Vetting those accounts to see which perform better than others when relationship marketing is applied can help you hone your strategies and tactics.

Taking it one step further – if you look at the highest stage of a relationship, one that I will call “Innovator,” you should consider applying the same life-time value principle with a twist.  When a relationship is at the Innovator stage, that means they are literally co-creating with your organization and building each other into each respective company’s strategy.   Check out this blog post by Braden Kelley of Innovation Excellence: http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2012/07/22/innovator-lifetime-value/

Being able to measure the performance of innovator-lifetime-value makes sense so you can gauge and manage these crucial high-end customers and give them the right kind of attention so you can keep and deepen that relationship your company worked so hard to gain.

Lisa Dennis

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