Everyone loves to be rewarded. Whether it comes via an actual gift or a gesture of sincere appreciation, people want to feel respected.

From C to B

This acknowledgement and its emotional responses are the prime benefits of loyalty programs. They build meaningful connections between a company and those it serves. Often we think about this in B2C terms. But all business is really built on personal relationships. For this reason, B2B loyalty programs are also an essential way to recognize, reward and strengthen connections.

However, while the goal of both B2C and B2B loyalty programs is to enhance customer and client relationships, there are differences. B2B loyalty programs, for example, don’t necessarily need to leverage points-based rewards to produce effective engagement.

"B2B programs also need to suitably facilitate member interactions. Mobile apps, however, provide the perfect platform. "

Instead, they should bolster business relationships by gaining a comprehensive understanding of clients. Program designers need to consider what clients actually need: what they value; what their prospects are and how these goals can be aligned. Once these are identified, a proper program can be constructed.

Authentic listening

Yet listening to and truly understanding—not just hearing—what clients value, and being able to address such by an active, personal and consistent response mechanism is paramount. 

B2B programs also need to suitably facilitate member interactions. Here, plastic loyalty program cards might be awkward. Mobile apps, however, provide the perfect platform. Digital channels can deliver instantaneous updates, real-time rewards, and allow clients to engage at their convenience.

Additionally, B2B loyalty programs should leverage the power of highly personal interactions. This can mean offering invitations to special events, hosting awards ceremonies or luncheons. Customers place emotional and highly irrational in value on such rewards, which can shift behavior in beneficial ways.

The specifics will vary for everyone. But the goal remains the same. A B2B loyalty program should encourage members to become a respected part of your business community.