If customer loyalty could be boiled down to a single inspirational quote, it would probably be something that Maya Angelou once said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The finer details of a transaction and ongoing relationship (especially a complex B2B deal) can sometimes get lost in the mists of time. But if the overall experience is positive and memorable, you’re more likely to see customers return for more, while they’re more likely to share the experience with their wider network.
This simple fact hasn’t been lost on a growing number of companies, with 65% of B2B brands planning to implement a new loyalty program (or upgrade an existing one) in the next 12 months. And in this post-COVID business world, where budgets are tight and competition is fierce, an effective customer loyalty program powered by best-in-class software can be a real difference-maker.
In this article, we explore the benefits of implementing loyalty program software and highlight 10 of the best B2B loyalty and retention software platforms currently available.
What is a B2B Customer Loyalty Program?
A B2B loyalty program (also known as a “rewards program” or “loyalty program”) is a customer retention solution designed to help B2B companies establish promoters and maintain brand loyalty with their clients.
Unlike many B2C reward schemes (usually mass-marketed to incentivize frequent, lower-value purchases by individual consumers), B2B loyalty programs are typically more laser-focused.
This is in large part due to the challenges of the B2B market in general:
Buying cycles tend to be longer and more complicated
Multiple key decision makers can be involved in purchasing
A small number of clients can account for most of a B2B company’s sales (in some cases, one customer is 100 times the value of another).
To overcome these challenges, there’s often a reliance on personal selling to get a deal over the line, with a secondary aim of building long-term relationships with clients to encourage repeat business. Introducing a B2B retention program can help you do just that: understand which stakeholders are (un)engaged and (un)happy, in which of your customer accounts.
Of course, customer loyalty management software works best when it teams up with a business-wide strategy to boost your customer experience and cut churn. That’s why we developed Account Experience—a playbook for B2B companies to leverage experience programs to grow faster
What are the Benefits of Using Customer Loyalty Software Solutions?
The overarching benefit of using customer loyalty software is that you can streamline your efforts into one platform, or use a select few to cover several bases (like customer service or corporate gifting) without losing sight of the ultimate goal: retaining your customers.
Beyond that, you can also leverage voice of customer softwares to:
Automate tasks like outreach, survey sending, and feedback analysis
Track engagement to refine your program (Better closed-loop processes? ✅ Higher response rates? ✅)
Provide an online interface where clients can access rewards (and employees can monitor usage).
Identify growth opportunities. Loyalty is an important part of retention, but loyalty customer champions can also help you earn more growth—through referrals and increase share of wallet. Your customer loyalty software should also help identify when a customer is ready to refer or buy more.
So, without further ado, here are 10 of the best customer loyalty platforms you can use for a variety of crucial B2B retention activities:
The Best Customer Loyalty and Retention Software for 2022 (and Beyond)
1. Voice of the Customer + Net Promoter Score
G2 Rating: 4.6
CustomerGauge was voted #1 by Gartner for B2B voice of customer software. Account Experience, our proprietary methodology, provides medium and large B2B businesses with a thorough roadmap to improving loyalty, tackling churn, and accelerating customer referrals with their Net Promoter program.
CustomerGauge stands out with our focus on revenue. We leverage account-based lifecycle tools together with customer experience metrics to help you focus on metrics that matter for tackling churn, identifying upsell opportunities, and activating referrals—all with voice of the customer data.
Let’s take a look at some visualizations in our customer loyalty platform that help you.
Our NPS Lifecycle widget above helps you segment your customers according to their responses and their financial spend.
Our NPS SWOT widget above helps you segment your customers according to threat, strength, weakness, and opportunity levels. For example, a high value customer account that has a low NPS score = a threat. This makes it really easy for your account manager or success teams to focus where it matters to build customer loyalty and drive retention.
And the best bit? Our software integrates with several of the others on this list, such as Salesforce and Zendesk, allowing you to seamlessly upgrade your existing CX efforts. Learn more here.
2. CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
G2 Rating: 4.2
B2B deals can be large, drawn out affairs involving multiple stakeholders and decision-makers. Meanwhile, sales cycles can range from weeks to months (and even years) depending on the product or service in question. A good B2B CRM brings together all of the most important sales, marketing, and customer service information for each client in one place.
A great B2B CRM can do that and so much more.
Salesforce CRM is one of the best around, giving you a birds eye view of your sales pipeline, customers, and account activity, before drilling down into internal and external communications. Meanwhile, leads can be scored and assigned automatically, so each new prospect is connected to the right person at the right time.
3. AI Analytics
G2 Rating: 4.6
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of your loyalty and retention efforts can help your customer support team quickly and efficiently identify issues and leap into action. AI drives down the time it takes to complete manual tasks (like reviewing support tickets), improves decision-making, and ultimately enhances customer experience.
SentiSum uses machine learning to accurately tag and categorize customer contact channels, providing your support team with unparalleled insights. The platform picks up on common customer complaints (such as “delivery issue” or “refund request”) and routes them to the right people, all while prioritizing them based on topic and sentiment.
You can also use SentiSum to review customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter (NPS) surveys and automatically turn reviews and social media comments into support queries.
4. Marketing Personalization
Solution: Dynamic Yield
G2 Rating: 4.3
As we mentioned earlier, the very nature of B2B deals often demands a personal touch. Whether it’s warming up cold leads or selling to repeat customers, everyone wants to feel like the experience is being tailored to their needs.
Like B2C marketing, B2B personalization might involve dropping a prospect or client’s name into marketing materials like emails or landing pages. But it should also push things further. Using customer insights and segmentation, every step of the journey can be made to feel like it was designed for the individual in question.
Dynamic Yield, an AI-powered personalization platform, takes things to another level. By changing static web content (such as call-to-action buttons and hero banners) to personalized messages and dynamically restructuring page layouts to reflect a visitor’s preferences, you can curate your customers’ online experience at scale with zero IT dependency.
5. Customer Engagement Software
G2 Rating: 4.5
If you don’t intimately understand how and why your customers use your product or service, how can you improve it? That’s the million-dollar question customer engagement software strives to answer.
MixPanel offers powerful product analytics designed to help you attract, engage, convert, and retain more customers. With an at-a-glance dashboard and interactive reports, you can understand which product features are used the most, and where and why users drop off.
And with retention reports, you can see which users stick around (and for how long), and identify what causes friction and churn to prevent issues in the future.
6. Gamified Rewards for Employees
G2 Rating: 4.5
Gamification works by adding video game-like features and mechanics into software, giving users a similar feeling of accomplishment from playing games. Users perform actions to unlock additional features, earn points, win badges, and climb leaderboards.
You can use gamification to engage and retain customers, but there’s another part of the B2B retention equation where gamified rewards can shine: employee engagement. Keeping your employees loyal, happy, and motivated can help your sales, marketing, and support teams improve their own performance, and by extension, enhance the customer experience.
Centrical is gamification for employee engagement, providing employees with personalized challenges and rewarding them for behaviors and actions that drive business results. For instance, completing support tickets, increasing average order values, or following up on leads can be rewarded with redeemable coins, which can be exchanged for perks or gift cards.
7. Helpdesk Software
G2 Rating: 4.3
Timely customer service and support is the beating heart of loyalty and retention, and a helpdesk that helps those on both sides of a query or ticket is non-negotiable for B2B businesses.
You need to give your support team the tools they need to build a meaningful relationship with your customers. And you need to offer your customers an easy-to-use platform to find help (or help themselves).
Zendesk styles itself as a “customer service solution that hits the sweet spot,” setting your team up for success while making it easy for customers to reach out in a way that suits them (for example, messaging, live chat, social media, email, or voice). Furthermore, with AI-powered answer bots, you can automate and personalize your customer service experience, even as you scale.
8. Corporate Gifting Software
G2 Rating: 4.5
Sending gifts to woo prospects and retain customers is nothing new. But in this data-driven day and age, it can’t be something you do for vanity reasons. You need to know if a gifting campaign has a positive impact on your churn rate and your bottom line.
Reachdesk takes the busywork (and guesswork) out of corporate gifting. The platform lets you source, send, track, and measure campaigns at scale. You can then benchmark performance and track ROI, so you know your budget is going to good use.
Corporate gifting with Reachdesk can also supercharge your retention efforts by onboarding new customers with a personalized piece of swag or rewarding existing customers for their engagement with a timely and thoughtful gift.
9. Referral Program Software
G2 Rating: 4.5
Referral program software automates your referral marketing and customer referral programs, helping you gain more customers via incentivized word of mouth. But how does this boost loyalty and retention among your existing customers?
GrowSurf is a referral program software that helps B2B SaaS companies attract and retain customers by offering both referring and new users gift cards, monthly discounts, account credit, and even cash payouts. Working quietly in the background, GrowSurf integrates with your existing user signup flow to automatically track referrals, while reward fulfillment can also be automated for the ultimate “hands-off” approach.
Customer Loyalty Software—Who Wins?
There are a lot of tools and platforms out there to help you improve customer loyalty and retention in your B2B business. The trick is to find the ones that play well with one another.
If you can streamline your sales, marketing, customer service, and support processes, provide your teams with vital insights, and personalize key touch points for your clients, you can smooth the way towards higher retention rates.
CustomerGauge is the ultimate loyalty suite, integrating seamlessly with the likes of Zendesk, Salesforce, HubSpot, Netsuite, and more. Book a meeting with our team here.