B2B Retention: You need to get the whole team onboard
B2B companies that lose customers usually aren't just losing one individual—they're losing an entire team of users.
If this team churned because they didn't see your B2B product's value or had trouble successfully using the product in their workflow, they may be unlikely to recommend your company and even spread negative feedback. In a small or particularly competitive market, this can be fatal.
On the other hand, by retaining B2B customers and providing and excellent product and customer experience, you create an entire team of evangelists. In order to do this, first understand what challenges companies face in retaining B2B customers.
Specific churn challenges for B2B companies
When your company is catering to other businesses, it's important to be aware that your tool is helping other people do their jobs better. This dynamic is the source of many difficulties that specifically plague the retention efforts of B2B companies:
- Employee turnover at your company affects your relationship: Many B2B customers form relationships with specific point people at your company—so when these employees leave, it can undermine their customer loyalty. Retaining talent is important for customer retention and building long lasting relationships. Companies place a lot of importance on employee retention and practice different strategies to keep their employees happy and productive.
- Large customers require high-touch customer service: As your company grows and starts catering to larger businesses, you'll need higher-touch customer service in order to cater to more complex needs. If your company isn't ready to fill out dedicated sales and customer service teams, it may be difficult to retain larger and needier customers.
- Customers' businesses may fail: Customer business failure is especially a risk if many of your customers are small businesses or startups. You can try your best to make your customers successful by providing a great product, but some factors are beyond your control.
Failing to understand the unique challenges of business-to-business interactions means jeopardizing the success of your customers and the success of your company.
B2B company role models with strong retention
B2B companies with stellar user retention take advantage of the benefits of selling to businesses. New Relic does this by monetizing increased usage of their product as their customers' own businesses grow and succeed. This has helped them achieve net negative churn.
As B2B customers mature, they'll likely need more of your services. New Relic creates opportunities for customers to store more data and upgrade to services that growing companies need. These customers become more and more invested in New Relic as it becomes more engrained in their workflows, which makes them less likely to churn.
This worked for them: At the time of New Relic's S-1, they were expanding existing customers' plans 14% each year on average.
New Relic was one of the first B2B SaaS companies to grow by landing and expanding. By growing current customers' accounts, they were able to provide more value to customers and ensure that they would stick around.
Takeaway: One of the best ways to retain business customers is to increase their usage, so that your product is increasingly essential to their workflows. Look to cross-sell and up-sell existing customers to take advantage of how businesses use your product.