If you're this far, that means you've gone through a majority of the sales and marketing process for B2B apps. Now you're going to fulfill your orders and make your customers wildly happy.
This is the heart of a truly successful business. It's so easy as marketers to focus on NEW leads and NEW growth instead of taking care of the customers we already have.
Like I said before, B2B is a people business.
That means that delivering over the long term is even more important.
Everyone I know who has been successful in marketing over the long term focuses on great products and/or great customer service. The economics of constantly bringing in new clients simply don't add up.
A satisfied customer will keep their monthly retainer going.
A happy customer will buy more products.
A thrilled customer will tell 10 of their friends to buy your product or service as well.
Think of your customer support as marketing and you will find huge success in B2B.
Let's break down how you can do this.
Establish a timeline with deliverables
You've also closed the deal at this point and have a contract. Now you need to assign exact dates.
This gets easier the more you do it. A good frame of reference is using the same “milestone” process you would use to hire a developer…except now you're the developer 🙂
You want to setup days that you will deliver pieces such as:
- First round mockups
- Second round mockups
- Test build
- Final build
- Upload to store
There can be more or less depending on your client and contract, but the general idea is mapping out how you go from deal signed -> app in the store.
By doing this, you'll create a solid foundation that will set expectations and professionalism on both sides.
2. Having an Onboarding Session
A lot of people forget to do this in B2B, but it is super helpful.
An onboarding session is a 60 minute block of time where you talk with your client about what they want, design styles they like and any other questions that will allow you to get started in the right direction.
The best way to do this is to create a checklist of questions you want asked. A few examples would be:
- Who is going to manage the responses on your team?
- Do you have any creative assets (logo, images) that we can use?
- Are there any other apps that your competitors have that you'd like us to look at?
And so on.
Otherwise what happens is that you'll get started on the project and send the client 2-3 ideas…and THEN they'll want to sit down and have this exact same meeting.
Save yourself the time and hassle.
3. Deploy your internal system
As soon as the new client signs the papers, your internal system should start running.
For large B2B service companies, they use a CRM (like Infusionsoft) where they have it setup in a way that a signed contract flags a system that begins running.
It will send a “new client” email to the account manager, an appointment reminder to the client for the onboarding meeting and a note to the project manager that you'll be doing a new app soon.
If you're just starting out, you can do this all manually, but you need to be able to “start” the system inside your own company.
This may not be well oiled from the start, but it will get smoother the more you do it. The key is to think in terms of systems and not people.
Ask yourself “what systems are starting” vs “who do I need to call to get this going?”
4. Be proactive with communication
I cannot stress enough how important this is.
The surest way to kill your relationship with a new client is to go radio silent. They just gave you a big check and now they feel like they're in the dark.
A close second to going silent is waiting for your client to ask you how things are going. There's obviously a difference between an obsessive lawyer who wants hourly updates and a client who's wondering what's going on, but the message is the same: “You're not giving me enough peace of mind about this project.”
The best way to do this is to schedule time on your calendar to write a personal email.
This can be a 3 bullet email with an update on progress. For example:
I wanted to give you a quick update on your app project this week. We're making great progress! We completed:
- Accomplishment 1
- Accomplishment 2
- Accomplishment 3
I've also attached a screenshot of what it's starting to look like.
Please let me know if you have any questions! I'll be reaching out soon with more information.
There is no client on the planet that will get upset if you give them updates too often. Once in a while they might say that they trust you and no need to keep sending email updates, but let them make that decision.
Looking back on my B2B website business, I would say this was the biggest 80/20 tactic I did. In other words, I got the biggest 80% return for the smallest 20% investment of time.
Make a schedule. Send updates. Don't wait for the client to ask about progress.
5. Deliver your products on time & with clear instructions
Anyone who has hired a company to do anything in the digital world knows that delivering a product on time is a long shot.
As a self-proclaimed obsessive when it comes to punctuality, this baffles me.
Just get it done! This is not rocket science.
When you do close your contracts, make sure you have this on the forefront of your mind.
“We will deliver this on time. Our business has a reputation for delivering on time.”
When you do, your client is going to be SHOCKED.
They won't believe it!
How did you know what they wanted (hint: onboarding meeting), keep them at ease (hint: you proactively communicated) and delivered a product on the due date (hint: you are a terminator)?
This will establish your relationship as overwhelmingly positive in the minds of your client.
The next time they are talking to their friends, I can promise you they will mention your timeliness.
Deliver your product on time.
6. Establish a monthly relationship
In a previous post we talked about having a monthly relationship set up for your new clients.
This can be marketing packages, keyword selection, software updates or anything else.
Once you've delivered your product, you need to encourage this ongoing relationship.
Not only is it good business, it's a way to continuously impress your client over the long term. That increases your chances that they'll tell someone about your services.
Here's the best way to do this:
- Right before you upload the app to the store, tell your client that you selected keywords and setup an AppAnnie account for free
- Show them why you did it and the power it can have
- Explain that this is an ongoing process and that after you upload the app, there's a lot that can be done to maximize impact
Your client then understands the benefit..but guess what? There's no way they're going to do it themselves.
But they'll definitely hire you to do it.
You can also make it a more seamless experience where you deliver the keywords AND a sample monthly report on analytics, downloads etc and tell them that you can do this for them on an ongoing basis easily.
They say yes and the rest is history.
You need to at least try to sell them on an ongoing relationship. Your business depends on it.
If they say no, however, you can always…
7. Start an email newsletter
Some clients simply won't want the monthly package. That's ok.
If they DO say no, you should do a “down sell” to your email newsletter. This allows you to stay in touch with them over long term even if they're no longer paid clients.
If you're delivering your product and they say they're not interested in your monthly package, you can say:
“Ok, no problem at all. We have a newsletter that we send out every two weeks full of tips for small businesses with apps. We send information that you can use to dramatically improve your app's impact.
I already have your email address. Can I add you to this list?”
4/5 times they will say yes. No reason not to.
Every 2 weeks (or whatever period you want) you send out an email through your email marketing system (like MailChimp) offering a free tip about apps, push notifications, marketing, whatever.
You can also include new product announcements or special offers (“We're doing 20% off all marketing packages for the holiday season!”)
You'll be amazed at how many customers come back from the offers you put in your emails.
Even if they don't, they're getting value from you and may forward your email to someone else who could use the information.
Now you're in business!
You've completed the business cycle of a B2B app business. By creating a long term client relationship and support system, you're setting yourself up for long term success.
In the next post, we're going to wrap up the B2B process with a really fun topic – growth.
This isn't quite the same as “go buy some advertising” – this is the exact system I've seen virtually every B2B company use to hit 7 figures.
It's really easy and fits in perfectly with everything we've talked about.
I will post a link below when it's ready.