B2B advertising has soared in the United States, skyrocketing from $28.9 billion in 2021 to $37.7 billion in 2024, with no signs of slowing soon. That’s no surprise when considering the number of companies operating in the B2B space. With an estimated 3 million B2B businesses in the US alone, nearly 1 in 4 companies contend for the same B2B audience.
With so much competition, how do you build loyalty in B2B? What is the trend in B2B loyalty? The answer is B2B loyalty programs.
B2B loyalty programs have emerged as a key strategy for businesses looking to foster long-term relationships with other businesses, retain loyal clients and partners, and create a mutually beneficial ecosystem. This comprehensive guide to B2B loyalty programs will delve into the structure and advantages of business-based loyalty programs, complete with examples.
What Are B2B Loyalty Programs?
Let’s start with the basics: What are B2B loyalty programs? B2B loyalty programs are structured incentives to maintain long-term business relationships with partners, suppliers, or clients. They’re an effective retention and engagement strategy to drive repeat business, increased spending, and business referrals within the ever-evolving (and expanding) B2B ecosystem.
Unlike business-to-consumer (B2C) loyalty programs, which center on transactional value for loyal customers, B2B loyalty programs focus on building deeper business-to-business relationships. They often entail longer sales cycles, more significant transactions, and more complex decision-making processes involving multiple B2B customers, requiring more personalized and strategic reward mechanisms.
As such, B2B loyalty programs are typically arranged in tiered rewards structures, with customized incentives—such as exclusive services, volume discounts, or early access to new business development tools—based on specific business needs. By successfully nurturing B2B buyers, businesses that launch B2B loyalty programs can increase revenue by an average of 5% to 7% per year.
The Importance of B2B Loyalty Programs
The importance of B2B loyalty programs in today’s increasingly competitive business ecosystem cannot be overstated. By rewarding loyal clients and partners, loyalty programs strengthen business relationships, fostering trust and reliability among the business community—in fact, 81% of B2B marketers agree that implementing a loyalty program strengthens customer relationships.
Moreover, a well-crafted B2B loyalty program has been shown to incentivize ongoing business and encourage customers to continue engaging in mutually beneficial transactions. Companies with a B2B loyalty program generate 32% more long-term clients than those without one, and 74% of brands with a B2B loyalty program experience at least a 10% reduction in customer churn.
Beyond customer retention solutions, successful B2B loyalty programs also serve as tools for positive brand reinforcement and reputation building, significantly improving brand awareness and market share for more than 60% of B2B marketers. They can even be a referral program since active B2B loyalty program members are 75% more likely to recommend the program to others.
3 Examples of Effective B2B Loyalty Programs
Exploring the landscape of B2B customer loyalty programs reveals diverse and creative strategies to nurture and reward business-to-business relationships. Now that we’ve discussed how vital B2B loyalty programs are to the business ecosystem let’s look at three distinct programs, each demonstrating unique ways to foster partner loyalty and drive mutual growth.
1. HP Planet Partners Rewards Program
HP Planet Partners is a B2B loyalty program in over 60 countries and territories. Through this program, HP business partners can trade in everything from old hardware, personal devices, and batteries to empty ink and toner cartridges to receive credits that go towards their next HP purchase and HP Gift Vouchers to be used with select authorized partners.
- Simplify the time-consuming (and sometimes costly) recycling process for business equipment
- Contribute to social and environmental responsibility efforts through vetted business partners
- Receive rewards to redeem on future HP purchases or with select business vendors at little to no cost
2. American Express Global Corporate Payments
The team at American Express knows a thing or two about creating a successful B2B loyalty program, and the American Express Corporate Membership Rewards program is no different. Each dollar spent on eligible purchases earns points that can be redeemed through statement credits, assorted gift cards, travel bookings, and charitable donations.
- Access an array of travel-focused benefits, including Uber Cash accrual on business travel, Global Assist Hotline services, and TSA PreCheck fee credits
- Allow cardholders flexibility in selecting desired rewards, whether it’s earning gift cards or making a charitable donation in the business’s name
- Earn points on every dollar spent on eligible business purchases, including B2B travel solutions like airfare, accommodations, and rental cars
3. Salesforce’s Partner Program
Most B2B customers are familiar with Salesforce—but are you familiar with the Salesforce Partner Program? The Partner Program is a robust ecosystem that empowers consulting partners to expand and innovate. It’s a comprehensive support system that addresses the multifaceted challenges businesses face within Salesforce technologies and enables collaborations among other users.
- Become a recognized partner in the Salesforce AppExchange listings to help customers easily find your apps
- Receive 24/7 technical support, faster response times, and extensive developer support for Salesforce technologies
- Join at four different tiers to become eligible for various marketing, technical, sales, and alliance benefits
Measuring the Success of B2B Loyalty Programs
So, what are the statistics on B2B loyalty programs? Data collection among B2B loyalty programs reveals that the average net promoter score (NPS) for B2B brands with loyalty programs is 24 compared to an industry average of 15. Moreover, more than 50% of B2B companies agree that loyalty programs enhance customer retention and encourage more frequent purchases.
Despite the industry-wide success, tracking the return on investment (ROI) and the impact on revenue growth is essential to gauge a B2B loyalty program’s effectiveness. Regularly collect and analyze client feedback to identify areas for improvement. Metrics such as contract renewals, referral rates, and client lifecycle value can indicate the program’s impact on long-term business relationships.
Enhancing B2B Engagement with arrivia
As the B2B ecosystem becomes more competitive, B2B loyalty programs have proven reliable customer retention solutions to strengthen business relationships and enhance brand reputation. When looking to improve customer loyalty programs or B2B rewards programs, look no further than arrivia to significantly elevate the value proposition you offer your business clients.
Arrivia has powered travel loyalty and rewards programs for respected B2B businesses across the globe, including American Express and USAA. Our white label travel rewards complement B2B loyalty programs, delivering unique travel experiences to customers and differentiating your company’s loyalty program to foster ongoing engagement and deepen business relationships.
Learn more about how arrivia can transform your B2B loyalty program at our About Us page.