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In risk-averse B2B markets, supplier credibility is a key distinguishing factor. This post suggests four ways a business can use content to build credibility in B2B markets.

Four factors that influence the credibility of a supplier are:

  • Social proof.
  • The quality of information delivered.
  • Branding
  • Presence in the marketplace.

We discuss each in turn below:

Social Proof

Robert Cialdini (among others) noted the concept of social proof. It states “one means we use to determine what is correct is to determine what others think is correct”. Case studies and testimonials are powerful weapons in the battle to increase credibility in B2B markets.

Content As A Retention Tool

Research shows that >60% of customers that leave a business do so simply because they do not feel valued and/or the supplier does not communicate with them regularly. Delivering relevant information aids customer retention and makes a supplier more trustworthy.

In B2B markets, members of the purchasing decision-making team are more likely to seek out the content they need than to wait for a supplier to push it their way. If the decision-makers trusted sources of information carry relevant information on the supplier it can boost the trustworthiness of that business.

Content To Build The Brand

What a business stands for and the way it interfaces with customers are key parts of its brand. Several research papers show a direct relationship between a positive brand image and the credibility of a B2B supplier.

It takes time and effort to build a brand. The message must be consistent across all content and promotional activity. A business must live up to its brand promise.

Content Builds Market Presence

A B2B supplier that has a low market profile is likely to lose ground to its competitors. Regularly delivering quality content is an effective way to stay front of mind with potential customers. Content can be delivered online but it is important to remember outbound (advertising, literature, exhibitions etc) still has a place.

Building Personal Relationships

Personal relationships may not be content related but are included as a reminder of their importance. Poor service experience can destroy trust in an instant. Any company personnel a customer may deal with can have a positive (or negative) impact on the business credibility.

Knowledgeable employees who deliver good service build the brand and deliver a positive experience. It can take months, often years, to build credibility in B2B markets. That credibility and trust can be destroyed in an instant by poor service or a negative employee experience.

All the tools a business needs to stay in touch are readily available, they are cheap and easy to use. There is no excuse for a business to fail to stay in touch with its customers. Content is the fuel for the ongoing communication process.