B2B Trust: 11 Do’s and Don’ts for SMS Communication Success
Making a sale is always an exhilarating feeling, isn’t it? Yet, the art of sealing a deal has come a long way from traditional avenues. Cast your mind back to 2010, when the overwhelming majority of B2B strategists mainly used long-form emails and face-to-face meetings as their primary communication tools. Today, the dynamics have shifted, with the focus now on instantaneous and concise communication methods. Nevertheless, one thing remains consistent—the pivotal role of trust.
As you dive into this guide, here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store:
- Gain a profound comprehension of SMS’ evolving role in the realm of B2B communication. Beyond just understanding the basics, you’ll delve into the subtle art of molding standard SMS interactions into powerful trust-building dialogues.
- Unveiling the centrality of trust in B2B exchanges and its significance beyond mere sentiment.
- Practical tactics to harness the might of SMS for B2B communication success.
- The 11 cardinal do’s and don’ts for SMS communication.
- Insightful anecdotes illustrating the power and pitfalls of SMS in the B2B world.
Trust is not merely a checkbox in B2B interactions. It’s the foundational stone that paves the way for prosperous and lasting business collaborations. Dive into this article to unlock the potential of SMS in fortifying trust and ensuring fruitful business endeavors.
The Rise of SMS in B2B Communication
Gone are the days when SMS was limited to personal exchanges between friends and family. Businesses are now leveraging text messages to forge stronger connections in the B2B landscape.
The gradual transition from conventional channels like phone conversations or in-person discussions to SMS is propelled by its unparalleled immediacy and straightforwardness. Imagine this: Instead of important notifications languishing in cluttered inboxes, an SMS can instantly relay vital information, ensuring crucial alerts or timely propositions stand out.
The trajectory of SMS usage in businesses from 2019 to 2023 shows a significant rise, moving from 22 million to 26 million messages, as depicted in the graph below.
This surge underlines SMS marketing’s pivotal role in enhancing B2B communication. Its immediate reach, high open rates, and cost-effectiveness make it an invaluable tool. Coupled with the ability for personalized touchpoints and two-way feedback mechanisms, SMS has transformed B2B interactions, proving its mettle as an indispensable communication strategy.
Let’s dive deeper into the advantages of incorporating SMS into the B2B communication sphere:
- Real-Time Engagement: SMS offers instantaneous interactions, empowering businesses to swiftly resolve queries, relay updates, or finalize transactions.
- High Open and Response Rates: Considering the ubiquity of mobile devices, SMS boasts remarkable open rates. SMS messages have an astounding 98% open rate, ensuring messages are not just dispatched but also acknowledged and addressed.
- Direct Line of Communication: Unlike emails that can be lost amid a cluttered inbox, SMS messages are often delivered straight to the recipient, providing a direct line of communication. This ensures that urgent or important messages are noticed immediately.
- Eco-Friendly Option: With businesses becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, SMS offers a green method of communication, eliminating the need for paper-based messages or printed promotional materials, thus supporting sustainable business practices.
- Brevity Breeds Clarity: The inherent conciseness of SMS compels businesses to articulate their objectives unambiguously, promoting clear communication and thereby enhancing trust.
As B2B communication continues to adapt to the digital era’s demands, SMS emerges as a powerful tool, bridging the gap between businesses and cultivating relationships anchored in trust and mutual respect.
11 Do’s and Don’ts of SMS Communication in B2B Relationships
In the intricate maze of B2B interactions, where the stakes are high and the rewards substantial, it’s essential to strike the right chord. The introduction of SMS in this landscape is no different. While it’s a powerful tool, how it’s wielded can make all the difference.
While text messaging offers immediacy and directness, it also brings with it a set of responsibilities. Missteps can quickly erode trust, turning a powerful tool into a liability. Thus, it’s essential to recognize and steer clear of potential pitfalls.
Next, let’s explore the do’s and don’ts of B2B SMS communication to ensure that our messaging strengthens, rather than strains, our business relationships.
- DO: Personalized communication is at the heart of successful B2B relationships. When crafting your SMS, consider the specific needs, industry trends, and past interactions of your recipient. This tailored approach shows you’re attentive, fosters rapport, and ensures the content resonates with its intended audience.
- Don’t: Deploy generic templates without customization. Sending generalized, one-size-fits-all messages can diminish the perceived value and authenticity of your communication. It indicates a lack of effort and might make recipients feel like just another number in a database.
- DO: Timing can be everything in B2B communication. Sending messages at appropriate moments ensures they are well received and acted upon. By respecting business hours and considering time zones, you show consideration for your recipient’s schedule. SMS messaging campaigns see a 33% lift in revenue per message when sent after 1pm EST and messages sent on weekdays typically drive more revenue per send according to Attentive.
- Don’t: An ill-timed SMS can be more disruptive than beneficial. Avoid sending messages at odd hours or during weekends (unless agreed upon). Flooding recipients with back-to-back messages not only risks overwhelming them but can also create a perception of desperation or insensitivity.
3. Value Addition
- DO: Each SMS should serve a distinct purpose and offer discernible value to its recipient. Whether you’re alerting them to a timely update, granting access to an exclusive deal, or sharing crucial industry data, ensure that the content enriches their knowledge or benefits their business in some way.
- Don’t: Avoid sending aimless or redundant messages. If an SMS doesn’t offer clear value or relevance, it might leave recipients questioning its intent and the efficacy of your communication strategy.
4. Clear Call to Action (CTA)
- DO: A compelling call to action (CTA) can be the difference between a message that’s read and forgotten and one that drives action. Ensure your CTAs are concise, actionable, and clearly indicate what the recipient should do next, whether it’s visiting a link, replying to the SMS, or calling a number.
- Don’t: Ambiguous or missing CTAs can lead to missed opportunities. A message without a clear directive might leave recipients puzzled about the next steps, resulting in lost potential conversions or engagements.
5. Feedback Loop
- DO: Constructive feedback is a gold mine for continuous improvement. Actively seek out and welcome feedback from your recipients, be it about the content, frequency, or any other aspect of your SMS communication. Utilizing this feedback can optimize your strategy and show partners that their opinions matter.
- Don’t: Disregarding or delaying responses to feedback can damage trust. Ignoring valuable insights or critiques signals a lack of commitment to the partnership, possibly making clients feel underappreciated or sidelined. Always acknowledge and act upon feedback in a timely and respectful manner.
- DO: Foster trust by being open about the intention behind every SMS. Whether you’re promoting a new product, providing an update, or asking for feedback, ensure that your message’s purpose is straightforward and understandable.
- Don’t: Craft messages that are ambiguous or that might leave recipients second-guessing your motives. Obscured intentions can lead to confusion and potentially harm the trust you’ve built.
7. Opt-In and Opt-Out
- DO: Prioritize your recipients’ preferences by ensuring they have consciously chosen to receive your SMS communications. Before initiating a campaign, make sure you have their explicit consent, reflecting your respect for their choices.
- Don’t: Neglect or delay honoring opt-out requests. Continuing to send messages to partners who’ve expressed a desire to opt-out is not only intrusive but can also have legal implications. Moreover, it can deteriorate the trust and rapport you’ve nurtured.
8. Data Privacy
- DO: In an age where data breaches are increasingly common, ensure that you’re adhering to all best practices and regulations regarding data privacy. Handle every piece of information—be it personal or business-related—with the utmost care and security, demonstrating your commitment to safeguarding your partners’ interests.
- Don’t: Adopt a lax approach to data security. Any compromise in the privacy of your recipients’ information can cause irreparable damage to your business’s reputation and erode trust instantly. A staggering 87% of consumers would consider switching to a different business following a data breach. So make sure you stay updated on all data protection regulations and continuously assess and bolster your security measures.
9. Frequency Balance
- DO: Gauge and maintain an optimal frequency for your SMS communications. While you want to keep your partners informed, it’s essential to strike a balance to ensure they are neither left in the dark nor overwhelmed with information. According to this study, the optimal mobile messaging frequency to max out is around 10 to 12 SMS messages sent a month. The graph below shows that customers were initially open to receiving communication from Orange but as the frequency increases (daily messages sent represented by the squares in the graph), the unsubscribe rate increases. On the other hand, Blue sent less frequent SMS messages to limit the unsubscribe rate.
- Don’t: Go overboard with your messaging frequency. Overcommunication can be as detrimental as undercommunication. Bombarding your partners with incessant messages might cause them to perceive your content as spam, diluting the value and importance of your communications.
10. Consistency in Tone and Branding
- DO: Maintain a consistent tone and branding in your SMS communications. This ensures that your messages are immediately recognizable and helps establish a consistent brand voice that your partners can come to know and trust.
- Don’t: Frequently change the tone or style of your messages, leading to potential confusion or a sense of inconsistency. Inconsistent messaging can leave partners unsure of your brand’s identity and core values.
11. Two-Way Communication
- DO: Treat SMS as a two-way communication channel. While it’s an excellent tool for sending information, it’s also a platform for recipients to ask questions, raise concerns, or provide feedback. Be prepared to engage in meaningful dialogues that foster deeper connections. A research study indicated that incorporating SMS reminders for appointments led to a 14% decrease in pediatric no-shows, resulting in significant annual savings for doctors.
- Don’t: Use SMS purely as a broadcasting tool, neglecting or undervaluing the responses from your partners. Ignoring replies or treating the channel as one-way can make partners feel underprioritized, hindering the growth of a collaborative relationship.
When crafting SMS strategies for B2B relationships, it’s essential to view every message as an opportunity to build trust, enhance collaboration, and foster mutual growth. Balancing the do’s and don’ts can ensure that this powerful communication tool serves as a bridge, not a barrier, in nurturing valuable business partnerships.
Harnessing SMS in B2B: Opportunities and Implications
We’ve mentioned that SMS stands out as a dynamic player, wielding immediacy and accessibility that’s hard to match. But like all powerful tools, its usage demands caution and understanding.
Through hypothetical scenarios, we highlight the potential of SMS to shape—for better or worse—the contours of B2B relationships.
SMS Can Allow for Rapid Decision-Making
In situations requiring quick exchanges of vital information, SMS can expedite the decision-making process. A tech startup’s ability to promptly share essential metrics with a corporate client exemplifies the immediate nature of this medium.
SMS Can Magnify the Impact of Small Errors
The need for precision is paramount in SMS communication. As seen when a representative sends an incorrect discount rate, a single misplaced character can lead to misunderstandings and erode trust.
SMS Can Uphold or Breach Client Trust
The significance of respecting communication preferences is accentuated with SMS. A manufacturing firm can face backlash by overlooking an opt-out request, highlighting the necessity to respect and adhere to such choices.
SMS Can Minimize Crisis Impact
Timely communication is crucial during crises. A distributor’s choice to utilize SMS to instantly alert B2B clients about a product recall demonstrates its potential in damage control and client relations.
SMS Requires Consistency for Clear Communication
The perils of sending inconsistent or contradictory messages are evident in a scenario where a supplier sent mixed signals and lost a client's confidence. It underscores the importance of ensuring that every message is accurate and aligned with prior communications.
SMS Can Expedite Formal Agreements
In dynamic settings, such as trade events, SMS can be a valuable tool to swiftly formalize agreements. Companies often manage to finalize terms and agreements through texts, emphasizing the platform’s efficiency in real-time negotiations.
SMS Can Influence Brand Perception
It’s crucial for companies to ensure that their promotional messages are targeted and relevant. An ill-suited product promotion not only misses its target but can also negatively impact the sender’s image, showcasing the importance of thoughtful SMS marketing.
Importance of Data Privacy and Compliance
In our interconnected digital age, the importance of data privacy cannot be overstated. As businesses leverage SMS for communication, it’s crucial to stay abreast of legal and ethical guidelines.
- Legal and Ethical Considerations: Ensure that your SMS communication abides by the relevant laws of the regions you operate in. This includes acquiring explicit consent before sending any messages and providing clear opt-out options in each communication.
- Best Practices for Data Privacy: Always store and handle your partners’ data with utmost care. Use encrypted channels for data transmission and employ robust security measures to prevent any unauthorized access or breaches.
- Ensuring GDPR Compliance: If you’re communicating with partners within the European Union, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance is nonnegotiable. This entails safeguarding personal data, respecting the rights of data subjects, and maintaining transparency about how their data is used. Regularly review and update your data-handling processes to stay compliant and build a reputation as a trustworthy entity in the B2B space.
When it comes to B2B relationships, the importance of trust cannot be overstated. As we’ve explored, SMS communication has emerged as a powerful medium, not just for its efficiency and immediacy but for its unparalleled potential in fostering genuine trust between businesses. Its advantages—from real-time engagement to impressive open rates—underscore its potential as a cornerstone of modern B2B communication.
As we look to the future, it’s evident that the role of SMS will only become more pronounced. Adapting to this change is not merely about leveraging a new communication channel; it’s about understanding and embracing the nuances that come with it. By adhering to the do’s and don’ts we’ve outlined, businesses can navigate the SMS landscape with confidence, forging stronger and more trustworthy relationships in the process.
To all businesses out there, as you chart your communication strategies, consider the unmatched potential of SMS. Embrace its power, respect its intricacies, and you’ll find yourself at the forefront of impactful and trust-driven B2B communication.
About the Author:
Alexa Lemzy is a customer support advisor at TextMagic. She is passionate about helping businesses grow through the use of technology. You can keep up with her latest articles and updates on Twitter. In her spare time, she likes to read and travel.