March 10, 2016 Last Updated 11:22 am

Gallup report says few ‘B2B customers are fully engaged’ with more companies needing a customer-centric strategy

Where many B2B companies are failing was in building strong customer relationships, with one in five B2B customers having encountered problems with a company or product

Those of us with long experience as publishers in the B2B media business, often lament the fall of the big B2B magazine companies, brought down both by the private equity companies who have played musical chairs with their investments (last one stuck holding a company loses), and by the publishing executives who move from company to PE firm and back to a company, all to enrich themselves and eventually prepare the company for sale (by slashing the workforce staff levels).

Jim Clifton, Gallop

        Gallup CEO Jim Clifton

On the other side of the equation, of course, are the readers and advertises who have support the B2B publishing industry for years, and today see that B2B media bring very little to the table. Today, many have grown their in-house marketing capabilities at the expense of their ad budgets.

Things are not so peachy on their side of things, as a new report from Gallup points out.

“Companies are struggling to grow — so they’re giving up and acquiring their competitors,” said Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup. “The herd is getting pretty small. At some point, this acquisition strategy hits a wall.”

“Gallup is not telling its clients to stop acquiring. But we are advising them to get better — fast — at real customer growth, especially in foreign markets,” said Clifton.


Gallup’s report, Guide to Customer Centricity – Analytics and Advice for B2B Leaders, that only 29 percent of “B2B customers are fully engaged — that is, emotionally and psychologically attached to the companies they do business with. The other 71% are ready and willing to take their business elsewhere.”

Where many B2B companies are failing, Gallup said it found, was in building strong customer relationships.

“One in five B2B customers have encountered problems with a company or product, with only 40% of customers believing the company resolved their problem. And only 5% of these customers say they are “very satisfied” with the way the company handled the problem,” Gallup said.

“Realizing the effect a customer-centric strategy has on their business performance is crucial to creating authentic growth, and companies in Gallup’s database that are actively measuring and managing their customer-centric framework are finding that problems are occurring less frequently than before,” said Ed O’Boyle, Global Practice Leader.

“Gallup’s research shows that developing an extensive knowledge of a customer’s business and proactively introducing ideas that enhance the bottom line are the strongest factors in generating positive and strong relationships that stand the test of time.”

  • Wm. Lee Merritt 7 months ago

    Jim, Great article and full of insight. Some believe that building a relationship means taking people to ball games. While that is not bad, relationships are built with service, caring and customer centric thinking. Many miss that part.