How Your B2B Business Can Attract a Diverse Clientele
From internal hiring to outsourcing to reexamining your current list of clients, the evolution into a more diverse and inclusive business can have some very significant benefits.
It’s that time of year. Your stress is building up as the holidays are about to make your personal life busier, coordinating family gatherings, gift shopping… the list is endless. On top of that, you’re extra busy at work with strategic planning as the end of the year is near and it’s time to look towards 2022.
By now, your company has probably already made its commitment to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion. But we all know that it’s one thing to talk the talk, make a performative statement, and then nothing changes. As your executive team sets goals to bring in new talent and expand its customer base for the upcoming year, note that upholding this commitment is more than a moral obligation, as this benefits your business model in the long run.
Part of achieving this mission not only includes hiring more diverse candidates throughout your company (and at all levels) but looking at the diversity that surrounds your workforce and industry as a whole. That means assessing who you go to when outsourcing work, hiring external service providers, and looking at your current client roster. Word of mouth has been invaluable when it comes to making connections that turn into eventual clients—but is it the best when it comes to appealing to other demographics?
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Why Should Your Business Seek a Diverse Clientele?
According to Great Place To Work, fewer companies have explored this route as an opportunity to foster a more diverse workplace, but it’s a highly effective one. “A diverse clientele, just like diverse employees, will present both new challenges and different perspectives to any organization.”
When you focus your business’s marketing strategy on outreach to a wider range of B2B customers, you not only have the chance to expand your client roster but your talent will be exposed to different perspectives, enabling them to collaborate on new levels, spur new, innovative ideas and solutions, ultimately broadening your staff’s skill set.
From there, your professional network will expand and your company’s brand awareness will reach more prospective customers.
How to Cast That Net
Suggestions from Great Place To Work include rethinking your company’s messaging. Different populations respond differently to different messages. As you market yourselves as the best providers for potential clients, consider any unique needs of different cultures, racial sensitivities, and more. Also, keep in mind what’s happening in the news. You don’t want a well-intended outreach to go south because it came at a tumultuous time when the news cycle can have emotions running high for some demographics.
Your team certainly deserves to be compensated fairly for its talent and experience. However, some small businesses may come from communities that have faced hardship or lower-income backgrounds due to systemic racism or prejudice. Considering a short-term price break or other options for businesses that may not have the resources to bring on an agency can yield higher revenue and opportunities in the long run.
Prioritize Diversity in Hiring and Retention
Just because you hired a couple of people who are minorities recently does not mean that you did your part and the work is done. Assess your company across levels. Are the women, minorities, LGBTQIA+, and employees with disabilities at your company in leadership positions? Or do they make up your interns and entry-level jobs and your executive team looks the same across the board? Whether you notice or not, prospective partners will take note.
Retention is also important to keep in mind once you bring new members onto your team. Touch base regularly to make sure they feel welcomed. Having a more diverse client roster can aid with employee retention because while there may not be many other employees around the office with a similar background (yet!), they still get to collaborate and work with others and not feel secluded.
Inclusivity is Full-Circle
While you may think this doesn’t appeal to your business so much, since you’re in B2B marketing, think again. Decision-makers and B2B buyers base their purchasing decisions on who knows their potential customers. They want to partner with an agency that understands their target audience. That means you need to pay attention to these B2C trends, as well, and reveals all the more, why a diversified workforce is crucial for appealing to today’s consumers.
According to Survey Monkey, consumers want to purchase from brands that share similar values to them. More Millenials and Gen Z, especially, like to connect with brands on social media, but the messaging and customer experience need to be right. Whether conducting a marketing strategy for a client or marketing your services to potential clients, your audience needs to know that your intentions are genuine and that your values prioritize their well-being.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all you need to do, think of how these action items can be embedded into our everyday tasks. Just having that cognizance or keeping this mission in mind as you work, interact with coworkers, or meet with clients can go a long way. While bringing in different perspectives can be challenging, the experiences will ultimately help everyone involved grow.