If someone asked you what a B2B marketer’s most important goal is, how would you answer?
You probably would answer lead generation, and while lead generation is important, what about marketing to the clients you already have?
It’s easy to focus on trying to capture business from new clients since most B2B marketing strategies focus on how to move leads into their sales funnel by promoting whatever products or services they have. However as good as new sales are, they shouldn’t be a distraction from working on maintaining existing customers. Boosting customer retention just 5% can actually increase your revenue from 25 to 95%! The bottom line is keeping the right customers is valuable.
Keeping existing clients is much easier said than done. Whether you are a small business with limited resources or a large organization with many customers, it can be a challenge to maintain an effective post sales strategy. Below are some suggestions designed to help you get more out of the customer relationships you already have and generate serious revenue in the process.
Get to Know your Clients
If you want to build long-term relationships with your clients you will need to earn their business on a consistent basis. How well do you effectively communicate with them and provide additional value beyond what they pay you for? You need to know more about them than others do.
Think of it like a friendship. In a good friendship if you have common interests and likes, you will likely spend more time with them. They will in turn also learn more about you. As you learn more about them you will find things you can share and help with and by do so you make deposits into their emotional bank account. Personal understanding is a huge part of a long-term partnership. Relationships with B2B clients are no different.
Make it a priority to learn the following things about your clients:
- Their expectations
- Their long-term goals
- Challenges they have
How do you gather this information? While one on one meetings are great, they many not often happen due to time constraints. The next best thing is to call and/or email to regularly check in with them. Often times you will learn about challenges clients are dealing with during phone conversations while talking about existing services and progress reports you provide or when discussing new issues that come up.
One of the worst things to do to a client is to sell them a service and then fall off the face of the earth and later reemerge when you’re ready to sell her something else. The most important part of retention marketing is to stay in continual contact with clients and not just reach out when you’re pitching another product or service. Keep them up to date on what’s happening with your business, and add as much value as you can to the relationship.
Tip: Have you set up an email drip series for your prospects? You should also consider setting up an automated email drip for your clients as well. This could be anything from a casual check-in providing valuable information about something they may be interested in, an email offering additional services or a company newsletter.
By maintaining consistency in your communications, you’re positioning yourself as a valuable resource that will keep your clients around for the long-term. When it comes time to up sell them on something else, your customer will already be warmed up and ready to engage in a conversion with you.
Make Customer Experience a Priority
67% of customers mention bad experiences as the reason for leaving, but only 1 out of 26 unhappy clients complain. 91% of unhappy customers who are non-complainers simply leave. Your customers overall experience should be one of your top priorities. If a client contacts you with a service request and doesn’t hear from you or one of your team members for a week, it will not bode well for your retention rate.
How do you ensure your customer service experience is excellent?
1. Confirm the logistics. You will need to make sure you have a customer support system that works for your business. Should they email or call you? Should they fill out an online support ticket or use a chat bot? Knowing what kind of system works best for your business will take your customer service to the next level and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
2. Respond to any support inquires in a timely fashion. Specifically discuss with your team the expected time of a response. You may want to establish a company policy to respond to clients within one business day. Following up in a timely manner is a good way to enhance your customers experience.
3. Establish Guidelines on how customer service issues will be handled. Look into using best practices and share with your team. Discuss how your support staff will respond promptly and courteously with helpful responses to client questions. Try to go above and beyond to make sure your customers feel heard and acknowledged.
Make Client Nurturing a Priority
You need to be put just as much effort into retaining your current customers as you do with acquiring new ones. The most important part of customer retention is focusing on maintaining good relationships. If you constantly think of new ways to improve and nurture the relationships with your clients, the retention will happen naturally.
Give Away Your Best Content
It may seem counter intuitive, but one of the best ways to get your clients to buy more from you is to give them helpful information, and specifically, content for free.
Offering great content to your clients will help you accomplish a couple important things. First it establishes you as a thought leader and subject matter expert. Second it shows your clients that you’re providing value without asking for anything in return. Customers want more information and knowledge from a trusted and credible source – you should try to position yourself to fill that need.
Have you considered writing an eBook or white paper that your current customers would find valuable? Do you have a blog on your site that that contains relevant posts with helpful information? Content marketing is an effective way to market to your current clients as well as prospects. Share whatever written content that you write or read that you think would be helpful to your current clients.
At the heart of it, your content is an on-going conversation you’ve having with your customers. Keep it relevant and continue the conversation with them by regularly offering helpful content. When you provide value and insight, you’ll become an indispensable partner in their business they will not want to be without.
Would you like to discuss B2B marketing strategies or related topics in more detail?