Lead generation has its place within any marketing plan of course. However, some can get distracted by lead generation at the expense of more obvious sales growth potential – your existing customer base. As literally decades of research shows, customer retention provides the best pathway to improve sales and the best return on investment.
One oft-cited study from the Gartner Group states that 80 percent of new or future profits will come from 20 percent of existing customers. Another, from Marketing Metrics says the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the probability of selling to a new prospect is between 5-20%.
Marking Important Milestones
Everyone likes to feel appreciated. And a small token, either through a loyalty program or just through careful calendar management, can make a meaningful impact on customers. Remember special occasions like the clients’ birthdays or keep track of sending a milestone recognition (for a first project, anniversary of closing a sale, etc.) A thoughtful gesture or sincere thank you, determined by the size and scope of your manpower and your budget, can go a long way.
This is actually a gift to you from the customer, regardless of how they might blister the ears of your customer service department. For every complaint you hear, some studies say there is an average of 26 other customers who had the same experience or same thought but didn’t share it with you. A company unaware of a problem is unable to fix it, but awareness can lead to positive changes. This leads to…
Reversing the churn
Win back lost customers. Just as a customer with a complaint offers the opportunity to streamline operations and fix problems, it offers a better probability of obtaining business than a cold call or prospect. Statistics show companies have a 20-40% chance of getting a former customer back with some effort. Remember the statistic that selling to a new prospect provides only a 5-20% chance of completing a sale.
Carefully Curated Content
While a gift is definitely a form of communication, keeping content fresh and current and having a schedule of regular communication for the existing customer base is critical for continued engagement. Think of it as a journey that begins when they place an order.
Email newsletters can let customers know about improvements, new line additions, service updates, available training sessions or certification courses – anything relevant to the intersection between your products and services and their business. And while you’re communicating, the latest and most prevalent business trend is to…
Make it Personal
Personalization is such a strong business trend that the phrase pops up in almost every list of “best practices.” Its impact can be felt on any type of business, including B2B. Research from a consulting firm shows that personalization based on a variety of factors that can often be tracked with a CRM program delivers a high impact on ROI. These factors can include purchase history, user preferences, and browser history, to name a few.
In terms of content, personalization is the process of tailoring the content to individual users’ characteristics or preferences.
Just a few areas to practice personalization include:
- Satisfaction surveys
- Website landing pages
Preserve and retain customers, increase sales potential and improve your reputation with the right customer retention practices. Proximity Marketing can help guide customer retention efforts through a variety of tactics and broader strategies with our expertise in business-to-business best practices. Call us to devise a customer retention strategy or a broader marketing plan to help propel your business into a prosperous, successful future.