08 Aug B2B Inbound Marketing: Acheive Quick Growth with Customer Retention
A couple of years ago I received a referral from a friend that took longer than usual to close. The company wasn’t quite ready to hire an outside consultant when I first contacted them. When they were ready, we were able to win the contract–and it was, at the time, the largest company and largest contract in the history of our company.
We celebrated. You know we did. You do too when you win the big one. But what happens next? You’ve spent months chasing after this company, sending e-mails and making follow up calls and maybe buying dinners. Now they signed on the dotted line for one of your products or services. When the celebration is over and the product is delivered, what happens next could mean either increased business for your company or the day-after-blues.
A Forbes survey last year reported only 38% of B2B companies are focused on customer retention while 49% are focused on bringing in new customers. We all know the longer a customer stays with you the less each sale costs your company, so why aren’t we working harder to retain the customers we have and make sure they buy other products from us?
We are right now working with a company that has built a name for itself selling one product but seeing a potential for growth by cross-selling current customers a new product. How do they make sure all their customers know the full potential of what they offer?
Start before the ink has dried
Start delighting your customers as soon as they sign on the dotted line. Prepare an orientation email for your new clients making sure they know where to find resources, who to ask for help, when products or services will be delivered and how they will be billed. You might offer a tour of your B2B website so they know where to find the information they need online. Then follow up making sure you leave open an opportunity for questions. If your product or service needs explanation, keep following up with tips, training and other resources for as long as it is required. Make sure your new customer knows you appreciate their business and you’re making sure they get their money’s worth.
Move from orientation to maintenance
Once your customers have received their service or product and you’re confident that they are ready to move on, transition them from orientation to marketing, but don’t do it all at once. You’ve created a schedule of orientation emails to help your new customer understand your company and their purchase better. As you move toward the end of those orientation emails, start to include links to blogs about additional services or products you offer. When the orientation emails stop, your new customer should automatically be moved onto your B2B advertising or marketing email list. You’ll still talk about updates or applications of the product or service they bought, but you’ll also include information about your company and other solutions you provide. (Need a little help figuring out what kind of email to send? Our blog post on which B2B email to send has answers.)
[READ NOW: 10 BLOG TOPICS IDEAS FOR YOUR B2B WEBSITE]
Send rewards, gifts, and snail mail
Everyone loves getting a little happy in the mail. Even your smallest customers appreciate a birthday card, business anniversary shout-out or Christmas goodie. You’ll want to make sure your company logo is prominently displayed, but don’t make this about marketing. You’ve already won the sale, now you want your current customers to know how much you appreciate them. Make a list of the customers who spend the most with you or refer the most people. Consider hosting a dinner to encourage networking between your best customers. You may have won your customers through B2B inbound marketing, but sometimes some offline marketing pays big dividends when your customers get to know you and know that you care.
Know your customer’s pains
Your product or service may have solved one problem for your customers, but what are they facing next? Sometimes knowing how to help is as simple as asking. Once you’ve closed the sale and delivered a stellar product or service, ask what’s next. What’s the next big project your customer has on tap? What’s the next big problem they are going to have to tackle? Maybe your company can’t provide a solution, but you might know someone you trust who can. Offering trustworthy referrals ensures your customers come to you with their problems first–some you can solve others you can help them find resources to solve. Your goal is to be top of mind for whatever needs your customer has.
You want to know how long the average customer stays with your company, what their lifetime value is to your company and how likely they are to promote you to their friends and colleagues. Re-evaluate these metrics every 6-12 months, making sure they increase as you make efforts to tackle each one. You can also track what blog posts your current customers read, what B2B emails they open and which links they click through. Are they reading about a product or service on your website that they aren’t buying from you? Create a series of emails to educate them more or work with their account rep to provide buying opportunities. B2B inbound marketing allows you to track these visits and provide the right information at the right times to the right people.