When companies put together their marketing plans, they tend to focus on new customers. That’s the glamorous and sexy part of marketing – raising awareness and bringing in leads from new prospects.
But it’s not where most companies can get the best return on their investment. The best place to get return on investment is by engaging those who already know your business. Selling to existing customers is 5 to 7 times less expensive than attracting new ones.
Four steps to effectively market to your existing and past customers in 2011:
1. Rate the top dogs
- It’s easy to say you’re going to engage all of your current and past customers, but it’s not very likely that you can do that well. Better to prioritize who you’re going to engage and how. Categorize customers into A, B and C groups. ‘A’ is for customers who buy a lot and have the ability to buy a lot more given their size and objectives. ‘B’ is for those who buy a reasonable amount and have the potential to buy more. ‘C’is for those who haven’t bought recently but have the potential to buy again.
2. Reconnect in a high touch way with the As
- Take a very high-touch approach with the As. Hold a special seminar or event and invite a very exclusive audience, for example. An executive seminar gives you and your sales team a chance to speak with each customer on a one to one basis and to demonstrate your expertise. An event takes a lot of work – but it is one of the most effective tools for B2B lead generation.
- There are many different ways you might engage with the As - a seminar is just one idea. Whatever you do, make it very high touch and very individual. And get the As done first – it’s the only way to ensure they get the attention.
3. Launch a cross-sell campaign for the Bs
- Bs are companies that have done a limited amount of business with you, but you feel have the potential to do more. What’s stopping them from doing more? Most likely, they don’t know what else you can do for them. Most customers are completely unaware of the full spectrum of services and products you offer.
- To overcome this, launch a cross-selling campaign for the Bs. Identify 1 or 2 products or services that will be of interest for each customer (do this on a customized basis if possible), and introduce them. You may do a case study on how another customer has been successful with a particular service and take a B customer out to lunch to talk to them about this.
4. Get back on the radar of the Cs
- Cs are companies that you’ve worked with in the past, but not recently. A lot has changed in the world in the last 2 years and there are many reasons they may not haven’t needed you. But things are changing in the opposite direction now and they may well need you.
- The Cs may be a very large group. If they are, you need to find an efficient way to get to all of them. An email update on what you’ve been working on and what has changed in the last year is a good way to remind past customers you exist and what you do for customers. It may help them connect the dots on a need they’re recently discussed internally.
- If your C list is not too long, a phone call is a great way to check in on them and hear what they’re currently working on – and to remind them you care about their business.