It’s a theme we’re hearing more and more these days – companies are ignoring their customers. And I appreciate it's likely unintentional; however, it’s time to stop and take action. As part of our marketing planning process, we conduct a series of qualitative interviews with current and past customers to gain a deeper understanding of their buying behaviour, media habits, competitor experiences and of course their experience with our client. One of the common pieces of feedback we receive is that our client isn’t communicating with them. And while the level of communication varies depending on the product/service offering, they are either not receiving any follow-on communication or there is a lack of account management, particularly, in those cases where a company is providing ongoing services.
The message is simple – companies are spending their time closing the sale and aren’t taking the time to nurture and grow the relationship post-sale.
Lisa recently wrote a blog ‘How do you choose the right B2B marketing tactics for your company’ in which she provided guidance on how to prioritize marketing efforts when selling new and existing products to current and new customers. Net-net, B2B companies should be spending more of their budget and resources selling to existing / past customers.
And the rationale is simple. These are people that have already heard about you. They’ve purchased from you, therefore, they bought the ‘value’ you offer. It’s far easier to sell to an existing or past customer than it is to a new one. For companies that may not be talking to their existing or past customers, it requires you to re-frame your philosophy on customer management and involves more than just your marketing department.
While marketing can develop a strategy and set of activities for nurturing customers, promoting new products and creating cross-sell/up-sell opportunities, a focus on customers also requires sales to be more actively engaged in deepening relationships and resources (or a department) that’s responsible for account/client management. This department should take over for sales in managing the customer during the delivery phase (when a product/service is being provided) and post-delivery to ensure overall satisfaction, educate the customer on additional products/services and maintain an open-dialogue for future opportunities.
So the next time you are looking at the status of your sales funnel, remember there’s more to building revenue than new sales. It’s time to start looking at customers that are already in your backyard.