B2B Marketers spend lots of time and money on trying to acquire new customers. After all, you have sales guys breathing down your backs for new leads all the time and quotas to meet for bookings and new customers acquired. But why is it that we only worry about keeping customers happy in a downturn and not in growth cycles? Have you and your executive team ever taken a step back to see how much of your revenue actually comes from current customers? Or how many customers use you for a year and then choose not to renew because they have been ignored all year? Adding a current customer program has the potential to dramatically increase revenue.
Implementing a current customer program involves much more than just a nice holiday card/gift once a year. You should have programs throughout the year to keep them engaged. Just as in lead generation, current customer programs should be segmented. This can be based on your own parameters: by products purchased, by size, by revenue contribution, by role within the company, etc. Once segmented you will be able to prioritize and focus on their needs with relevance. Also remember that cross-selling a current customer is more than blasting the new message to a current database – ask yourself, is the person (role) of the person in my database the right one for this value proposition/message? Do I need to find the right decision maker for that role? You could risk harming the relationship by getting too aggressive with your cross-selling.
Here are some ideas to building and maintaining an ongoing relationship with your customers:
- Start a newsletter – be sure to tell them information that they care about not just the latest award you have won
- Ask them for feedback and input; consider asking them "The Ultimate Question" www.theultimatequestion.com
- Create a customer community – you can develop your own or start small with a Facebook or LinkedIn group; the social web has enabled us to keep the conversations going all of the time.
- Send thought leadership – this could be whitepapers or books that are exclusively available to customers, do a survey and share the results, share best practices
- Host a user group conference – this is the most expensive but it is a great opportunity for you to connect with your customers and for them to connect with each other
What percentage (%) of your marketing spend do you focus (or should) on current customer marketing? It's never too late to get started driving more out of what you already have.