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Build Your Business Through Your Customers

Customer Retention

You love your B2B business—building it, adding new products and services, growing revenue.

And, most likely, winning new customers.

For most companies, the sales focus is on prospects. When new customers come on, they bring money, prestige, and great numbers to share on quarterly reports. But you still have to build trust, deliver as promised, and work to retain their business beyond the honeymoon stage.

Never forget that you already have a built-in source of contacts who trust your company and what it does: Your customers. And you shouldn’t overlook selling to them.

Studies show that it costs five times more to get new customers than keeping existing ones. Another asserts that growing customer retention by 5% can lead to a 25% increase in revenue. Finally, this book discovered that the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5%-20%, while the chances of selling to an existing customer are closer to 60%-70%.

With these stats in mind, ask yourself: Are you devoting strategy, budget, and effort to cultivating customer relationships?

Tip Number 1: Research

As with any sales opportunity, you don’t just approach customers with your hand out. Bravado and half-baked ideas destroy hard-earned relationships. Get a feel for your customer base, what appeals to them, and how your company can align with what they want.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What challenges are our customers facing and how can we address them?
  • What are our customers asking for? What’s their feedback for our company?
  • Can we boost a specific revenue stream by selling to customers? If so, what is it?
  • Is there an opportunity to expand existing products/services to appeal to our customers? Does it make financial sense to do so?
  • What’s our current cadence of customer communications? Are we keeping in touch with them on a regular basis?
  • Do we make it convenient for customers to pay, such as accepting ePayments and ACH transfers via online payment solutions?

Tip Number 2: Strategy

From this research, formulate a strategy. “Selling to customers” isn’t a strategy. But leveraging a correlation between customer satisfaction scores, the use of an existing service, and the growth of a customer’s business to target opportunities is. Perhaps your strategy is as simple as creating regular communications with customers when none existed previously to nurture potential sales opportunities.

Tip Number 3: Plan

Now that you’ve identified your strategy, it’s time to mull over how you will support it.

For example, if you want to increase touch points with customers, you can:

  • Set up a schedule of customer-focused emails such as newsletters and product launches
  • Have sales or team members commit to a schedule of in-person or phone/video meetings
  • Connect and communicate with customers via social media

Or, if you want to use the customer voice to accelerate sales to existing customers, you can:

  • Actively solicit testimonials from clients
  • Launch a referral program (perhaps incentive based) focused on existing customers
  • Spotlight successful customers
  • Set up educational events for customers sharing best practices for business challenges
  • Explore if a customer advisory board makes sense

For planning, you must define success by setting goals. If you don’t have goals, you can’t validate or invalidate a strategy.

Also, be sure to budget for these plans. The execution of these ideas may benefit from training, new apps or supplies, extra travel, and more. If you don’t set aside money to support the efforts (however little or much), your plan will not survive.

And our favorite piece of advice is …

Believe in client care, and always make it as easy as possible to conduct business with them. Remember, the customer is always right!

December 20, 2017
Kate Wilson
Social Media Manager, Bill.com
Kate is in charge of all things social at Bill.com. When she's not writing every type of content imaginable, she's drinking strong coffee and debating the use of the Oxford comma with her coworkers.