Modern B2B companies know the struggle is real when it comes to maintaining a consistent flow of new business opportunities, as approximately 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales (source: MarketingSherpa). But preceding the purchasing stage, at the very brink of the funnel opening—long before discussions of product and price occur—is where the magic really happens. Think about it: at one point in time, your current customers were prospects too, whose attention you caught somewhere along the way with your branding or content to display your unique value proposition. Let’s dig a little deeper here.
In a study published by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, researchers found that waiters could increase their tips up to 23% simply by returning with a second set of mints. Yet the increase in tips has really little to nothing to do with the mints in itself, and everything to do with that special feeling that resulted from the perceived personalized experience—one that likely stood out enough to make you a returning customer or a ‘regular’. We can easily apply this concept to the ubiquitous sales paradox where often the solution to uncovering new business opportunities during a slow period can be found in the least suspecting place—yes—your existing customer base! Here are 5 tips to make your customers fall in love with you again:
#1. Tell Them Something They Don’t Know. You are the expert, and nobody knows your business better than you. Become a thought leader in your industry by staying attuned and keeping up to date with the latest buzz, and embrace the power of the knowledge transfer by sharing valuable tidbits of information in the form of education, not a sales pitch. Make it a point to optimize all content and platforms with clear, cohesive branding and messaging that stretches beyond a tangible product or service. Take off that sales hat temporarily, and put yourself in your customers’ shoes by knowing their business, their pain points, trends in their industry. Only by being invested in your customers’ journey can you impact their business and determine solutions that will foster their success.
#2. Communicate, Often. Education goes hand in hand with consistent communication and regular touch points—the last thing you want is for your customer to think you’ve gone MIA. After all, in the business world… no news is bad news. DIY email platforms provide ready-baked, user-friendly templates making it fairly painless to keep in touch and look like an HTML pro with newsletters, invites and offers to grow your business. Often you will deal with long buying cycles, so realize that recipients will not buy the instant you email them. This means multiple emails spread over a longer period of time (source: Email Monday). Don’t be afraid to give your customers a little nudge!
#3. Give Them Stuff. The notion of reciprocity is a major component of maintaining solid business relationships, and going above and beyond will make you stand out from your competitors. Refer back to #1; provide something useful for your customers in the form of a CTA (Call to Action). A compelling white paper on a specific product or solution? A Starbucks gift card for registering to your latest webinar or lunch and learn? Meet with me and get ‘X’? These are all enticing from a prospect’s perspective because hey… who doesn’t love a freebie.
#4. Hop aboard the CRM Train. Think of CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) as the ecosystem of your business; a robust, interconnected network keeping track of people, pipeline, and processes. This may come as a no brainer for some, but you would be surprised at the number of mid-to-large organizations that still conduct most of their business via Excel sheets. A cloud-based CRM not only provides a central repository for your customer data, but also functions as a reporting and marketing automation tool. We can all agree that reducing the amount of administrative, tedious, tasks in a day makes life a whole lot easier—and leaves time to keep laser-focused on the more important business objectives at hand.
#5. Amplify Your Online Presence. In a recent study, it was reported that approximately 36% of B2B executives admit to having little to no interest in social media (Source: State of Inbound Marketing). Not quite up to speed in the world of Tweets and Instagrams? Start with LinkedIn—it’s an excellent forum for re-connecting with your current customers, while scoping out potential prospects along the way. Joining various groups and forums also provides an opportunity to engage in dialogue, therefore opening doors to—you guessed it—new leads! Investing in your website is an equally important priority. If your website looks like it was designed circa 2006, this could ultimately become a deal-breaker with an otherwise interested prospect. First impressions are everything… even virtually!
By taking these steps to becoming more customer-focused, you’re already more ahead of the game than you think! Your current customers are a critical piece to your ongoing and future success, so pay close attention to them. At the end of the day a happy customer equates to advocacy, and you’ve then succeeded in additional “free” marketing for your business via word-of-mouth.
Need a push in the right direction? Give us a shout.