Retention is your best friend, and churn is your biggest enemy. Whenever you lose a customer — especially in B2B sales — you lose all the investment you put into informing, nurturing, and converting them when they were just a lead.
The longer you hold onto a customer, you’ll find your marketing costs shrink in comparison to the sales over time, and your customer becomes more profitable. So instead of just expending your marketing efforts on brand awareness and nurturing new leads, your company needs to prioritize marketing to your recurring customers, too. Retention marketing focuses on these core tenets:
- Thought leadership
- Providing a consistent (and consistently valuable) message
- Engaging the customer throughout their term, not just when it's time for renewal
- Supporting customers so they reach their goals
Build your B2B retention marketing campaigns around these goals to provide excellent customer service and regularly convert first-time customers into lifetime clients that your company can rely on. Return clients don't just make repeat sales; they also bring in high-quality leads through referrals, boost your NPS scores, and contribute thoughtfully to your product roadmap.
To begin your retention marketing efforts, focus on these four keys to success.
1. Collaborate With Your Team Frequently
Collaboration is the key to retaining customers. Converting a lead into a new customer requires collaboration between sales and marketing, but re-signing and upselling a return B2B customer requires teamwork between marketing, sales, customer service, and more. Follow these best practices to increase collaboration and keep all of your internal teams in the loop:
- Hold regular meetings between sales, customer success, and product team representatives to discuss issues, improvements, and ongoing projects. These meetings can cover everything from NPS score analysis to how to introduce new products or product lines.
- Make sure client communications aren't held in silos. Attach communication files to a company-wide CRM so anyone touching the account can see past support calls, upsells, and complaints. It's important that anyone new to the client's account can automatically understand them; it's just as important that the information is organized and easy to digest.
- Hold training sessions to empower client teams. These sessions can inform teams about new brand ambassadors, teach best practices for resolving issues, and ensure employees at your company are provided a platform to give feedback.
The more avenues of communication your employees have — and the more insight they have into high-value or high-risk clients — the better.
2. Create a Consistent Experience with the Right Tools
According to Zendesk:
62% of respondents from the B2B sector ... bought more from a merchant after a positive customer service experience. In case of a negative experience, however, 66% (B2B) ... did not make any further purchases.
Positive and negative experiences both have a significant effect on a B2B customer's willingness to do business with your company again. One of the best ways to protect against negative encounters is to create consistent experiences using the correct tools. Not only does this do away with the risk of delays and unfamiliarity, but it helps your team continuously improve and adjust interactions the right way.
Make sure each part of your sales and customer service pathways has the tools it needs to create those positive experiences. This includes:
- A CRM that can smoothly manage the process of handing off a client from marketing to sales to account management and customer success teams. If there's a delay or your customer falls through the cracks, they'll leave. But if they're constantly given the attention and support they need at every stage, they're much more like to stay.
- Communication tools that let interdepartmental teams have visibility into deadlines, stay on top of to-dos, and double-check resource availability.
- An easy-to-use learning management system that holds information for new hires, customer support teams, and everyone in between. AI and chatbots can make these resources even more robust.
- A knowledge base or support portal that allows clients to address issues on their own time. This should include step-by-step instructions, training videos, helpful articles, and contact methods to create a ticket or contact your team.
3. Develop a Customer Communication Strategy That Aligns With The Product Roadmap
Your product roadmap is not just an internal guide. Informing your customers about upcoming changes helps smooth transitions and gives your high-value clients a chance to provide input. Each new product or service you develop should ultimately support your clients' goals, but this can't happen if your new offerings are interruptive. We recommend creating a customer communication strategy based on your anticipated product release milestones. Include these methods of interactions in your communication plan:
- Support and client training windows
- Marketing campaigns around new products or features that are specifically tailored to return customers instead of prospects
- Product or service-specific webinars, podcasts, or blogs
- Networking events
- Feedback surveys
This calendar should also forecast release dates for white papers, training guides, and other customer-facing materials. This practice requires collaboration between multiple teams, so investing in the tools and open communication strategies described earlier set your customer communication strategy up for success.
4. Support Methods that Enable the Voice of the Customer
Ultimately, good customer retention requires you to have the products and services that meet their needs on their terms. The first step is creating a Customer Advisory Board that focuses specifically on communication with clients and understanding their developing needs.
Your customers want to know that their voices are being heard and have a substantive impact on future products and services. Engaging with them frequently both increases satisfaction and gives your company the information you need to create the right services for your return customers. Implement these strategies to listen to your customers' needs:
- One-on-Ones: Your team (or your board) can schedule one-on-one conversations with new and high-value clients. Listen to their feedback and record their suggestions or pain points for future review. This is also an excellent opportunity to get testimonials and reviews for marketing materials or key insights for future panels.
- Create Community Forums: These spaces help you build an engaged community that connects with your brand. These forums allow your customers to interact with each other and/or your team for honest, direct communication.
- Surveys: NPS scores, surveys, questionnaires, and other methods of getting feedback from clients can give your team quantitative data. This is a rich resource for discovering trends and opportunities for improvement.
If you’re gathering feedback, be sure to act on the data you receive and communicate to your clients that you’re actually making changes based on their observations.
Customer Retention Should Be at the Core of Your Marketing Process
Dollar for dollar, recurring customers are more profitable for your business. But more than that, retained customers create referrals, give you excellent feedback, and help you build a stronger business that independently converts more customers, too.
Create or refine your customer retention strategy by incorporating these suggestions and facilitating purposeful communication. For personalized assistance in creating your B2B retention marketing campaign, contact House of Revenue today.