Fresh Ways to Get More From Your Existing Customers
It always amazes me how eager we are as B-to-B marketers to prospect more, while we overlook many productive ways to retain and sell more to existing customers. We invest a great deal to acquire a new customer; so why not do all we can to maximize our return by keeping and harvesting the customers we have?
I like to see B-to-B marketers spend at least as much to harvest their customers as they do to acquire new ones. There are many ways we can increase our wallet share from existing customers and improve our relationship and the resulting customer loyalty. In fact, with all the online marketing tools available today, we have more ways than ever to stay connected to our customers and achieve that “top-of-mind” awareness and loyalty we crave.
Here are a few ways to maximize your customers’ wallet share:
1. Your inbound and outbound reps should have a sales summary screen for each customer at the name and site level. Ideally, have it pop up immediately when the site or customer calls. In one screen, you want to summarize his spending trends by product category — by year. That way, your rep quickly will see where to go.
2. Augment your traditional marketing (catalogs, direct mail, telephone calls) with some of the new online interactive tools, videos and interactive technologies. Think of all the ways your company can assist your customers in the area of their business that your products relate to. If they rely on you for informational assistance, they’ll likely come back to you to purchase.
3. What customer training or education needs can you assist with as they relate to the sale of your products? Online videos, estimators, calculators, technology updates and a host of other tools help educate and inform your customers and keep them up-to-date on trends, changes and other valuable information needed to run their business. Ask yourself, “What can I offer?”
4. Get personal with your customers. Introduce your reps with video/audio so they can see and hear who’ll be looking after them. People buy from people, and the greater the relationship between your sales reps and your customers, the more trust, loyalty and repeat purchasing there will be.
5. Position yourself as a helpful, problem-solving partner, not just a supplier. Once you have your customers coming to you for help solving problems or meeting their internal objectives, rather than just placing orders, you’ll have achieved a more productive relationship that’ll be harder for your competition to invade.
6. Start a blog for each major customer segment of your business. Use your authoritative position to start blogs to encourage readership, feedback and participation from your customers. For example, if you sell electrical components, you might start a blog targeted at electrical engineers working in technology development. If you sell office supplies, start one about office organization and productivity. If you sell to restaurants, how about a blog dealing with motivating restaurant employees? You get the idea.
7. Finally take an objective look at your retention and penetration performance. Many companies assume they’re getting the majority of a customer’s business. But when they probe, they often find out their share is miniscule.
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence Inc., a strategic consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at www.b2bdmi.com or (954) 566-4451.