When it comes to B2B marketing, it’s too easy to focus solely on new customer acquisitions. There’s a certain glamour and prestige that comes from landing a new customer, yes, but equally important is customer retention – making sure that your new and existing customers become long-time customers.
In fact, a recent Gallup poll suggests that over 70 percent of B2B customers are ready and willing to go elsewhere if there’s a better offer on the table. That’s not a lot of commitment, is it? And that’s assuming that your company is completely knocking it out of the park when it comes to delivering on its products and services. If 70 percent of your customers are already looking elsewhere, what happens when your company screws up? That figure could easily move to 80 percent or even 90 percent.
One of the things that you can do to boost customer retention is continually find ways to evolve your products and services. You need to grow along with your customers. That means being able to recognize their unique pain points and then find the right solutions to address them. If you have strong relationships with your customers, this shouldn’t be a problem – by maintaining a constant dialogue with them, you will know exactly what’s on their minds and how to support them.
You also need to be thinking of ways to grow your community of fans, followers and supporters. Everybody likes to be associated with a winner, and it’s no different in business. That’s why you need to do everything possible to encourage the creation of vibrant fan communities. Having a lot of fans and followers is “social proof” that your company is doing well and delivering on its promises. So be on the lookout for new brand ambassadors, people who can help to articulate your message and value proposition in the marketplace.
As part of this community development initiative, you also need to be listening to your customers. Not just passive listening, but active listening. Know what they are saying and doing on a daily basis so that you can feedback all those insights and observations into your B2B marketing process. There are some messages and some value propositions that may have worked the first time around, but that need to be tweaked for changing business realities.
Finally, learn to trust the data. You may be thinking about the market with your own built-in biases and assumptions. But what if you’re wrong? That’s why you need to be able to trust the data. By seeing what your customers are actually doing and saying – rather than just what they say they are actually doing and saying – you’ll be in a much stronger position to offer them the best possible products and services.
Those are four simple things that you can be doing to increase your customer retention rates. They are particularly important to keep in mind, given that you have a 70 percent chance of losing any one of your clients – often, through no fault of your own. That’s just the nature of the market, where customer churn and turnover has replaced the classic model of long-time customers. That should be an opportunity, not a threat. It’s an opportunity to show what you can offer customers, and to make that message and offer as vibrant as possible.
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