B2B client nurturing – The gift that keeps on giving
B2B marketers need to be nurturing and caring for their clients the way they do with leads, says Kenneth Connolly, head of content at Really B2B
In B2B marketing, there’s a tendency for marketers to become laser-focused on leads, tactics and competitor activities. These are undoubtedly important factors, however there is a vitally important aspect that’s missing from that list… clients. Having spent months, and in some cases years, to convert leads into customers, why then do some organisations immediately turn their back on the new client and focus on the next lead? Is it a case of resources? Maybe time? Perhaps it’s the cost? Regardless, this is a very perilous approach to take.
Failing to nurture clients
It’s understandable why businesses are so focused on leads. It’s also easy to see why companies would immediately start chasing the next lead as soon as the last one converted. The truth is, we are all in the business of making money, and as soon as the client signs the contract and pays their invoice, we’re out chasing the next opportunity. But, does this actually make commercial sense?
A variety of industry sources say that it costs between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Additionally, it’s believed that a 5% increase in retention yields profits of at least 25%.
Now, with these figures in mind, it would seem that overlooking clients is actually a crazy concept. It’s easier (and cheaper) to sell to existing clients than new ones, and you know they are willing to spend. So now that we all know the secret to successful B2B marketing and ROI generation, how do we go about nurturing clients?
Back to basics
When venturing into a new market it’s only right that you understand the buyer as comprehensively as possible. This approach helps you empathise with their pains and issues, and ultimately enables you to communicate with them using the best marketing message. Well, approaching clients is no different. It’s time to go back to basics and start with persona documents. As before, gather vital information using a variety of sources including online surveys and telephone calls. Now, collate all of the findings and identify patterns and trends. What are they struggling with? What is happening in their industry? What are their objectives for the next 12-24 months? Once you have this type of information, you can then begin to create a client nurturing plan.
You know what they like
Having converted these leads to customers, you know how they initially engaged with your organisation. You likely had to nurture them during the lead stage so you know what communication channels they like to use. So, use them again. Lead nurturing typically involves targeted content and regular ‘touches’, and this new process should be no different. If they liked the content before, there’s no reason they won’t like it again. So, using the same process as before, extract the key information from the persona documents and use this to create helpful and engaging content. Where you were previously trying to show the lead that you were a company worth working with, you are now trying to show them that they made the right decision choosing you.
As with traditional content marketing, don’t write client nurturing content unless you actually have something to say. Sending materials that clients don’t engage with is basically just ‘spamming’ and is likely to drive them into the arms of your competitors. So, look for alternative ways to provide ‘touches’ without overpowering them. For example, monthly newsletters, bi-monthly emails, and/or quarterly telephone catch-ups. It’s also worth remembering that when driving clients to webpages, ensure they have been edited for the benefit of clients. Do this by ensuring all lead generation messaging has been removed and replaced with more suitable texts.
Not only does client nurturing help to reduce the costs associated with generating sales, it also produces delight in customers and generates brand advocates. These are clients that recommend you to their peers and colleagues i.e. free marketing.
So, the next time you convert a lead to a client, remember that the relationship doesn’t stop there.