Five tips for B2B customer retention
Retaining your hard-fought customers is tough. Here are five top tips for customer retention in B2B
Winning a new customer is exciting; it’s an indication of campaigns and strategies coming to fruition. It’s why marketers love marketing, especially in B2B. But what about your existing customers? Where do they stand?
B2B marketers who focus too heavily on the acquisition of new customers inevitably leave their existing ones in the dark and, ultimately, risk losing the people they’ve worked so hard to acquire in the first place. Research from Gallup revealed an alarming 71% of B2B customers ready and willing to take their business elsewhere.
Here are five ways to make sure you never let go of your customers:
1. Evolve your offerings
This is so much more pertinent in B2B than any other marketing sector. Take your customers to the next level; ask them what they’re gaining from your relationship, where they want to go and how they want to achieve it.
Continue demonstrating value to existing customers. It’s not enough to assume your customer will retain the same attitude towards a product or service as when they first purchased. If marketers become too obsessed with acquisition-led KPIs, such as lead generation and online conversions, these opportunities will be lost.
2. Measure holistically
All B2B companies carry out their own customer research. While qualitative data helps to understand the ‘why’ and quantitative affords a high-level overview, it’s not enough on its own. Research from an objective third party can often be the welcome input a brand needs.
Ultimately, you can vastly improve your understanding of your customer by overlaying your own data with the external data gleaned from third parties.
3. Build customer advocacy
Your most loyal customers are a highly powerful tool when it comes to acquisition. Take advantage of this by encouraging them to share on social, speak at events or contribute to content. By building a community with your customers, you’re keeping your existing buyers engaged, but also giving potential buyers good reason to sit up and take notice of your offerings.
4. Align your departments
We’re not just talking about the age-old sales and marketing relationship here. Every department involved in the retention process has to have a voice, from data teams to post-purchase salespeople and marketing to customer support.
B2B companies need departments dedicated to their existing customers: there’d be the sales and marketing teams charged with educating buyers on how they can expand on the service or product they’ve invested in. And, of course, you’d have your post-purchase customer success departments and technical support teams to boot.
5. Listen and act
It’s absurd how often B2B companies overlook the simple concept of listening to their customers. Yet even this is still only half the job. Talk to your customers, listen to feedback, but, most importantly, act on it. When a customer knows an organisation truly cares about them, they won’t be leaving in a hurry.
Are B2B marketers striking the right balance between customer acquisition and retention? Where should they be focusing their efforts? I argue B2B marketers need to re-weigh the balance between customer retention and acquisition to ensure they’re maximising returns.