No matter what shape, size or industry, almost every B2B marketing department is worried about one thing: how to acquire new customers. After all, business demands growth, and if there’s one thing new customers are good for, it’s growth. Once a prospect becomes a customer, that person becomes the concern of the company’s project manager or account rep, right?
Not so fast. In my opinion, a customer relationship is just the beginning of the marketing department’s work, not the end of it. Every business knows that it’s far more efficient and effective to grow and retain a current client than it is to chase new customers. Your marketing team has a wealth of communications and branding expertise your operations team should be relying on to keep selling your business after the sale.
Here are five ways to improve your after-sale results:
1. Email: Once a prospect becomes a customer, they’ll be getting emails from your account rep all the time. But that doesn’t mean you should remove them from your email marketing campaigns. Create segmented email lists with your current customers and send them emails that are customized and written specifically for their needs and interests. Because they are already customers and trust your brand, you should see a much higher open and conversion rate than with your regular list.
2. Customer support: However you provide your customer support, there’s a good chance you’ve designed the process based on your product or technology, not your brand. Manuals and support guides should be fair game for rewriting in your brand voice. And given these have a reputation for being dreary, tech-laden slogs, they provide a great opportunity to differentiate your brand with content that is more fun, interesting and readable.
3. Social media: A lot of B2B social media marketing is focused on sales reps gaining new leads through LinkedIn. But once those leads convert into customers and are handed off, the original relationship goes dormant. Marketing can provide sales reps with a variety of branded content they can share to their networks, like blog posts, think pieces, infographics and links to articles. These all add up to additional touch points that will feed your current customers and provide valuable content for reaching new prospects.
4. Special offers: Nothing is more frustrating than to see a promotion with the restriction “For new customers only.” Show that you value your current customers as much as new customers by offering special discounts, promotions or products just for them. The more you can provide benefits and make it feel like they’re part of an exclusive club, the more they’ll want to stay in that club.
5. Social proof: Reviews are a fact of life for B2C products. But while not as common in the B2B world, social proof can be just as valuable of a tool. Look at your specific product and industry and seek ways to get your customers talking about your product for you. This could be asking for LinkedIn recommendations for your top people, asking a customer to write a testimonial for your blog, or encouraging your social media followers to send in photos of them using the product as part of a contest. Anything you can do to get your customers showing your brand in a positive light will be viewed multiple times by their peers, many of whom are likely to be in your target audience.