B2B marketing is about generating leads, fueling the pipeline and increasing sales. A potential buyer steps down the funnel, learns more about your business and eventually becomes a lead before being passed on to the sales team to be converted into a customer.
Prospectus, lead, sales; to repeat. The cycle continues.
New business growth is essential, but a comprehensive marketing strategy must also involve customers after the deal is closed. This is especially true for B2B software companies, many of whom follow a subscription-based business model that relies on customer relationships to keep growth going.
Acquiring a new customer can be up to five times more expensive than retaining customers, as the data shows. Because of this, building a customer marketing strategy is critical to building long-term relationships for customer loyalty growth. In addition, cross-selling and upselling offer additional sales potential.
Let’s examine the benefits of this approach and dive into effective tactics that can help fuel your efforts.
What is customer marketing?
Customer marketing targets the post-funnel purchase phase with the goal of increasing customer retention and loyalty.
The idea is that it is much easier to please a current customer than it is to persuade a new prospect to buy.
Customer marketing programs help build customer loyalty and build long-term relationships.
What are the benefits of customer marketing?
From customer success to implementation to sales, many areas of a company can benefit from customer-oriented marketing support.
Offer better customer service
Not all of your customers will be happy, which is why companies have customer service teams. As a marketer, you may not personally handle service requests, but you can play an important role in improving customer service functions.
One of the easiest ways is to regularly monitor your company’s social media channels and online presence. People often use social media to share positive and negative experiences with companies. Getting in touch with your customers directly online to raise their concerns or thank them for their kindness is a quick way to show them that you value their feedback.
Enable your sales team to upsell and cross-sell
Cross-selling and upselling have enormous sales potential. The two tactics are similar, and the terms are often accidentally used interchangeably. So let’s define it:
- Upselling refers to the practice of selling an improved or updated version of the purchased product to a customer, thereby increasing the buyer’s overall spend.
- Cross-selling is the sales technique for selling a related product or service to a current customer.
Create targeted marketing materials that highlight new product features or offers and inform customers about the added value of those features or products. This can be as simple as filming an information webinar or as complex as creating a separate microsite to highlight the new offering.
Encourage your sales team to use these materials during the renewal process to encourage both upselling and cross-selling.
Reduce customer churn
A high churn rate can be catastrophic for a company. Closing new deals is great, but if you can’t keep your customers long-term, you are a blow to their sales and growth goals.
An important function of customer marketing is to drive engagement and loyalty from your customers. The more programs you have to interact with your customers regularly, the better you can measure their overall satisfaction with your company and prevent churn.
Use these five easy-to-implement customer marketing tactics
1. Create personalized onboarding materials
The time after a customer first signs up is critical to laying the foundation for a long-term relationship.
An easy way to make your new customers feel valued is to personalize onboarding materials that are easy to replicate for each new customer. It can be as simple as a custom slide deck with the customer’s logo or a small welcome gift showing your appreciation.
2. Introduce customers in case studies and testimonials
Your happiest clients are your best lawyers. Having testimonials on your website alongside in-depth case studies is a powerful way to both engage with your customers and create content that will help the sales team close more deals.
It can be daunting to ask your customers to take a case study or leave a testimonial. However, as long as you plan ahead and respect everyone’s time, your customers should be more than ready to give their voice.
3. Start a referral program
A referral program is a form of word-of-mouth marketing that gives your customers an incentive to share your offer with their colleagues. Referral programs are a popular marketing tactic among B2C businesses, but if done correctly, they can be just as effective for a B2B audience.
For B2B companies, the buying process is usually much longer than for consumers. So it’s important to keep in mind that referrals won’t reach hundreds of customers overnight. However, a referral program can generate qualified leads, especially if you offer a free trial or a discount for new customers.
4. Create a customer-centric webinar
Webinars are a useful tool for creating customer-oriented content. They can be interactive or just educational, depending on your intent.
You can create webinars in several ways:
- Product-based webinar: Notify customers of updates to your product or service and provide tips on how to use them.
- Case Study Webinar: Highlight a recent customer success story.
- Questions and answers or discussion groups: Take the comarketing opportunity to work with a client and another company and discuss a specific topic related to your industry.
5. Use third-party verification platforms
Just as consumers seek reviews before booking a hotel reservation, B2B buyers conduct online research and expect social proof before making a purchase decision. The research takes place before the buyer even speaks to a member of your sales team. So use the voice of your customers and put in place an appropriate review strategy.
Encourage your customers to post reviews on third-party directories to share their honest opinions. Buyers seek reviews on third-party platforms as they are less biased than the case studies and testimonials on your own website.
Your customers will be happy to know that their feedback is valued, and their reviews will help your business look better online.
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Customer retention isn’t just on the shoulders of the marketing team: it’s a group effort where each team must work together to ensure that all customer-facing processes are optimized to deliver a great customer experience.
However, especially for marketers, it’s important to look at the funnel through a customer-centric lens and pay more attention to the post-purchase phase. This way you ensure that your clients are equipped with the resources they need to be successful and to sign on the dotted line year after year.