When we talk about business growth, much attention is paid to lead generation and nurturing sales. However, it is necessary to remember the importance of B2B customer retention and the many ways to re-engage old customers. While it is easy to lose sight of the importance of customer retention when it comes to the B2B industry, marketers can’t afford to overlook this aspect. After all, developing brand loyalists and fostering loyalty towards the brand are extremely important for the organisation’s long-term success.
Imagine this. You’ve got a killer new product. You’ve identified your target group. The company’s growth is steadily taking off. You’ve allocated resources for generating new leads and bringing in new sales. It looks like your organisation’s success story is in the making. In such a scenario, would you still dedicate a share of the company’s resources into retaining the customers you’ve already acquired?
Any marketer worth his salt knows that if you don’t reengage new customers, growth won’t be as abundant. To re-engage old customers, it is imperative that the entire process of customer communications, right from the very start of the sales funnel, is well-planned.
What Does B2B Customer Retention Mean?
A company’s ability to retain the customers it has acquired over some time is called customer retention. B2B customer retention activities involve strategies to prevent the organisation’s customer from deflecting elsewhere. Most importantly, these activities begin at the acquisition stage and continue throughout the lifecycle of the customer’s relationship with the organisation. Keys to customer retention and the best customer retention strategies require ongoing implementation for true success.
What is the Importance of B2B Customer Retention?
B2B Customer retention activities help you measure how successful your organisation is at bringing in new customers as well as how successfully it can satisfy the existing customers.
It is a well-known fact that retaining customers is far more cost-effective than acquiring new customers. Satisfied long-term customers are known to spend more money, make purchases more often, opt for offers, and refer their family and friends to your organisation. Some statistics show that even a small increase of 5% in customer retention rates can boost the company’s overall revenue by 25-95%! That’s a huge number by any standard!
Let’s take a look at some other benefits of retaining customers for your B2B organisation.
Short attention spans coupled with the fact that customers have no shortage of options make advertising a game-changer in any industry. However, advertising can be expensive and difficult to access for many organisations. In such a scenario, loyal customers are an effective way of assisted advertising for your company. A referral or recommendation made by a loyal customer to a friend or family member can undoubtedly influence the decision-making process. Social media reviews and rating can also help in informing potential customers about your products, services or customer service.
B2B customer retention rates have a direct impact on growing revenues. Customers who have made purchases from you in the past and are satisfied with the products and services are an asset. Since satisfied customers are more likely to return to you in the future, loyal customers translate to repeat profits in the long run. Such customers are more likely to explore the other services and products you offer. They are also more likely to pay for premium subscriptions, sign-up for newsletters or pay premium prices.
Crushing the Competition
Today’s market has become highly competitive. If your customers are not satisfied, they will readily choose to give their business to your competitors. However, if you have the right customer retention strategy in place, you can build a base of loyalists for your brand. Such brand loyalists won’t just switch to a competitor without good reason.
While there are many more benefits to retaining customers, the critical fact is that such customers are simply better for business. They demand fewer resources and give you a higher ROI, helping you grow your organisation.
Strategies to Boost B2B Customer Retention
Now that you understand the value of your existing customers let’s look at some strategies to boost B2B customer retention rates actively.
Having a Comprehensive On-Boarding Program
Landed a sale or acquired a new customer? Don’t pat yourself on the back for a job well done just yet!
Once you acquire a new customer or make a sale, it is necessary to keep in touch with them and build a relationship. A great way of doing so is by having an onboarding program in place. Also called ‘welcome series’ or ‘client education programs’, the aim is to show them around the new product or service and help them make the most of their purchase.
By having such a program in place, you set the foundation for communication that will help you build a relationship with the customer. The on-boarding program for your organisation will depend on what you offer. However, video tutorials, case studies, on-demand webinars, e-books or premium, relevant content series are all great options. The point of the program is to help your customers with all the information they need to utilize best what they have purchased.
With a comprehensive onboarding program, you establish yourself as an organisation that puts efforts into helping the customer. Your investment in easing their journey with you is a great way to build loyalty from the very beginning. This is one of the most instrumental B2B customer retention strategies that can be employed.
Sending an Old-Fashioned Mail or Package
Gone are the days of sending and receiving mail or packages. The average customer today is inundated with emails and phone calls from brands trying to sell to them. In the B2B sector, if you are looking to re-engage old customers, it pays to be unique. Most customers don’t expect anything more than emails, messages on social media networks or a phone call at most. However, the element of personalisation and surprise that accompanies tradition mail today works well if you’re looking to grab an old customer’s attention. One of the important keys to customer retention is a unique communication approach.
When you send a valuable package with a personalised (preferably hand-written) note to an old customer, it can help them remember the positive experience’s they’ve had with you. This strengthens your relationship with the customer. We all know how impactful such relationships are for bringing in new business.
Accompany the package with something that is useful to your B2B client. Industry knowledge related books work well. Is there a newsletter or magazine that they might be interested in? Would they appreciate tickets to a convention related to their industry or segment?
Think about what will make a difference to the consumer while still staying relevant to the service or products your organisation offers. Effort on your part can go a long way in boosting B2B customer retention rates. The best customer retention techniques are ones based on customer-centricity.
Setting the Right Expectations
Communication is the key to the success of any relationship. Even when you want to boost B2B customer retention figures, the golden rule still applies. By being clear in what you can deliver, when you can provide it and how you can do what you promised, the scope for disappointment reduces.
Customers are known to get upset if their expectation or perceived parameters of service are not met. If your customers belong to different industries or if your product has multiple applications, this clarity is even more important. Customers coming from different sectors or industries might have different expectations. Some might feel that your product is too expensive. Maybe another customer is unsure of the ROI they’ll generate by partnering with you. Some others might expect meticulous ‘white glove’ service and attention. Transparency and a straightforward attitude are one of the simplest keys to customer retention.
At BizProspex, for example, we ensure clear communication at all stages of communication. Our CRM cleaning service and data solution technique organization’s values are centred on transparency. We tell our prospects exactly what we can do and how we can help them. This straightforward attitude has been one of the best customer retention strategies for us.
Rather than remaining unclear, it is best to set the right expectation early on itself. Communicate with your customers and understand their points of view, project requirements, goals or objectives and other needs. When your customer knows what to expect (turnaround time, maintenance or servicing, deadlines etc.), they’ll be happier in the long run.
Remember, happier customers are more likely to continue doing business with you, helping overall B2B customer retention numbers.
Highlighting Case Studies Early On In the Sales Process
As we’ve said before, B2B customer retention activities begin as soon as you first contact a prospect. If you want to re-engage old customers, you have to lay the foundation early on.
Early on in the sales process, it is best to determine if the prospect and your organisation are the right fit for each other. This helps you understand how you can work towards providing customers with exactly what they need. One interesting way of achieving this understanding is by talking about success stories and case studies.
Case studies help you highlight the company’s communication style, services or products, customer service, collaborative capacities, and the results that follow. Customers are in a position to understand how you can help them in achieving a particular objective or goal. You can also talk to them about how customers with similar needs have found the right solutions with your organisation. By doing all these things, you drive home the message that you’re the right partner for them.
In case of customers who you haven’t reached out to in a long time; talk about their past interaction with your company. Positive or negative, whatever the experience might have been, referring to previous collaborations can help you land new sales.
In the B2B scenario where products are expensive, and buying decisions take time, case studies help tremendously. They act as research by setting expectations and informing customers. This way they know what to expect from the start and helps in making informed decisions.
Customers who feel like you’ve given all the right information are more likely to trust you. Such customers are more likely to turn into loyalists, boosting customer retention rates.
Calling with a Clear Purpose
If you grab your phone to re-engage old customers with your organisation, make sure it is purposeful. Imagine calling someone to say ‘Hey! I just wanted to check in on you’ in the middle of a busy day. This person who might have other priorities is sure to get annoyed and band your company along with the other time-wasters they have come across. What a silly way to lose credibility! While cold calling is great, it isn’t all.
Rather than calling up old customers just for the sake of checking it off your list, be mindful and purposeful. This means that you should first identify what value addition you can give the customer. Maybe your B2B company is running a special offer to re-engage old customers with services they’ve availed in the past. Perhaps there is a webinar that they might want to register for. Is there a special deal this week that they might want to grab?
Whatever it is that you choose to talk about, make sure it adds value to the customer. This helps you establish your brand as trustworthy and concerned while subtly creating an environment that can garner more sales. If you end up sending a personalised package or mail to your old customers, it is advisable to make a follow-up call. In short, unless you have a compelling reason to call, don’t.
Asking for Feedback and Working on These Suggestions
Customer attrition or churn refers to the process where once-active customers have not made a purchase or interacted with the company in a while. In essence, this refers to when the customer has ended their relationship with the company. This attrition is hazardous to the growth of your company and must be prevented at any cost. Moreover, you can’t boost customer retention rates unless you understand the cause of attrition or churn.
The easiest and most effective way of achieving this is by proactively asking for feedback from your customers. Since the B2B sales process is not dependant on one decision-maker and usually involves a team, consider everyone’s feedback. There are a variety of customer feedback tools that will help you here. By using surveys and questionnaires, it will be easier to understand what contributes to a satisfied customer, trends related to buying habits and even factors that you can improve on.
In this way, you will be able to identify problems before they arise and improve customer retention rates. You can re-engage old customers in a more impactful way with the feedback you collect from your existing customers.
Apart from this, asking for feedback shows your customers that you genuinely care about what they have to say. With precise, to-the-point surveys, you add a new touch point in the customer’s lifecycle, strengthening your reputation with them.
Guess who they will think of when they’re reconsidering the purchase in the future.
Setting Up High-Touch Reach Outs
Customer attrition can occur due to some reasons that you can’t always control. However, what you can do is minimise the damage.
A recent trend in the B2B industry has seen more and more organisations sending out personalised emails and setting up calls with customers who have recently expressed their displeasure. While many customers tend to be vocal about their plight, many others don’t. By setting up a call and giving personal attention to an unhappy customer, you can boost retention rates.
Such calls aim to understand what the customer’s experience has been. Ask them about what they liked and didn’t like. Communicate how you will sincerely try to work on any problems they have faced. While this call in itself may not be enough to retain a customer or re-engage old customers, it is an investment that will reap great benefits in the long run.
Experienced representatives should handle this process of reaching out to customers who aren’t pleased with you. Usually known as ‘customer specialists’ or ‘customer champions, calls like these can take up a lot of resources and time. However, they are effective at showing that your company cares about their experience even if they aren’t continuing to bring their business to you. Even if you don’t end up re-engaging with them, you’ve still left things on a positive note.
Talking About Shared Successes
Research shows that people tend to remember negative events far more vividly than positive events. Even if there are more positives than negatives, people are more likely to remember the negative occurrences. This is also why customers are more likely to talk about negative events on social media platforms as opposed to positive ones.
When an organisation messes up – missed deadlines, inability to deliver on expectations etc. – there is a tendency to over communicate. Representatives will send lengthy apology emails. Teams will discuss strategies to fix any damage. Phone conversations for determining the next course of action will be abundant. However, rarely, if ever, do we put the same emphasis on sharing the positives.
When something positive happens, place an equal amount of emphasis on it. This means that if your product has helped in increasing ROI for a customer, talk about it! Tracking customer profiles can help you find more success that your customer has enjoyed thanks to your product or service.
Even when you’re looking to boost B2B customer retention rates, don’t shy away from talking about shared successes. This reminds them of how your organization helped them solve a problem. Even if they don’t need your services right now, they will think of you the next time they do.
Offering a Win-Back Promo
Is there a better way to boost B2B customer retention rates than with a win-back promo?
First things first, no single thing is enough to bring back a customer who has recently cancelled or decided not to purchase. With that being said, there is a certain level of directness to win-back promos that prove effective to re-engage old customers.
In most cases, it is recommended to send a detailed email to a customer who has recently churned with an invitation to try the product or service at a specially discounted rate. For customers whose deciding factor is mainly cost-related, this can work wonders! In this manner, your sales funnel benefits from win-back promos.
However, if you think about the longevity of customer relations, these types of customers might not be your most loyal patrons. Customers that are likely to re-engage at a low price point alone are also the most likely to switch to competitors.
All in all, while win-back promotions and offers can help you bring in sales, they shouldn’t be overdone.
Building a Customer Loyalty Program
Today, customer loyalty is gaining more and more importance from brands’ point of view. One of the best ways to improve B2B customer retention is to give customers a new reason to engage with you. Sure, you’ve offered them subscriptions and memberships already. But is there anything more you can do?
One of the simplest ways of promoting B2B customer retention is to focus on adding value to the customer’s experience with your brand. This can be achieved in the form of a loyalty program fuelled by offering rewards for referrals, loyalty bonuses and even regularly sharing user-generated, relevant content to their mailboxes. The focus over here is to provide customers with a new way to benefit from interacting with your brand.
Loyalty programs encourage customer retention rates as they subtly push people to visit your site more often, explore the content and products you offer and engage more holistically with your brand. In time, it helps cement your brand’s reputation as reliable, interactive and overall worth it!
How Can BizProspex Help You Boost Customer Retention Rates?
In an era where customer retention is essential to the growth of your brand, why leave any stone unturned?
Your business is bound to see increased B2B customer retention rates upon implementing these strategies. However, it is necessary to add on to this with good customer service, excellent products and services, effective marketing and communication strategy, lead generation tactics, and regular sales. Moreover, to best utilise your customer database to track and manipulate customer retention dates, the database must be accurately updated and relevant.
With BizProspex’s highly skilled and experienced team, you can boost your customer retention rates, fuelled by data of the highest quality. Backed by over 6+ years of experience and a successful track record of satisfied B2B clients, we are the perfect partner for all your data cleaning, CRM cleaning, data enrichment and tech appending partner for your B2B organisation.