by Dan Hersh
President, Engaged Prospect
There’s a big push in organizations to separate sales development (finding new business), sales (closing new business) and account management (keeping and growing business). Books have been written, videos made and organizations restructured to segment the sales cycle and specialize sales reps.
In fact, I wrote my master’s thesis on this topic 10 years ago and have written countless blog posts and articles about this idea.
This doesn’t change the fact that the sales and service teams, regardless of specialization, need to constantly look for ways to increase prospect awareness, customer engagement and overall profitability of the company.
At Engaged Prospect, we’re focused every day on helping our clients increase new business and generate revenue. In addition to creating strategy and executing on the sales and marketing goals for new business acquisition, we often find opportunities to help clients increase revenue with existing accounts. As existing customers become more engaged they also tend to become advocates for other potential customers, and that engagement also typically leads to increased purchasing over the time they work with you.
This idea contributes to the concept of “Customer Lifetime Value”, which is the net profit attributed to the entire relationship with a customer. It’s a really important metric to measure for any business. Startups need to think about this if they want funded. Other small and midsized companies need to think about this in order to scale.
By focusing time with your current customers and measuring their lifetime value, you’ll see an almost immediate growth in customer engagement and profit.
Engaged Prospect helped one partner increase their monthly revenue by 34% by implementing one of the below strategies.
And it only 30 minutes.
Here are three ways to help grow accounts by providing true value, engagement and service.
We’ve recently established a customer implementation training to help educate and inform the customers. This training is designed as a company and product introduction for a new customer and a reminder or update for existing users.
Offer new users/clients the opportunity to attend a webinar, in-person meeting or phone call to discuss an overview of the company, features and benefits of a product and use cases to show how other clients are helped by your company. You want them to leave this meeting with the following information:
This is especially important if all of the “users” aren’t involved throughout the decision making process during the sales cycle. Sometimes one person in an organization will make a decision to sign-up, but won’t involve all of the people that will actually use a service down the road.
Within two days of conducting a training like this recently, one organization increased their monthly commitment by 15x. In fact, in that one month alone, they spent 191% more money than in the last two years combined.
We used the following agenda:
Make sure your product expert is part of this training, and make sure all participants on your end have been thoroughly trained. They need to know the product and the customer. They should be able to tell stories about other customers and use cases. They must be effective communicators and they should understand sales, service and teaching best practices.
Consider making this training fun and interactive. Give a pre-training homework assignment to have participants think about the topic before they attend. Your goal is to generate as much participation as possible and have your customers leave with a thorough understanding of your mission and value.
Initiating an implementation training will increase value to your new customers and will help increase their interest in a continued business relationship. The better your organization gets at onboarding new clients and educating them, the more likely you are to have engaged customers who are loyal, provide feedback and advocate for your company. And, this is a potential revenue stream down the road if your training can become so valuable that people seek it out!
Tier 1 Accounts, and Tier 1 Meetings:
In many organizations, only a handful of customers are responsible for the majority of the revenue. It’s important to keep them happy, provide excellent value, and follow-up with them consistently to make sure you’re giving them what they need.
Separate your key accounts from the rest. These top accounts (by their value to you now, or the potential they have) are called “Tier 1” and they should get special treatment.
Schedule a monthly call or in-person meeting with all stakeholders from both companies. Have each department in your organization gather data and discuss internally before your discussion to have talking points to guide your conversation.
We’ve implemented this engagement model in many businesses, and we’ve found that this helps our Tier 1 customers stay engaged and satisfied. They appreciate the additional focus and are more willing to share success stories with their peers.
You’ll spend about an hour a month with each client (sometimes more). It’s well worth it, and will lead to customer retention and growth.
Renewal Steps of Sale:
Some companies tend to create a really good buying experience at the beginning, but then lose focus once a customer signs up.
The salesperson is the face of the relationship… But, the relationship always extends beyond the initial sale, and there’s a simple way to guarantee high retention rates and renewal purchases.
We call this the Renewal Steps of Sale and we’ve seen it increase one mature company’s retention rate by 19% which equalled $2M in additional renewal revenue.
Companies wait too long to follow-up with customers after they’ve purchased which leaves a bad taste in many buyer’s mouths. Remember, if you offer value on each outreach attempt, you won’t be bothering your customer. You’ll be increasing your worth, and deepening the relationship. Don’t only call when it’s 60 days until their purchase is set to renew. They remember this lack of service and will jump ship if they find a comparable vendor.
For additional insight into increasing customer lifetime value or other practical sales and marketing insight, please sign-up for the EP Huddle, our weekly newsletter designed to provide sales managers and business leaders with easy but effective training topics and resources.
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