April 24th, 2017 | by
5 min read

In today’s fast-paced B2B space, a lot of companies put most of their focus on acquiring new customers.

Of course it’s very important to grow your business, but remember the old adage: 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. It’s easy to forget about your existing customers outside of an occasional touch-base phone call or handling support cases. You’ve already won their business so it’s time to move on to the next account, right? Wrong! Not only do you rely on them for a continual revenue stream, but if nurtured properly, they are the most effective marketing materials that will help you acquire the next big account. It’s up to you if you want to take a seat on Mt. Olympus, you just have to start climbing.

In our free guide on Account-Based Marketing and the Customer Lifecycle, we explored some statistics on the customer-obsessed approach of marketing. According to a recent Forrester survey, only 25% of marketers prioritized engaging customers to deepen the existing relationship. According to Bain & Company financial services analyst Fred Reicheld, when a company retains just 5% more of its customers, it translates into a 25% increase in profits, proving just how vital customer retention is.

A marketer’s job is never finished. In the traditional model, the Marketing team segments target markets, creates content to inform and educate, nurtures the leads with specific content, and passes the MQL’s off to Sales where they convert them to customers. However, in an ABM model, a marketing engagement strategy should strike a balance between targeting prospective clients, while also strengthening relationships with existing ones. As mentioned before, you can put your existing clients to work for you but only if you first help them succeed. Enter the Customer Success team.

The importance of a Customer Success team

The role of the Customer Success team is to guarantee your customers are happy by ensuring they achieve their goals, as well as showing the value in your company’s product/service.

At every stage, the Client Success team is the primary point of contact for the existing accounts. Early on, they will help establish realistic goals and make sure each client is familiar with how the solution can solve their specific pain points. This might involve some degree of customization to the product itself depending on the organization’s user structure and their responsibilities. This constant engagement allows the Client Success team to gain insightful information on how the product is being used and they can track customers’ progress. At the same time, they can feed this information to the Marketing team so they can target the most successful customers for best use cases, testimonials, and more.

Customer retention should always be the Client Success team’s first priority. Once you’ve built that trust and loyalty, it’s time to take it to the next step. A common mistake for marketers is using a blanket approach to engaging all your existing customers. Not all customers are created equally, and not all use the product in the same way. Instead, you need to best understand how each customer uses and interacts with your product or service.  How do you do this?

The same way that you used ABM to find this lead, nurture, and sell them. Continue using the information you have gathered to send relevant and needed marketing materials. But, what type of marketing materials would a customer need—they know who we are and already use our product? Thats a great question, and the answer is simple. Send your clients information that can help them better their user experience with your product, answer a question they might have, help them achieve a goal, or solve a problem they are facing. Some content ideas include:

  • Tips and tricks emails
  • Training sessions
  • How-to videos

By nurturing your customers you will show them just how valuable your services really are. And when you find your most loyal customers, they will typically be willing to help you when they can. Since you’ve been nurturing your client’s too, it should be easier to ask your best clients to become your marketing heroes.

How can customers become marketing heroes?

As we said before, your customers can be your best marketing material. If your “Hero” clients will let you, you can use them in a multitude of ways. The best part? If they are already a happy customers, it won’t take much of your clients’ time to gather enough information. Examples of marketing materials your customers help you create include:

1. Case Studies

The best way to showcase why your solution works, a case study paints the whole picture. It analyzes what pain points the customer initially had, how they were solved, and what the outcome was.

2. Testimonials

A pull quote from a brand evangelist on your website or marketing brochure is a simple, but effective method of short-form advertising.

3. Sales Advocacy

It takes a very strong relationship, but having a decision-maker from a loyal customer sit in on a conference call can really sway a prospect’s decision in your favor. Having that direct interpersonal contact is very influential from a psychological standpoint.

Now that you know the ways you can share your client’s stories with prospects, how do you determine which clients to reach out to to collaborate with? Here is a good  way to determine which clients will be your marketing heroes.

The RFM Approach

Analyze your sales data to determine who your most loyal and most profitable customers are. These are your golden geese and their advocacy should be at the top of all your marketing materials. Examine the following criteria and ask yourself these questions to determine their customer value:

  • Recency—Are they a brand new customer? Have they expanded their licenses to other products?
  • Frequency—How long have they been a customer? How often do they renew?
  • Monetary Value—What percentage of sales do they contribute?

Have your Client Success team meet with these Heroes to see if they’re willing to share their stories with others. Some might have non-disclosure restrictions or simply won’t want to put themselves in the spotlight. However, the most loyal are usually the happiest, and will usually be more than willing to help with word-of-mouth marketing.

TIP: Some solutions are not for everyone. If you find yourself with a dissatisfied customer, and they’re spreading the word on how dysfunctional your solution is, it’s best to cut the cord. Not all business relationships are meant to be. It’s better to focus on those who you can serve and will add to your 80%.

Since you’ve now determined who your most successful and loyal customers are, it’s time to reach out to them. When you reach out, already know what type of content you would like to create so you can inform your customer and have well-prepared questions for them to answer. For case studies, you want the facts and numbers that prospects will find relevant. Testimonials will have some facts, but you want to focus on why your client’s experience with your company is topped by no one.

How do you share this information with prospects?

1. Target based on niche/industry

If your product or service can be used in multiple industries, create specific content for each one. A prospect in the healthcare field, may not find a testimonial from someone in the financial field helpful and visa versa.

2. Target based on persona 

Many times, prospects want to hear about your product or service from a customer who is at the same level, or higher than themselves within their organization.  Have quotes from different job titles within your hero clients to send prospects.

3. Target based on goals

If one of your hero clients was able to use your solution to achieve a goal, create a case study based on that goal. Case studies are a great way to showcase how your product or service can help prospects achieve the same goal and can answer questions.

Sometimes all it takes is a look at what resources you have available. While your Marketing team is out prospecting for new clients, the Client Success team should be constantly collecting feedback from existing clients to ensure their success and retention. To make a business partnership mutually beneficial, a service provider must work to help their clients overcome challenges. If you go above and beyond with top-notch customer service, they’re likely to return the favor.

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