As sales reps, when is our job complete? Do we stop when marketing acquires more leads to grow the contact list? Does it stop when we make a favorable first impression through our multi-channel campaigns and engage with our audiences using personalized messages? Should retention be our goal? Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve, you should know that recruiting a qualified customer base only gets you halfway there.
According to Gartner Group, 20% of existing customers will ultimately be responsible for generating 80% of future profits. Leading sales reps understand that as prospects transform into paying customers, nurturing and engagement must still go on. When we understand the way our customers consume and use our products, we can launch the kind of programs that will work to reach an already-existing customer base with different offers.
A happy customer base consists of single purchase customers, repeat customers and advocates: people who are glad to share our content with their peers and friends because they like our product that much. That’s why it’s so important to excel at the process of attracting, selling and ‘Wowing’ customers. And this process is part of customer lifecycle marketing.
What is the customer lifecycle?
Many sales reps drop their sales efforts once they sign the deal. But the reality is that on average it takes six to seven times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep existing ones. Top performers succeed because they have a scalable marketing strategy that works to increase sales opportunities post-sales process. Customer lifecycle marketing is about implementing the kind of marketing and sales strategies that address customer needs as they evolve over time. Using lifecycle marketing not only moves prospects through the pipeline, but it also enables us to generate more leads from existing customers.
Let’s look at 3 steps you should be implementing to achieve lifecycle marketing success.
# 1 Set a strategy in place
No matter how big or small your list size is, the first step is to implement a lifecycle marketing strategy. First you have to build a plan, and with time, your database will grow and so will your understanding of your customers. By starting now, you can ensure that you will have a lifecycle messaging strategy in place sooner than later. This will be the foundation for growth. No matter the size of your customer base, work to develop a strategy that will elevate messaging and increase engagement in the future. The sooner you do this, the better. In fact, according to Gartner research, 28% of marketers have reduced their advertising budget to fund more digital marketing. A marketing strategy is key to lifecycle marketing.
# 2 Use data
Make use of all the data that you have on each customer. This may come in the form of profile information that you’ve gathered during the lead generation processes. Your CRM should be an information hub on each individual customer. With automation, you are able to create highly targeted correspondence that may be as simple as a birthday email. In fact, according to Aberdeen Group, personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%. Make use of all the data you have on your customers to ensure you are creating a personalized dialogue.
# 3 Keep on learning about your customer
Lagging marketers get stuck in the marketer’s blind spot: self-interest. It’s important that your marketing department never shifts focus away from your customer by keeping their needs, wants and challenges as first priority while building and optimizing the lifecycle program. By using behavioral data like click behavior, you can work to deliver increasingly relevant content – content that revolves around the needs of the customer first.
Empowering sales to step in at the exact moment that an unsatisfied customer wants to jump ship – or, conversely, step in at the exact moment that there is an opportunity to sell a new product is possible. As much as it is a job for marketing, sales plays a significant role in retention and up-selling.
Do you have a lifecycle marketing strategy in place and are you reaching your customers on a personal level to not only turn them into loyal customers and retain them, but to turn them into advocates, too?