Your renewal business is the bread and butter of your customer base. Whether you sell subscription or licensed services or whether you provide custom fabricated manufactured outcomes.
Your renewal business customers represent loyal customers who believe in you as a businessperson of worth. Your partnership with their company has resulted in increases in efficiencies and profitability, over time.
Are you cultivating these important customers or are you ignoring them during the time between renewals or when they issue RFQs?
Each fiscal year starts off with pressing urgency, emphasizing new business development to feed the pipeline. Your managers are pushing you to produce. You want to win the quarterly sales contest. The nicest compensation strategies emphasize new customer contracts over existing customers.
What else are you supposed to do to keep everyone happy back at Corporate?
Here’s another way of looking at the situation. Cut yourself some slack in the process.
While you are busy chasing new business, your existing customers can offer you a sanity oasis. After all, you both are comfortable working with one another. Check in from time to time. Offer relevant content that may not even be related to your own products and services. Ask them why they enjoy doing business with you. Your actions speak volumes in letting them know that while you are out of sight, they remain top of your mind.
Your existing customers can be excellent sounding boards for new business development. Your current customer base has solid information about industry and local trends which may impact your current prospective customers’ willingness or reluctance to sign on with you. Take the time to talk trends with current customers. Their insights may help you better understand why your current selling strategy and tactics may be falling short.
Your existing customers are solid resources for building new business through referrals. While loyal customers may not be open to referring you to competitors, their network can extend beyond their own industry. Let them know you would appreciate their referral. Many times, your current customers overlook how they can assist you in building your own business.
Create a renewal business calendar to assist you in maintaining your touches on these important existing customers. Circumstances change during the course of their business year. Their company structure can change as well. Assure that you and your products, services and platforms are top-of-mind when their company expands into new markets. Become part of their expansion strategy in the process.
Renewal business provides you with a solid foundation to power your sales strategy throughout the year. Don’t take it for granted in your rush to sell new accounts.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a business coach and management consultant. She remodels startups and small-to-medium size manufacturing and service companies experiencing unpredictable revenue streams and inconsistent growth and expansion initiatives. Babette was named a Social Selling 2015 Top50 Influencer and a 2014 Top 50 Marketing & Sales Influencer. Babette’s blog won the 2014 Bronze Medal, Top Sales World. Babette’s book on horizontal business development and collaboration strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.