When is the last time your organization seriously considered what happens to customers once the contract is brought in-house?
Today’s business ecosystem is dynamic throughout the customer acquisition process and after it is won. Nothing is stable for long.
- Do you react to or anticipate customer retention issues?
- Do you lead or chase existing customers throughout the customer lifecycle ?
A customer retention upgrade pokes holes in Us versus Them silos.
Sales organizations drive themselves by the excitement and anxiety of winning new business and crushing quotas. They leave the care and feeding of existing customers to organizational Others. These folks have titles like: Customer Support, Engineering, Project Management, Product Lifecycle Management, Operations, Logistics, Tech Support, Field Service Maintenance, and Contracts Processing.
The Others breathe life into newly won business. They are your company’s brand and image, not only to existing customers but also to potential customers on the fence about whether or not to sign that contract.
The Others are your customer retention superstars. Yet they are:
- Marginalized from the majority of business acquisition processes;
- Injected into the sales equation on an as-needed basis when something does not go according to plan; and
- Blamed for failure to execute sales contacts when things go wrong during implementation.
First of all, a customer retention upgrade is a key component of an enlightened sales strategy.
Sales organizations have split personalities. They prefer to hire “hunter” types who are new business acquisition specialists. However, they also require that hunters retain existing business.
According to the proverbial 80-20 rule, 80% of the sales are generated by 20% of the sales force. Top performers understand how to handle the new versus existing business balancing act.
However, why treat at least 60% of your sales team as disposable or unimportant? What might they do very well indeed? Chances are at least 20% are customer retention sales superstars.
When these customer retention rock stars increase their rate of retention by 10% they exert a major impact on revenue generation. This strategy is key to businesses with recurring revenue models.
In addition, a customer retention upgrade is a key component of an enlightened workforce hiring strategy.
Take a solid look at all the Others within your organization: the ones who receive stellar recognition from your customers. Are these individuals disposable or critical to business strategy? How many leave your company to work for customers?
Customer retention upgrade strategy hires for customer success. They hire individuals who are not content with piece-work or “just doing their jobs.” These professionals learn about your business. They inquire about how things happen in your customers’ organizations.
The people you leave in charge of customer retention are key influencers in a client’s decision to continue doing business with your organization.
Finally, a customer retention upgrade is a key component of an enlightened team collaboration strategy.
Winning new business is exciting. Retaining business is critical to growing, expanding and sustaining your and your clients’ organizations.Consider the following.
- Currently, are customer retention initiatives ho-hum compared to the exhilaration of sales hunters targeting their prey and crushing their new business acquisition quotas?
- Currently, are customer retention sales initiatives not highly compensated compared with new business acquisition?
Sales organizations love to single out new business rock stars for prizes and recognition. However, these folks do not conduct new business as solo acts. They collaborate with internal teams and with customer teams.
Are you ignoring customer retention sales superstars currently hanging out in the 60% area of new business sales productivity? What percentage take very good care of customers? They have the patience and discipline to mine the depth and breadth of your own and client organizations. They identify the right folks critical to excellence in the execution of strategy.
Customer retention is the result of cross-functional team collaboration.
Enlightened team players perceive customer acquisition and customer retention as fluid and interconnected. They intuitively and periodically implement a customer retention upgrade on how they do business.
Customers succeed because of customer retention strategy. What are your first steps for doing a thorough customer retention upgrade?
Babette Ten Haken is the Founder and President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC. She has one of the most distinctive voices in today’s workforce, professional development and customer success communities. She traverses the interface between tech workforce hiring strategy and developing collaborative technical and business teams focused on customer success and customer retention. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.