This strategy is especially critical for companies whose products and services have longer lifecycles.
Consider capital equipment manufacturers selling into today’s smart manufacturing plants. Product lifecycles can run anywhere from 5-20 or more years.
OK, so your accountant considers equipment as a “fixed capital asset.” You know that no piece of equipment is completely static within the industrial Internet of Things manufacturing ecosystem. Software interfaces applied to that capital equipment create a dynamic environment, not a static one.
Strategic decision makers (not just the buying committee) are concerned about what you are going to do for them over the next 20 years. Cutting a deal with them today is just the beginning of the story.
Those of you in the financial services industry broker mortgages with a duration of anywhere from 5-20 years. Just like those capital equipment manufacturers, how do you plan to retain each customer in-between? How much of a customer’s equation remains static over the duration of their relationship with your institution?
How will you initially determine, let alone deliver on, a client’s true expectations?
- How many of you focus on retaining the customer while engaging in activities which drive the first sale?
- Alternatively, how many of you are relentlessly focused on closing that sale and moving on to the next, so you can make your numbers?
Customer retention sales strategy may be the farthest thing from your current new business acquisition activities.
The primary activities of sales activities focus on customer acquisition, not customer retention. After all, whether or not you close that initial sale is a Big Unknown.
But does that close really have to be that uncertain?
TWEET THIS >> “Perhaps the conversation you are dismissing from your sales arsenal concerns how you propose to retain that customer once they become your client.” @babettetenhaken
Sure, as you sell you tell the prospective customer about your company full of great people doing great things. Yet they remain skeptical. Will you really have their back once the contract is consummated? Or will you abandon them to nameless, faceless individuals within (or outsourced from) your organization? Were those individuals even part of the initial sale?
You promise prospective customers that all their concerns will be answered immediately when things go wrong. However, the possible new customer wonders why anything has to go wrong at all? And why aren’t you willing to remain their point-person, post-sale?
You extol how happy and satisfied customers are with your products, services and platforms. The latest infographic documents high rates of customer satisfaction. Your “data” gives your prospect reason for pause. They’ve heard this all before, from former vendors.
Customers aren’t interested in just being happy and satisfied. How is doing business with your company going to make them continuously competitive over the length of their relationship with your enterprise?
Customer retention sales strategy develops a translational story with that customer.
When you focus on making your numbers, you are strictly transactional. You call, sell, close, generate a metric, and earn commission. For yourself. Period.
TWEET THIS >> “When you leverage a customer retention sales strategy, you co-create a vision with that client.” @babettetenhaken
Build a program and an infrastructure to support that customer’s strategic objectives. Showcase what you anticipate their account looking like: quarter after quarter, year after year.
A rock-solid customer retention sales strategy leverages your individual and organizational industry expertise. The strategy selects specific solutions which are currently relevant and valuable for that particular customer’s growth. Then extrapolate and build on that foundation, for the future.
Your strategy grows your translational relationship with each customer.
How does continuing to work with you, as well as your post-sale folks, translate over time into the success of that customer?
How will you and that client continue to work together to assure that the customer retention strategy, programs, products and services sold to them today remain valuable in the future?
Are you an order-taker or an innovator?
A customer retention sales strategy involves more than filling an order to make your numbers. That transactional process is all about you and your income.
When the focus of professional activities leverages selling customer retention as a customer acquisition strategy you are building the foundation of acquiring a customer for the long term. That translational process is all about them and your stake in the sustainability of their company.
Are you are looking for ways to become a go-to resource for your current and future customers? Would you like to be regarded as a partner rather than a vendor? Consider the value of developing a solid and relevant customer retention selling strategy.
Do you have stories to share about how your customer retention sales strategy catalyzed your sales track record? Isn’t it about time to develop a relevant and timely customer retention sales strategy?
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.
Image author: JJAVA. Image source: Fotolia.