Especially during the first quarter of the fiscal year.
If you ignore the obvious, and take existing customers for granted, can you safely assume customers will have your back when it’s time to renew their contracts? Do they actually owe you their renewal business? Do they feel obligated in any way to continue to do business with you and your organization?
Now I have you thinking.
Consider the value of assuming that retaining existing customers is not a given.
First, retaining existing customers isn’t guaranteed by length of equipment life or service contract. Especially in highly competitive and complex industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) environments. Somewhere between time of contract signing and time of contract termination, a lot can go sideways.
Then, a signed contract is not a guarantee of a stable business environment either, for you or for your customer. The IIoT ecosystem is dynamic and ever-changing. Conditions which created a favorable environment for customer acquisition may become derailed when it comes to customer retention.
Also, what’s pure nonsense is when you become overly confident that a customer will renew with you. That a customer will always purchase whatever it is you are upselling or cross-selling.
Finally, it is pure nonsense to assume that your customer isn’t engaged in serious conversations with other suppliers. Your competitors are more than willing to do what it takes to eliminate you from the buyer’s decision making algorithm.
Evaluate the wisdom of retaining existing customers by proxy.
Relegating the care, feeding, upkeep and overall retention of existing customers to everyone else in the organization doesn’t make sense over the long haul. Unless you plan to become part of the post-sale initiative.
Creating a rock-solid strategy for retaining existing customers means you are continuously connected to all post-sale activities conducted in relation to the client. Otherwise you are guilty of post-sale customer abandonment.
Executing a reproducible strategy for retaining existing customers translates into continuously identifying post-sale resources best positioned to serve a variety of customer requirements.
Aggressively retaining existing customers transforms you into a go-to resource for industry trends, financial information, regulatory news and changes in technology which impact IIoT manufacturing and service environments.
Are you prepared to become a thought-leader? Because that is the type of go-to resource your clients are willing to retain.
Decide whether you buy-into taking a more involved role in retaining existing customers.
The choice remains yours.
Ponder the overall value of your customer base. Even if you enjoy a high rate of customer retention, what happens when 2-5% more customers are retained each year? What is the value of cross-sell and upsell potential over their lifecycle?
It works both ways, you know.
Clients also evaluate whether you and your company are assets “worth” retaining over the long haul. Are you providing them with the quality of service delivery and innovation that makes you more valuable the longer they do business with you?
Take the next steps.
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- Are you an Owner, CEO, VP, decision maker or manager? Book a brief consultation with Babette at email@example.com . What are you waiting for?
Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks, consults and coaches about collaborative value creation for customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between strategy and execution. She works across leadership, human capital / HR and technical/IT/engineering teams within the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem. Her focus? Creating enduring business outcomes. 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.