Did you know that it costs five to seven times more to get a new customer than to sell to an existing one? Yet so many B2B companies spend most of their marketing dollars trying to attract new clients. Why not maximize that budget by selling to the people who already know you, trust you and like what you do? Here are five simple ideas for building on the business you already have:
1) Make them aware of you all the time. If you have a customer who comes to you for product A, they may not know that you also offer products B, C and D. And why would they, if you’ve never told them? Get the word out. If you do a better job educating your customer base about the full breadth of your offering, you’ll sell more. But you have to tell them often – you can’t just go to trade shows once a year and expect people to remember you. People are busy, and they don’t pay attention. Get that message out there consistently.
2) Bundle new services with traditional offerings. One way to get people to try something new is by adding it to something they already buy. If you sell a lot of product A, and you want them to try the brand new (or underperforming) product B, sell them together. People love getting free stuff – by getting B for free, they’re more likely to try it. You can start charging for B once people know how great it is.
3) Give them perks for buying more – but make sure those perks are something they want. A well-conceived, well-executed loyalty program can be very successful, if the rewards you’re offering are valuable to the customer. Do your research, find out what they’ll really value, and offer it. Too many B2B companies are unsuccessful with loyalty programs. In my experience, it’s because they assume they know what customers will value, rather than doing the work to validate their perceptions. When they launch a program and no one makes use of it, they think it’s the customers’ lack of interest, when usually they have failed to provide the customers with what they want.
4) Activate your customers. If a customer has signed up for your product or service but isn’t using it (imagine a credit card that’s just sitting in someone’s wallet), you’re missing a key source of revenue. Pull them back into the fold by communicating with them regularly and giving them multiple incentives and opportunities to buy something - and then another something after that. Remind them about all the benefits of your product or service, and offer them incentives to use it repeatedly.
5) Develop products and services that solve new customer problems. You already know your customers, and you’re aware of the issues they face. If you can develop a way to make their jobs easier, then selling to them will also be easier. They will almost always prefer to buy within a trusted relationship than have to deal with someone new. Stay up-to-date on what their needs are and deliver solutions to solve their problems, and you’ll have a steady source of income.
One of the biggest trends in 2012 for B2B companies is revenue volatility. For companies struggling with stability and predictability, the best, cheapest and easiest way to maximize and stabilize revenues is through their existing client base.