Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Synectic Small Biz Advice: Strategies for Finding Customers and Keeping Them Loyal!

There are essentially two ways to increases sales: find more customers or find new ways to sell more things to the customers you already have. Both strategies are important, but often one or the other gets short shrift.
  • In a start-up, when the focus is on new customer acquisition, it’s easy to overlook upselling opportunities.
  • Over time, as a company gets more established, the focus shifts to upgrades and add ons for existing customers. Finding new customers may get the backseat.
Getting both acquisition and retention/upsell strategies working together is the key to smart marketing. You need new customers to replace inevitable attrition and stay innovative. At the same time, keeping current customers loyal pays huge rewards: a 5% reduction in your customer defection rate can increase profits by 25% to 80%.Here are five ways to keep your acquisition and retention strategies in balance:

Know your value: Regularly ask yourself, “Who is my customer and what value am I delivering?” Focus on problems you are solving for your existing customers that helps make them more competitive in today’s economy? Apply what you have learned to markets/customers you haven’t tapped yet.

Know the competition: Instead of simply trying to beat the competition, analyze what they are doing and how it impacts your acquisition and retention strategies. What problems do your competitors solve that makes them attractive to new customers and gives them the potential to make inroads on your current customer base?

Know the decision makers: Remember that the people making a buying decision do not always have the same set of criteria as the person actually using your product. That’s why simply repeating your core marketing message to decision makers won’t work. You have to target their hot buttons—how are you making their life easier? Helping them achieve their goals? What could make the decision maker at a prospect choose someone else, or at an existing customer decide not to remain loyal?

Make it easy for new and existing customers to reach: Give new customers, existing customers and decision makers the option to “self-select” on your website. Use the capabilities in your communications system—such as customized routing, hunt groups, multiple incoming lines, and connections to etc.— to get a streamlined presence on the phone that’s critical for both acquisition and retention strategies.

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