5 Lessons for B2B Marketers from the B2C Playbook
November 09, 2015 Michael Sampson Strategy
Ask any B2B marketing team where the bulk of their investments are directed and they will almost always respond with the same answer: New business acquisition through lead generation, and high-quality sales team training. Now, if you were to ask a B2C marketing team the same question, they would say customer retention is their primary goal, while acquisition gets put on the back burner.
Sounds contradictory, but true, right? Let’s break it down. Traditionally, B2B marketers have mainly concerned themselves with branching out their services to as many consumers as possible. Meanwhile, they pay little attention to the post-product inquiries of the customers they have already provided services for.
B2C marketing, however, grounds efforts into retention of existing customers by improving upon the services they offer in hopes of spurring new business from those existing customers. Interestingly, this tactic may be more beneficial in the long run.
Recent studies like this one and this one, and this one, have shown that customer retention may be far more essential to profitable growth than customer acquisition. A mere 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 75% increase in net customer value. Companies that focus on retention grow six times faster than the companies focused on acquisition. These results are supported by the fact that it is substantially cheaper and significantly easier to hold on to a current client rather than impress and acquire a new one. Considering these facts, isn’t it about time B2B began thinking more like B2C?
When thinking about B2B marketing, there are few challenges preventing them from focusing more on existing customers. The majority, if not all, of the money in B2B marketing funds is spent on training the sales team and and providing them with tools and resources to acquire new business. However, there is little money being spent on improvements to the user experience, and support for current customers.
Therefore, after spending the money on a lead-generating campaign or idea, there is little to no management or follow-up to support those leads. Most B2B companies will generate a lead and then send an automated email for confirmation, leaving their customer’s satisfaction up in the air. This is a tried and true practice, but in this era of personalization automated messages come off as impersonal, and is inevitably ignored by the client.Here are 5 ways that these B2B conflicts can be resolved with strategies from the B2C playbook.
1. Appropriation of money: If a portion of the marketing dollars were pulled from the sales team budget and put into developing online engagement, then a company could be generating new leads while also improving the quality of the service they provide their current clients. Something as simple as creating a monthly or quarterly newsletter for the members of your subscriber list that discusses market trends can skyrocket incoming business from past or current customers.
2. Automated email templates: Create several templates for your website’s automated emails. This way, the customers receiving the email will feel like the message was composed directly for them, and improve the chances that they’ll click through to the website.
3. Understand customers: The age of the Internet is the age of the consumer. It is important for businesses to be aware of who their consumers are, what they want and how they want to have the products they needed presented to them.
4. Invite customer feedback: Make it simple for clients to provide feedback to your business. Sending out customer surveys and providing customer feedback contact information on your website can assure that people direct their dissatisfaction at your business (the people who can fix it) rather than their friends… aka the people who will never go to your business because of a bad recommendation. No matter how many leads you generate, word of mouth from your satisfied customers will always be the company’s greatest marketing campaign.
5. Apply feedback to products: Once you seek to understand your customers and ask for their feedback, apply it to your products and services. By reading through the feedback one can find pain points the client is having, where the room for improvement is and then they can think of a specific solution that they can present to the client having struggles. The customer will be elated by having their requests heard and trust will blossom with every service completed because the services will become more customized to their business.
These may seem like minimal changes but that is the point! Remember, a mere 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 75% increase in net consumer value. Small efforts can make a big difference in customer service. So what are some ways that your company has worked to balance B2B and B2C efforts? Have they been supportive of your business? Share with us in the comments below.