Customer Relationships, Retention, and Acquisition
Should you focus on taking care of the customers that you currently have, or place an emphasis on winning new business and new opportunities? The answer is yes – both. But now comes the hard part, which is how to do both effectively.
Solid relationships enable businesses to understand their customers better. By engaging with customers on a personal level, the business can gain insights into their preferences, pain points, and needs. This knowledge is invaluable when tailoring products or services to suit customer demands.
These relationships are the bedrock of trust. Customers are more likely to do business with companies they trust, and trust is built through consistent and genuine interactions. Those who take the time to understand their customers, deliver on promises, and provide exceptional service contribute to the creation of trust. Trust, in turn, enhances customer loyalty and retention.
Moreover, relationships foster customer advocacy. When a customer feels a strong connection with a brand or company, they are more likely to become brand advocates. These advocates can help spread the word about a company's products or services, effectively becoming unpaid promoters – think “Net Promoter Score.” Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool, and these relationships can be instrumental in generating positive recommendations.
No argument that relationships help foster customer loyalty. But even with that, a late delivery or invoice that is all mixed up can test the best relationships. Then there’s the question of who owns the customer relationship? Is it the sales rep or the business? What happens when the buyer leaves, or retires? The company-to-company relationships seems to hold up very well over time – in my opinion.
The added benefit of a company relationship is that the sales rep has more time for customer acquisition – you know, the selling part! This is a sensitive subject as it challenges what many companies have done over the years. Meaning, that sales reps were tasked with finding new customers, nurturing them as an account manager and then going out and finding another one. Lather, rinse, repeat.
If you are getting all the new business that you can handle and the reps are managing the accounts, hooray. If your sales team is operating more like account managers and a bit lax with the customer acquisition part of the job, then it may be prudent to re-examine how those client relationships are handled and the work your reps are responsible for.
As we stated, you should focus on taking care of the customers that you currently have and place an emphasis on winning new business and new opportunities. The answer is yes – it’s always yes.
I’ll continue with ideas for changing your sales model. In the meantime, if you have ideas or comments on the subject, please include them below. Good luck and remember, doing nothing certainly is an option, just not a great one!
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Philie leverages his 28 years of direct industry experience in sales, sales management and executive leadership to share what’s working for companies today and how to safely transform your business. Since 2007, he has been providing consulting services to privately held printing and mailing companies across North America.
Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the graphic communications industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion, and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach.