Cultivate Relationship Sales

When the cost of acquiring a new customer was found to be five times the cost of keeping an existing customer, CEOs recognized the importance of supporting current customers to their bottom line. The original contact management systems like Act! were no longer sufficient to handle the demands of sales teams and account representatives. New Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems provided a more comprehensive view of prospects, leads, prospects – and customers.

Now when we market online, prospects and leads send us signals identifying who they are and what their needs are. Successful marketers capture and respond appropriately to those signals — and to do that efficiently, they are moving beyond the CRM systems to employ Marketing Automation.

The Marketing Automation systems such as Infusionsoft, Marketo, and Eloqua, give us the insights into what content our prospects, leads – and customers – are most interested in by tracking which videos are watched, what case studies and whitepapers are downloaded, and what webinars are attended.

By providing a wide variety of information about the industries in which your products are used, answers to questions, and solutions to problems, your company can shift your relationship with customers from one of price to one of advice. Relationships based on price alone are easy to displace. Those based on advice are not.

In a recent Gallup study, the data showed that customers with low engagement were a primary indicator of future declines in revenue. In contrast, 21% of highly engaged customers generated 20% or more growth in revenues the next year. Unfortunately, only one in seven customers in a typical B2B company are fully engaged.

Do you know which prospects, leads and customers are fully engaged?

Too often the sales team assumes the fully engaged customers are the ones who currently are generating the highest sales. Today’s best customers can be easily lost if their engagement with your company withers. Current sales are lagging indicators when compared to engagement with your content and instructional materials.

’Hard’ financial data are lagging indicators of organizational performance while non-financial human performance and process metrics are leading indicators. These leading indicators can help managers and executives take corrective action before declines in financial performance occur.” Ed O’Boyle is Practice Leader, Marketplace, for Gallup & John H. Fleming, Ph.D., is Chief Scientist — Marketplace Management and Human Sigma for Gallup. He is coauthor of Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter.

With web site tracking and monitoring systems, companies can now measure which prospects, leads, and customers have viewed a significant number of web site pages. Marcus Sheridan has found that he had an 80% closing rate for prospects who viewed more than 30 pages of his website, compared to the average industry close rate of 15-20%.

Marketing Automation systems track which prospects, leads, and customers take advantage of your digital resources (videos, whitepapers, eBooks, Webinars) and can rate the level of engagement – flagging both highly engaged prospects and leads, as well as poorly engaged customers.

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