The goal for every sales team, irrespective of business type, remains the same – sell. Every department is geared to helping the sales team sell more and keep the company’s revenue on an upward trajectory. For businesses, the most important thing is to always have enough clients and therefore, the focus is on customer acquisition most times. Sales professionals often spend a large amount of time on this.
Businesses, however, don’t want their customers to be one-time clients. They want them to return and that’s why businesses have increasingly been focusing on customer retention and have made it a top priority. Research by Invesp shows that the success rate of selling to an existing customer stands at 60 per cent to 70 per cent, while comparatively, the success rate of selling to a new customer can be as low as five per cent to 20 per cent. Research by Bain and Company says increasing customer retention by even five per cent can increase a business’s profits from 25 per cent to as much as 95 per cent. It simply goes to say then that all sales teams need to develop strategies that will help them acquire customers and retain them too.
The Importance of Customer Retention
Customer retention is ensuring your clients continue to make their purchases from you and not head on over to the competition for their requirements. With the right customer retention strategies, businesses can be assured of two outcomes. The first, costs decrease and the second, revenues increase.
Research has shown that it is seven times more expensive to get a new customer on board than it is to keep an existing one. With the benefit of lowered costs, it then makes sense for any business to invest in customer retention. The same Bain and Company research say that returning customers tend to spend up to 33 per cent more on their next purchase than other customers would.
The biggest long term revenue source is existing customers. Since they are familiar with your product or service, convincing them of purchase again or upgrading their purchase becomes easier. As a resource, existing customers are great because such relationships run deep and open out a wide referral base too.
The figures and the market don’t lie – customer retention is key to the success of a business. So how can you go about enhancing your business’s customer retention abilities?
5 Important Strategies to Help with Customer Retention
Now that we have determined its importance, here is a look at five important strategies that can help any kind of business work on its customer retention strategy.
1. Set realistic expectations that you will deliver
Sales and marketing talk is often glib. But, that should not mean that you over-promise and end up under-delivering. When you invest in customer retention strategies you have to be realistic and spend resources that will lead to actual results. The key to this is a proper alignment with the requirements of the client and the capabilities of your business. This clear requirement should be shared across all marketing and sales personnel involved with the client. Such transparent communication enables better collaboration, leading to client satisfaction.
2. Enable Seamless Consumer Journeys
Never has consumer experience been more important than it is today. A Price Water Coopers study has shown that one in every three customers (that is 32 per cent of customers) say that they would leave a brand after a single bad customer experience. With technology being what it is today and more consumers spending time on their gadgets to access purchases and experience, it’s become easier to find another service provider.
This makes it important for businesses to provide seamless omnichannel consumer journeys that provide the same marketing message, and evolves based on the device on which it is accessed. Adobe, in a survey of companies, found that with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies in place, a company can enjoy as much as a 10 per cent year-on-year growth and increase in average order value. It also leads to a 25 per cent increase in close rates.
There can be some challenges within this – working around a customer’s time frame, creating flexible campaigns, understanding where a buyer is in his purchase journey and most importantly, understanding how and where they want to interact with a brand.
3. Make Client Data Work for You
An integral part of understanding and creating optimal client journeys is using data correctly. Most marketing teams have a wealth of data but don’t leverage it the right way. Consider implementing Artificial intelligence (AI) tools to remedy this. Collecting data and extracting actionable insights from them can help in increasing the recall and brand value of your organization.
Here’s an example. AI can categorize your audience and help you make more targeted campaigns. Leveraging data to understand which customers may return, what is their possible spending capacity and the purchases they are inclined to make will help marketing teams create more personalized campaigns, with the right offers through the right channels.
4. Client Service is Your Foremost Tool
In a marketing world that is driven largely by online reviews and social media marketing, client support has taken centre stage. It is also an area of business where the power of data can be harnessed and smart tools can be applied. Cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) systems help brands develop loyal communities of buyers. It ensures social media activity is relevant and in keeping with your target groups’ needs. AI-based insights will help you anticipate issues and address them before they become a problem. With the right case management tools, service executives will have relevant information at their fingertips and will be able to direct issues to the concerned departments quickly – solving issues fast.
Creating a brand voice is important to ensure you have a consistent message that is amplified across marketing, sales, and all your client service efforts. This ensures return buyers and strong customer advocacy.
5. Focus on Enhancing App-Based Experiences
There is no denying the importance of a mobile experience and every brand needs to offer this to their customers. Each year, the number of people making purchases online increases. App Annie found that American consumers have spent about one billion hours shopping on their mobile. Your business will have to focus on creating better apps to provide a rounded shopping experience and ensure customer retention. Apps are a way to provide a personalized experience with customers and drive brand loyalty.
The basis of all customer relationships is that of trust. Every purchase that a customer makes from your brand is a reaffirmation of trust in your company and your offerings. To be able to earn that trust, sales teams need to be empathetic right from the get-go. Every stage of customer interaction – from onboarding to client servicing is about offering the right experiences. The close of purchase is not the end of the road but rather, sets the path for future interactions. Prioritizing the needs of your existing customer base helps you reinforce their trust in you and their loyalty to your brand.
Salesforce helps you with all this and more. The IDC paper titled the ROI of Building Apps on Salesforce shows that over five years, the ROI can be as much as 478 per cent, facilitating $242,272 in business benefits for every 100 users annually. A business will then need just seven months to break even. Salesforce can help your business do much more than build apps. With it, you can manage omnichannel buyer journeys, enhance your marketing and sales departments’ efficiencies, improve commerce and create top-notch client services. All this goes a long way in customer retention.
6 Effective Ways to Leverage Salesforce for Better Customer Retention
Salesforce has a proven track record in helping businesses gain new customers. However, it also offers several ways in which you can retain these new clients. We know that data is an important basis for making the right decisions for your customers’ needs. Salesforce enables this by streamlining all your integrations allowing the creation of a transparent funnel of data through all marketing, sales and customer service teams.
Here are 6 effective ways your business can leverage Salesforce to ensure better customer retention:
1. Centralization of Customer Data
Data forms the backbone of businesses today. It helps keep the system functioning well-oiled and sets out an effective means of teams getting tasks done. Quality data and an analysis of it helps sales teams make critical customer-related decisions, hit revenue targets that are laid out for them and build long term relationships with their clients. Salesforce provides a means to centralize all sources of data at one location. This is inclusive of customer communications such as VOIP systems and email inboxes which can be integrated with Salesforce, enabling the creation of customer records with relevant voicemails, email correspondence, notes etc. This gives any service agent instant access to a customer’s history with any service or product that he has engaged with.
Centralizing customer data also ensures its quality. Agents will not end up wasting time verifying data accuracy or duplication. Their focus can remain solely on customers and their requirements.
Data that is pulled from multiple silos across a company can end up being inaccurate, listed in duplicates or with gaps. This does not help a sales representative build a strong customer relationship or an experience for a client. It can lead to negative feedback.
Centralizing customer data eliminates this problem and ensures you won’t have to worry about verifying the accuracy of data or determining which duplicate data record is correct. Instead, you can focus on customers and their needs. Centralized data quality can be managed by setting a uniform data quality standard. The simplest way to begin is to start small – centralize data related to customer name and their contact details. This is one significant step to connecting with your customers effectively. You can build up a database from this starting point.
2. The Power of Personalization
There is nothing more mundane than receiving a mail that is visibly part of a blast campaign. It often comes with a generic salutation and could be meant for just about anybody. Businesses have realized that simply addressing a customer by name can help get their foot into the door. Salesforce’s system of personalized communication can help you achieve this.
Salesforce offers businesses Pardot Dynamic Content, a means to personalize emails, create forms for specific customers and direct them to specific landing pages. A sales or marketing representative can configure all his email templates to include his customer’s name in either the subject line or the body of the mail. Such emails can be sent out in bulk, yet be addressed individually, increasing chances of them being read. The added advantage is that the body of the mail can also be configured to send out personalized information based on customer searches, interests and their locations too. Salesforce places all of this information at your easy disposal and opens up a world of opportunities.
While email is one way of targeting your customer, it also opens up customization of website content to better appeal to existing customers. If a customer has been directed to a particular page with relevant discounts or limited period offers, the body of the page can be customized to include his name and other personalized details. This increases the recall factor of your brand with customers. Personalization may seem small, but can become a powerful tool to show customers that they matter to you, while communicating more effectively with them.
3. Track the Pulse of Your Customers
Your customer’s data tell their story. It tells you their location, their workplace, the places they like to visit and the products/services that they explore online. All this information can be utilized to understand the customer better and respond to their needs. Salesforce helps you track customer data on various parameters in real-time. By connecting Salesforce data with marketing data, you can examine why customers may abandon purchase at checkout. You can trace what pages you customer landed on, what they read and follow their purchase journeys. Such connections are facilitated by tools like the GA connector.
With such connections and flow of data, Salesforce helps your business engage in a meaningful way with your customers at the opportune moment. Any documentation downloaded from your site can be used as a base on which you send follow-up material or target a customer an email campaign. You can create special offers for those who have not made purchases in a while and send it along. Tracking customer interactions gives you the broad picture– opening the doors to engaging not only with existing clients but with the inactive ones too.
4. Salesforce Helps Re-engage Inactive Customers
Every sales and marketing representative has had clients who start to ghost them – they don’t answer calls, emails go unanswered and sales pitches no longer have an impact. In most such cases, the client is abandoned and the team moves on. However, it is clear that acquiring new customers can be a difficult proposition and does not always convert to the same sales returns, at least not in the beginning. It makes better sense to pursue the existing customer and bring them back into the fold again.
Salesforce can help connect with inactive customers in a three-step manner.
- With Salesforce you can set up a ranking system which tracks the number of times a customer requires a follow-up. Dropdown menus can be created with values being assigned for the frequency at which follow-ups should occur. This enhances visibility with your client and holds the sales team accountable for follow-ups.
- Salesforce helps track all touchpoints of the client – their activities, calls and emails in connection with your brand. This information helps the sales team classify customers based on every interaction they have with them.
- With Salesforce, you can also create touch reports that list out customers and the kind of interaction they need from the sales department. This is based on the classification of customers and their related tracked activity – all put together by data that is analyzed through Salesforce.
These steps help businesses take a more organized approach to engaging customers, both active and inactive.
5. With Salesforce Ascertain Why Customers Are Leaving
A complex purchase process or poor client servicing are the main reasons why customers tend to leave a brand. With Salesforce Wave Analytics a business will be able to dig deeper into client conduct and get answers to questions immediately. Salesforce Wave Analytics can be accessed on any device and explores data across multiple systems – CRM, SIS, LMS, your financial department, marketing etc., – allowing you to instantly spot loopholes or bottlenecks and address these issues.
6. Salesforce Encourages Merging of Customer Service Tools
Most businesses make the mistake of having separate customer servicing and retention teams. In some cases, client account management is a separate team as well. While this may make business processes easy, it is not sound strategy if you are looking to enhance overall customer experience, because each team works in a silo.
By bringing in the wide range of Salesforce’s customer service apps or the tools its offers like Desk.com or Service Cloud, every team instantly accesses customer complaints that arise and any issues or requests that are brought up. This information can be used to offer customized solutions and can further be harnessed to upsell any product or service range that is an ideal fit.
With such access to customer service data, service teams can connect with customers to assure them that their grievances are being looked into and will be addressed. This puts the customer’s mind at ease and they feel that they are heard. With this same information, the company can track who on the backend team is handling the grievance and ensure that it is given the priority it needs.
In short, customer retention is all about responding to customers – not only from the sales perspective but from every aspect that is connected to customer experience. Sales teams need to re-organize their priorities and look at building deeper relationships with customers instead of just adding new customers to the roster. The results can surprise you.
Harnessing customer data and using Salesforce to make the best use of it is a great way for businesses to work on customer retention. Every business collects large quantities of data on their customers. Using this information judiciously and channelling it into Salesforce will help your business have full control of client relationships.
When using Salesforce to create and implement strategies that help your business acquire customers and retain them, you invest in the future of revenue development for your company. By understanding the needs of your customers intimately, you can improve customer experiences, retain their trust and ensure that they remain loyal to your products and services for many years to come.