After years of experience and research, we have found a common thread within all industries and feel the need to address the problem: Lead nurturing post-sales. Lead generation techniques often focus on sales as the end goal, using conversion rates as a measure of success. This approach neglects the critical next step of post-sales lead nurturing, a process that all companies should be practicing but few think about.
Instead of giving continued attention to the leads that have become customers, marketers move on to another round of fresh leads to nurture. Keeping your eyes focused only on untapped leads means missing out on the potential gold mine that can be found in your existing customers as well.
That’s because 80 percent of new leads never become sales, therefore holding onto and fostering relationships that have already been established is invaluable to the growth of your business.
Why a Sale Isn't the End Point
E-commerce statistics show that 40 percent of a company's revenue comes from 8 percent of its customers and similar trends hold true for many industries across the board. Trying to keep your business afloat by jumping from one sale to another requires devoting a large amount of resources to marketing and sales activities.
Although the profit from sales is what supports your company, your long-term goal shouldn't simply be to sell. You also need to pay attention to the people who have already connected with you and are primed to make more purchases. It’s a balancing game.
Repeat customers have a 60 to 70 percent chance of converting when presented with marketing offers, and have been shown to spend more than first-time buyers. Unlike lead generation, nurturing leads after sales involves reaching out to a demographic with a vested interest in what you have to offer. You spend less time and money on each conversion and make a greater profit as a result.
This is not to say that you spend less time focusing on lead generation. This is to say that if you are not putting in the time to nurture your post-sale leads currently, then we highly encourage you to start now.
The Value of Contact
Consider your post-sales leads to be the customers that give you the most bang for your marketing buck. Companies report spending 25 times less on customer retention than on new lead generation, and profit increases anywhere from 25 to 95 percent with as little as a 5 percent increase in retention rates.
These remarkable results may be due in part to the "brand ambassador" factor. Customers that have good experiences during initial sales and are satisfied with the products they receive will tell others in their networks about what your company did for them.
About 90 percent of B2B buyers overall report that this type of customer fan marketing influences their purchasing decisions. In addition, 88 percent of B2B purchasers use online recommendations to help them choose which products to invest in. Dropping these leads once the sales process is complete breaks the chain of contact that's so critical to maintaining the kinds of relationships that produce willing brand ambassadors.
The Customization Factor
At the end of the day we’re all people right? Leads, businesses, customers, you name it, we are all humans. Personalization is a crucial part of post-sales lead nurturing.You already monitor and segment your target audiences for regular marketing campaigns, but the unique nature of the post-sales environment gives you the opportunity to customize your approach even further.
Statistics show that personalized, relevant emails can generate 18 times more revenue than generic messages. This is likely because delivering content tailored to the needs of existing customers (people, remember) works to build both the credibility and trustworthiness of your company.
Another important facet of the personalized customer experience is providing strong customer support in the form of post-sales product training or consultations. People that have already made purchases have different requirements than those still considering whether or not to buy, and this necessitates a shift in approach from generating interest to supporting a positive experience that promotes your brand as a helpful and reliable resource.
Tips for Excellent Lead Nurturing
Companies such as HubSpot show exceptional skill in the kind of lead nurturing that can support a database of millions of contacts. By using persona-based marketing that tailors to specific demographics and by maintaining consistent contact with customers, HubSpot sets a prime example for how other companies can handle the challenge of holding on to post-sales leads.
To enjoy this level of success in your business, consider these lead nurturing best practices:
- Implement an automated system that allows for prompt follow-up and sends relevant post-sales content triggered by customer actions.
- Set up a regular contact schedule for all existing customers.
- Send thank-you notes and other appreciative communications on a regular basis.
- Offer tailored post-sales information that helps customers fully utilize the features of your products.
- Give customers opportunities to tell you what else your company can do for them.
- Use the built-in reporting feature of your automated system to continually track and monitor your post-sales demographics.
A surprising 65 percent of B2B marketers admit to not having any kind of lead nurturing in place. That means adding post-sales tactics to your existing lead generation and promotion techniques right now will put your company two steps ahead of the majority of your competitors.
This method requires a much smaller investment of time and money, while giving you a measurably larger return on your efforts. So it's definitely worth the initial planning required to put such a campaign in place.
When you adopt a solid strategy that follows leads through the sales funnel and beyond, you build a broader network, enjoy a wider reach, and establish a solid brand reputation that encourages repeat purchases and results in a more profitable business.
And remember, at the end of the day, your sales are actual people. They want to be nurtured like people and not be just another sale or conversion number. So make it personal.