Timing is one of the most critical elements for successfully performing outreach to prospects, leads, and customers. Customer Lifecycle Marketing (CLM) is an eight-step outreach approach that will help your business deliver the best message to the right audience at the most opportune time to convert them into a customer — or at least move them one step closer to making a purchase. This two-part post explains how you can start leveraging the CLM framework to dramatically increase your company’s revenues across a number of key metrics — everything from improving conversion rates for new customers, to longer customer lifetimes and increased brand loyalty, to larger orders (or bigger contracts) and the higher revenues per customer that come with them.
Before reading this post, make sure to read part one of this series first. Without laying the groundwork in the first four steps, these tactics won’t be nearly as effective. If you’ve followed the steps in part one, now have a pipeline of leads and are building up demand for the products and services that your company offers with this audience. Now you’re ready to start closing sales and leveraging those customer relationships to create even more revenue for your business using the final four steps of the CLM process:
5. Close Sales: Now that your qualified leads are eager to purchase from you because of the demand that you’ve created by nurturing their connection to your brand, it’s time to close the sale. One of the most effective strategies for getting past the final roadblocks that hold people back from purchasing is introducing a time constraint. If you can somehow make your offer only available for a limited time, you can engage your prospect’s fear of missing an opportunity and their sensitivity to scarcity, both of which will drive them to purchase. Most often this strategy is wrapped into a limited-time sale or value-added deal like an additional free period of service, however there are other ways to invoke the scarcity principle as well that don’t require you to cut your prices. For example, some successful online courses only open enrollment for a limited time — after that the prospect has to wait until the next time it’s open, which can be months or years in the future. This is just one of many examples of how to leveraging scarcity without providing a discount.
6. Deliver and Delight: Congratulations, you got the sale! After making the sale or signing the client, most businesses think their work is done. However these companies probably also have short customer lifespans, which explains why they are aggressively chasing new business all the time. In fact, it’s always cheaper to sell more to an existing customer (as you will see in the next step) than it is to find a new one, and the best way to do that is by delivering and delighting on the first sale. This is the step where you go out of your way to please your customers and clients. Provide outstanding customer support and service. Deliver extra features or ideas for free that will help the client beyond what you did as part of your contract. Surprise them with a small gift for being a first-time purchaser. You want your customers and clients to be thrilled they chose you over your competition.
7. Upsell: Now that you’ve got a roster of clients and customers who love working with you and buying from you, you need to find a way to provide even more value in their lives in exchange for increased payments. Sleazy companies will think “Now that we have this client relationship, how can we get as much money out of them as possible.” This is backwards and will set you up for failure in the long run. Yes, you do want to get increased payments from your existing clients, but you want to do this by finding ways to build on what you already do for them to help them even more first.
“Providing value” has become one of the buzz phrases in marketing lately. However people rarely get specific about how to do this. They say your blogs, emails, and social media posts need to “provide value” and then act like that is a comprehensive explanation all by itself. Here’s what it means to provide value: Identify a need your customers or clients have, preferably related to what you already do for them, and then come up with a way to address that need. Bonus points if it’s a need the customer or client doesn’t even know they have.
For example, if you write emails for a client’s marketing campaigns, find a way to start helping them actually launch the emails instead of just writing them. Show them how you can help split test subject lines to increase open rates, pull analytics reports to determine the most effective content, and free up their time to work on other parts of their company. You’ll be taking an increased role in helping them effectively launch their email campaigns, which helps them by getting them better results while also giving them more time to address other needs within the company, and they will be glad to pay you more for this increased responsibility.
If you are a B2C company, find products similar to the ones you already offer that would also be beneficial to your customers. If you sell organic dog food, could you expand to organic dog treats and toys made from natural materials instead of synthetics? Find ways to expand so that your customers come to you for more and more of the purchases they make in the category of goods you sell.
8. Obtain Referrals: Now that you’ve delighted your customers and are increasing the role your brand has in their lives by upselling, you can leverage that to feed more qualified leads into your pipeline. Word of mouth is still the most effective way for brands to spread their message, and now that you have a roster of highly satisfied customers it’s time to get them talking. For B2B businesses, email your clients and ask them for testimonials that you can use to close new sales. Also ask them for connections to other (non-competitive) businesses that would benefit from what you offer.
For B2C businesses, sometimes all you have to do is ask your customers to refer you to their friends, family, and coworkers and they will gladly pass along a link. If you want to be even more persuasive, offer incentives for referring friends to your business. LivingSocial and Groupon both offer a deal where, if you refer three friends to buy a deal you’ve already purchased, you get yours for free. On-demand car service app Uber gives a $10 credit to someone who refers a friend to the service, as well as giving that friend a $10 credit as well. Your customers are your target audience, and usually they know a lot more people who are just like them, so getting them to help you generate referrals is a great way to fill your pipeline with great prospects, and then the process starts all over again!
You have all of the instructions necessary for running a successful CLM outreach campaign now. Implementing the steps in this process is a highly effective way to take your company’s performance to the next level. Please come back and share your success stories in the comments!