A study of over 100 subscription businesses found that companies that had customer success teams experienced 24 percent less churn than those without them.
It makes sense. If your customers are achieving the desired results with your product or service, they are less likely to stray.
Whatever your business model, subscription or otherwise, customer loyalty is essential for producing a revenue stream that doesn’t dry up. That’s because research shows 71 percent of B2B customers are at risk of switching vendors.
Given these statistics, it’s not surprising that many companies focus their customer success programs on increasing loyalty. And while building loyalty bears fruit by lengthening the average customer lifetime, there’s a growth avenue that businesses often ignore. That’s the opportunity to increase annual sales with accounts by cross-selling and upselling. If you use these techniques with the goal of helping your customers to solve problems, you will boost loyalty and solidify your relationships.
Creating the Customer Success Program
To ensure customers are accomplishing their goals and deriving full value from your products and services, you can build a team that is solely responsible for this objective. Alternatively, you fold the responsibility into those of your inside sales team. If you don’t have the resources to build a customer success program internally, or the function does not fit comfortably in your organizational structure, you might want to outsource it.
Elements of a Customer Success Program
An effective way to help your customers to thrive is to have inside salespeople make courtesy calls to them on a regular basis. Let your business’ needs dictate the frequency of those contacts.
Here’s how such customer calls can help businesses:
- Problem Resolution
Inside salespeople may discover clients are battling with software glitches, machine malfunctions or late deliveries. They can raise such issues with the departments responsible for them and ensure they are addressed.
You may think these issues fall within the charter of the customer support team. However, while this team may know about them, it’s entirely possible they gave the customer the runaround or only provided a partial fix. This sometimes happens because customer support is often rewarded based on the number of tickets they close out, not for growing customer revenues. This compensation structure may lead them to take a Band-Aid approach. On the other hand, an inside sales group with incentives based on customer growth is more likely to be interested in supporting a long-term healthy customer relationship.
Another scenario is that the client may not have even called your company to voice their concerns. By reaching out, your business can be proactive in resolving issues rather than allowing them to fester.
- Value Enhancement
Even if a customer is completely satisfied, if he or she is unaware of a feature or does not know how to use a useful function, they may not fully appreciate the product.
Thus, reps can become value-added partners, offering demos, tutorials and informative content to aid in product use, showing clients how to get the most out of your products.
Any business that fails to upsell current customers is effectively leaving money on the table. After all, it’s easier to sell to an existing account than a new one.
Upselling is such an effective tactic that many companies now bundle their services in pricing packages to make choices simple — the good-better-best strategy. The fully-loaded package comes with the most features and the highest price. These packages naturally pave the path to upselling.
You don’t want to force your rep to upsell during every customer interaction. However, when they take on a consultative role to help solve problems, opportunities arise naturally. Perhaps during the conversation, the rep discovers that a company needs some features of their SaaS solution customized. Their package doesn’t allow that, but an upgraded one gives them all the customization they need.
It’s easy to understand cross-selling if you look to the consumer world of Amazon. Their algorithms look at your purchases, compare them to those of other consumers and come up with suggestions based on their data. You see the phrase “You might like…”
Like Amazon, you should already have an idea of which of your products tend to work best together. When your inside sales reps talk with customers, they can ask questions to see whether clients might benefit from such complementary products. If so, recommending them becomes a service to your customers rather than a sales pitch.
- Referral Selling
If your solution can be utilized in different departments or functions within a company, why not leverage your current relationships and ask them to refer you to the other stakeholders? Of course, you need to first have a happy customer, otherwise they will think you are crazy for asking. If your company is already on the books as a vendor and if you can solve a pain or fill a need for another department, it’s a “no brainer”!
- Relationship Building
When you take the long-term view of customer relationships, always working to help them achieve their goals, you’re likely to build a strong bond. Becoming a trusted partner is essential for customer loyalty and growth.
- Keeping Data and Clients Up to Date
An important side-benefit to your inside sales reps’ outreach is that they are frequently in touch with customers. That means they are aware when John Smith leaves or receives a promotion and Gina Duncan fills his spot.
Not only can they update the database, but also they can discover whether John brought Gina up to speed on why he invested in your company’s solution. If not, your reps can fill her in on his rationale.
As you can see, focusing on the retention and growth of current customers ensures the health of your long-term revenues. It helps you ensure that their problems are resolved, they are receiving the full value of your products, and they are maximizing the use of your products and services to meet their needs. All the time, you’re strengthening your relationships and ensuring an up-to-date, accurate database.