It costs between 5 - 10 x more to bring on a new customer vs keeping / developing an existing one.

It costs between 5 – 10 x more to bring on a new customer vs keeping / developing an existing one.

Love thy (existing) customer

With 2015 fast approaching everyone is getting into planning mode and working out where the 2015 revenue and profit will come from.

Many of you will be focusing on where to find new customers to make your targets – but are you missing a trick? Estimates vary, but it’s generally agreed that it costs between 5 and 10 times more to bring on a new customer versus keeping and developing an existing one.

Having worked as both a channel partner and vendor during my career, I know this is true; winning new clients can be extremely rewarding, but it’s hard work and takes a huge amount of effort!  Time and time again, organisations tend to focus more of their efforts on new business, rather than maximising the revenue – and therefore profit – potential of those they have already won.  In addition to new business, there’s a huge opportunity to drive increased revenue from your existing customers – they are the low hanging fruit because of the up- and cross sell opportunities.

The rise of Account Based Marketing

Identifying smart ways of increasing revenue from existing customers is becoming increasingly common in business planning processes.  Why?  Well, more and more companies I come into contact with are starting to invest in Account Based Marketing or ABM.

And what is ABM?  In short, ABM is about recognising that your existing customers represent a fertile market for you to develop: based on you understanding their needs/buying patterns. As a result, ABM is gaining great momentum amongst progressive organisations as a smart way to transform marketing spend.  If I’ve caught your interest, find out more about ABM at Sirius Decisions .

Getting 2015 off to a flying start

So as you develop your 2015 plans, why not consider the concept of ABM as a way to drive revenue and make your customers ‘sticky’?  Here are my five top ABM tips:

Don’t take the customer for granted

Just because they keep signing off purchase orders every month doesn’t mean you don’t need to  talk to them and, more importantly, listen to them to explore what they are planning, what they are thinking and what they need from you

Do your research

You may think you know your customer but the explosion of social data means your customers are communicating their pain points every day via digital means; if you can track and understand these triggers you’ll sell more

Obsess about differentiation

If you are different, you’re special.  And if you’re special, you’ll get the love of your customers as you can offer them something no one else can.  And with that love comes revenue

Don’t always try to sell

Sometimes it’s enough to help educate a customer on a trend or issue.  It may not result in an immediate sale but it will enhance your relationship.  And that will lead, ultimately, to more revenue

Build a key account plan

One that is realistic and pragmatic and ensure your organisation helps you to achieve it.  Customer satisfaction is a fantastic way to drive revenue but it can only be achieved from a holistic approach across the whole business

After a number of tough years, 2015 is shaping up to be a year when strong growth can be on everyone’s agenda.  Follow the above tips and it could be a year when you find growth comes more easily.  Now, wouldn’t that be something to get excited about?

Finally, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and relaxing festive season.  I look forward to working with you all in, what promises to be, a very exciting 2015.

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