How to Effectively Improve Your B2B Customer Lifecycle

It’s a surefire approach that marketers who take a long-term view on their relationships with customers achieve greater ROI on their efforts. Why waste resources prospecting for new customers?  You will do yourself a lot of good focusing more on the customer lifecycle marketing as this will keep your existing consumers coming back, again and again.

One thing everybody agrees on is that the best part of ABM is that it guarantees message relevancy. The more specific and resonant you can make your B2B (Business to Business) marketing, the more successful it will be. B2B purchase decisions, as compared to those of consumers, are outrightly based more on bottom-line revenue impact.

Return on investment (ROI) which an everyday person rarely takes into consideration at least in a monetary sense, is fundamental for corporate decision makers. For this singular reason, your B2B should target specific accounts and work hard on elongating the customer lifecycle instead of trotting the globe prospecting customers.

It’s not all about how many customers you have at the end of the day, rather it’s more about what you do to enhance a prolonged customer lifecycle. Studies show that it can cost five times more to attract a new customer, than it does to retain an existing one. Increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent have been discovered to increase profits by 25-95 percent, according to research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company.

The good thing for B2B marketing is that since it targets corporations and not outright end consumers, there won’t be the need to park on all sorts of customers, rather all effort will be geared towards maintaining and nurturing existing customers. The focus will be on improving customer lifecycle.

To whatever extent you may have tried to elongate your customer lifecycle, one glaring thing that cuts across the board is the fact that the B2B customer has come a long way in advancement with the technological revolution that has taken place in the marketing landscape. The B2B customer wants to dictate where, how, and when your product must and should be delivered.

The customers want to constantly discuss with you and promptly attended to. They want an immediate reaction to their complaints. They want the “now factor” to be configured into each of their transactions.

The only way to have this happening is to integrate conversation and messaging into B2B marketing. Messaging can provide a continuous thread between the customer lifecycle and brand, unlike the disjointed experience of email.

There is no iota of doubt that an order confirmation email, that may even be prompting further action from the customer, often dies in an inbox, but a live chat either by a human or chatbot on is more like an ongoing dialog. This difference makes follow-up conversation easier and more natural.

You can use this opportunity to increase cross-sell, encourage sharing, solicit input, and flow seamlessly between marketing and support. B2B marketing should be able to offer the customer a narrow set of relevant choices that will address the need but leave the opportunity or room for subsequent additional options.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of these chatbots, AI-driven conversations is the ability for the brand to zoom in immediately on what customers need (regardless of how they say it), based on a strong understanding of context which actually makes messaging convenient. Without comprehension of the context by the customer, bots would need to constantly ask customers the same qualifying questions every time they interacted with them.

This will amount to wasting their time and testing their patience.

According to findings by Drift, B2B marketers will spend $4.6 billion dollars on digital advertising in 2018, driving potential customers to a traditional landing page with a lead form so someone from the company can reach out later. this is absolutely unnecessary.

Chatbots can be pre-programmed to sieve out your VIP customers. It could be by tracking how much ROI you make from them over a given period of time, which customers are brand advocates and have the highest number of corporate referrals, it’s absolutely important to know who these customers are.

After identifying these customers you need to put in place a customer segmentation marketing strategy. You then work on how to elongate the VIP customer lifecycle which reinforces the built relationship.

The fact that you have evolved a constant medium of live-chatting your customers creates room for overwhelming insights on how to convert more customers into these VIP groups. Not to mention, this strategy will achieve much better results than a broadcasting marketing approach.

The next step would be to determine what makes these top customers so loyal, and if you can replicate those offerings, you can grow your top customer lists and increase business.

In a survey conducted by Statista, customers stated fast shipping, easy and fast returns, expertise, knowledge, and personalization, among the top reasons to make repeat purchases from retailers.

                                                                                     PHOTO COURTESY OF STATISTICA

No one could have better put the importance of maintaining a strong customer lifecycle than Virginia Lee, Executive Vice President of ShopShops, an interactive Livestream platform connecting U.S. retailers and brands to Chinese shoppers. “We have a WeChat group dedicated to our VIP customers, to keep an open line of communication. We use this group to solicit feedback as well as give them early access to shopping events, exclusive discounts, and other perks. The nature of our Livestream business is to make our customers feel like they’re shopping with a trusted friend (virtually). Enabling frequent communication with our audience helps establish this relationship.”

Photo Credit: GmanViz Flickr via Compfight cc

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About John Ejiofor

John Ejiofor is a curious life-researcher, whose quest to finding answers to life's pertinent questions has led to founding Nature Torch. This blog aims to debate and explore many questions about our earth -- including those a lot of people are uncomfortable with asking. He has been published on some of the internet's most respected websites, which you can find online.
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