Most B2B businesses have already invested in their customers. They’ve spent money on ads, website development, and content marketing. But those customer relationships are still only as strong as their weakest link. When you can’t get more sales from your existing customer base, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity for growth.
The good news is that there are many ways to increase sales with existing customers and plenty of reasons why it’s so essential for your business to do so. These best practices will help you turn your existing customer base into an asset rather than just another expense:
Ask a Lot of Questions
The 2022 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey found that 68% of buyers would choose a vendor who knew more about their company and its needs. Asking many questions is one of the best ways to learn about your customers, their businesses, and their goals.
• Ask open-ended questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer.
• Ask questions that are relevant to the customer’s business.
• Ask questions that help you understand their needs (e.g., “What are some of the challenges working with other vendors has created in the past?”). Be sure to listen carefully for clues and ask follow-up questions if necessary.
• Ask questions that help you understand their goals (e.g., “What do you expect from this meeting today?” or “What result would make this meeting successful”).
• Lastly, ask questions that help assess pain points so that these can be addressed later on in discussions about how you can improve your service offerings.
Segment Your Customers
When it comes to B2B sales, one of the most important things you can do is segment your customers. Segmented customers are those who have different needs, wants, and behaviors. Some may be more likely than others to buy from you again.
Some may be more profitable than others and are likely to be loyal. Understanding why they fit into this category will help you serve them better in the future and identify other potential customers with similar profiles that might be worth pursuing.
Use Account Planning to Strike Large Deals
Account planning is one of the most underutilized tools in B2B sales. Account planning identifies, analyzes, and prioritizes your accounts to increase revenue and reduce costs.
In 2021, 70% of marketers reported using account-based marketing, up 15% from 2020, according to the HubSpot State of Marketing Trends Report 2022. That’s surprising, given how much time it takes to build an effective account plan. But if you’re not doing it already, you should be.
You can use account planning for all types of sales, B2C, B2B, and D2C. However, it can be helpful in B2B sales as only businesses can give you the largest deals. For example, if you are a clothing brand, a retail customer will only buy a handful of clothes. But if you act as a manufacturer and sell to a retail shop, the retailer may buy hundreds of clothing pieces from you at once.
Account planning in B2B sales helps you identify your best customers and prioritize them based on their needs, buying cycle, product capabilities, and budget considerations. This can help you strike large deals to increase your revenue significantly.
Understand the Customer Journey
The next step is to understand the customer journey. This is a fancy way of saying that you need to know how customers buy and what they’re looking for when they do so.
According to Gartner, when a business makes a complex purchase, it’s common for six to ten people to be involved in the decision. You should know how they search, what questions they ask, which content on your website resonates with them, and so on. Once you have that information in hand, it becomes much easier to create segments based on where people are in their buying process and tailor messaging accordingly.
Create a Customer Advisory Board
One of the best ways to generate new leads is by getting customer feedback. If you don’t already have a customer advisory board, create one and start inviting them for quarterly meetings.
A customer advisory board is an excellent way to get customer input on new products, services, or anything else you want input on before launching it into the market. It allows the business owner to take advantage of their customers’ experience to improve their value proposition and overall product offering.
Use Advocates to Generate Referrals and Testimonials
One of the best ways to boost your sales is using advocates to generate referrals and testimonials. These customers have already purchased from you or engaged with your product, and they can be significant assets for getting new customers. A Sagefrog survey found that 65% of qualified B2B leads come from referrals.
There are many ways that you can use advocates to grow your business, including creating a referral program for existing users of your product or service where they refer others who purchase something from you. This will encourage current customers to share their experiences with others and help grow awareness about what it’s like working with your company.
Educate Your Customers
Educating your customers about the products or services you offer is essential. This can take many forms, from webinars to written resources, but the goal is always the same, helping your customer understand how your product works so that they’re more likely to buy.
An effective content marketing strategy is essential to achieve this. A study by the Content Marketing Institute found that 72% of B2B marketers use content marketing to educate their audience.
Educating customers also helps build trust with potential buyers because they see that you care more about helping them than selling products at any cost. Providing educational content that gives people confidence in their decisions before buying anything from you gives them peace of mind about using your products or services long after purchase.
Ultimately, it all comes down to one thing, your customers. If you have a solid understanding of their needs and the challenges they face, you’ll be able to create new sales opportunities that speak to them.
Maybe they need additional training or coaching on how best to use your product, or perhaps they need new products and services to help them grow their business even further than they already have. Whatever it is and however many customers you have right now, it’s important to remember that these people can bring in new business if only given the opportunity.