Question: When should you tell your spouse that you love them?
Answer: Before someone else does!
The same basic principle holds true for your clients and customers. Your best clients really are your competitor’s best prospects. That’s why every sales professional should include specific customer success behaviors in their account plan to maximize the client onboarding experience, build and protect the relationship, expand the account, and generate repeat business and referrals. This is not a “customer service” issue. It’s a customer success issue, and we need to think of it that way!
Remember: Keeping a client is typically ten times cheaper and easier than finding a new one. Here are five powerful behaviors you can build into your account plan to support better, more profitable, and more loyal business relationships.
- Leverage Client Onboarding for Customer Success. Don’t let the marketing and sales process end with the contract. Show your appreciation for their business by making sure the client is set up for success. Show up for any and every onboarding meeting and make sure the client/customer is getting what they need. Look for ways to head off any challenges or bottlenecks that could affect their ability to solve their problem. You can also use this discussion to look for potential upsell opportunities you can discuss later on. Showing up for the onboarding discussion, and contributing to it, supports the relationship by making it clear that you’re not just in this for the short term. So do it!
- Keep a Fuzzy File to Build the Relationship. As the old saying goes, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Use a CRM system like HubSpot to keep track of important dates and information that will give you a reason to reach out to your contact – even when it isn’t time to talk about a specific opportunity. You can also track job changes and other company news on LinkedIn or via other social media. Make sure you are connected on LinkedIn with each buyer, as well with as the company, and put any relevant information into a “fuzzy file” in a sales enablement platform. You should also keep track of assets that can help your contact like relevant white papers, blogs, podcasts, or other information. Share these resources with your clients so you stay top-of-mind and continue to bring value throughout the year.
- Run Quality Quarterly Value Review Meetings (QVRs). One of the keys to keeping your clients happy enough to not run off with the competition is to conduct a QVR. Assume your buyer's world changes every 90 days. (Spoiler alert: It does.) These meetings enable you to make sure you are still working on their most important challenges... and understand if you are actually delivering the value you sold. It is important to involve everyone in this meeting from the sales and delivery team, but also the C-level, influencers, and other stakeholders from the buyer’s side as well. For more on QVRs, click here.
- Ask for Referrals and Expansion Business. If your QVR goes well, guess what? You’re looking at a perfect time to ask for introductions to other departments or other organizations that might also need your help. However, you don’t have to wait for the QVR. Make a habit of regularly searching the LinkedIn profiles of your connections, starting with your best customers. Look for people who might make good referrals. Ask for help in connecting. One of the best ways to build and sustain a relationship with a key contact is to make the person look good to their bosses, friends, and co-workers... by solving their problems, too.
- Don’t Let a Crisis Go to Waste: Be Proactive when there are Problems. Moments of pain, problems, and complaints are actually opportunities to show how great your customer service is. You really can leverage pain to convert upsell opportunities. Solving problems and removing roadblocks for your clients ensures that they feel valued and lets them know that you can be counted on to support them, even when there’s an issue to deal with. For instance, right now, many industries are experiencing supply chain issues. Your open and honest communication about any impending delays or other challenges will build trust, reduce complaints, and make it less likely that your best customers start shopping around for other options.
Build these five behaviors into your account plan. You’ll be more likely to make success a reality in your contact’s world, and you’ll improve the odds of holding on to their business.
Check out this podcast to learn more about how to be successful at Keeping Your Clients.