Using Sales Enablement to Reduce Customer Churn

Congratulations! You have identified the right prospects, had engaging conversations, advanced your buyers through the sales process with value-add content, and closed the deal. So now what? Are you done?

If a prospect has a good buyer experience, they are more likely to become a customer. And if a customer has a good post-sale experience, they are less likely to churn. But it’d be a mistake to assume renewals, cross-sells, and up-sells are a sure bet. The customer experience continues long after a deal is signed, and your customers are still hearing from or about your competitors on a regular basis.

Further, it costs about 7x more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current customer, and high renewal rates increase customer lifetime value. Current customers are also more brand loyal and more likely to recommend you to their peers. And the fact that they already made one purchase makes them very likely to buy additional products and features.

 

How Post-Sale Differs

Selling to current customers is different from selling into new accounts – they already know who you are and what you have to offer. And they have already been convinced of the value that you can offer. At this stage in the customer lifecycle, it’s important to continue building that customer relationship and to demonstrate that you understand their current situation. Keep in mind that many roles within the company interact with the customer journey, from success and support to account management and marketing. So it’s important that these departments are aligned and support each other throughout the process.

 

Selling to Current Customers

A renewal, cross-sell, or up-sell is still a sales deal, just like any new customer deal. But the selling strategy is not necessarily the same. Follow these steps to boost sales from existing customers and reduce customer churn.

Identify who is responsible

You know who is responsible internally for new sales, but do you know who handles customer sales? Is it a junior sales rep, an account executive, a customer success manager, a renewal team, or some other individual? Depending on the size of your organization, the structure of the sales department, the complexity of your sales process, the experience of your reps, and the resources available, the responsibility could fall to any of these team members. But whomever you choose must have a clear understanding of how post-sale selling differs from pre-sale and how to build a trusting customer relationship.

Outline a consistent process

Just like for new sales, the renewal process must follow a consistent process. First, determine when the renewals and expansion sales team is to take over, i.e. when the transition from pre- to post-sale occurs. Now identify the stages of the post-sale process, considering where your customers could stall or fall out. When selling to existing customers, it’s important to not focus entirely on just generating more revenue – you also have to ensure that your customers are seeing the value of their existing purchase.

Re-evaluate the buying situation

What is your customer’s current situation? As you approach the time to renew and even expand, what has changed and what has remained the same for your customer? How have their pain points and needs evolved? Is the same group of decision-makers involved? Has the budget changed? Have some items lost priority or relevance? Has the customer seen the expected value?

Answering these questions will help you to identify new ways to create value for the customer. And compared to new sales, you already have a lot of insight into the buyer. Additionally, the customer will likely be more receptive to your communications and more open to engaging with your team. With this in mind, building and maintaining a positive relationship with the customer should be a priority. It’s important to position yourself as a trusted resource, to be attentive and responsive to customer needs and demands, and to proactively offer top-notch service.

Define appropriate metrics

Renewal and churn rate are important, but what other metrics could be valuable? Consider other measures such as product adoption rate, usage rate / activity, customer satisfaction scores, and average revenue per customer. These stats give insight into what value the customer is seeing before you try to sell more. This type of data-driven sales strategy will help leadership make more informed decisions, as well as raise red flags if a customer is at risk.

Share relevant content

By now, most organizations are aware of the importance of aligning content to the buyer process. But this alignment typically stops at the end of the sale – buyer maps don’t often go past the moment of purchase, even though content is still relevant post-sale. According to CSO Insights, “The more effective client-facing content is, the more likely providers can develop a high-level relationship with their customers.” In addition to thought leadership material, consider different types of content such as how-to videos, feature previews, a knowledge base, and user guides. Having this type of content helps to make sure your customers are using the product and getting ROI.

A sales enablement tool is able to recommend relevant content and messaging based on the buying situation, even in post-sale situations. This technology will also offer insights into what types of content are most effective at driving up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

Provide marketing with feedback

Your marketing team is likely focusing on pre-sale content and marketing activities, so it’s important to give them feedback about what is working and what is not post-sale. A sales enablement tool helps to automate this process and lets marketing identify gaps in the content library and determine what content needs improved or updated. With this type of information, marketing has a full view of the entire customer lifecycle.

Shelley Cernel
Shelley Cernel is the Senior Marketing Manager at SAVO. She frequently writes on a variety of B2B sales and marketing topics, including social selling, sales productivity, and about the B2B buyer. Shelley holds a Masters of Science in Global Marketing and runs marathons and ultrathons in her spare time.

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