Inbound Marketing Part 3 – Lifelong Love: Maintaining customer relationships

Vanessa Kraut | September 17, 2019 | Inbound Marketing | Reading time: 3 Minutes

Customer Relationships

From the first eye contact, via the ge­neration and quali­fication of the lead, you have walked your contact down the aisle right up to the purchase decision. In the last part of the series you will learn how to incent the purchase and build a long-term customer relation­ship.

When a lead becomes Marketing Qualified and later on Sales Qualified, you are passing major milestones. There is no clear specification, where exactly these milestones are located on the journey of the lead. At some point, however, the lead will have reached the end of the funnel: The contact is about to perform the purchase decision. The customer relation does not end at this stage, quite the contrary: It is only the beginning. Especially in the B2B sector, long-term customer relationships are the key to successful corporate growth.

In this article, we break down how you can continue your Inbound Marketing strategy after the sale and turn acquired customers into brand ambassadors. Not only will you reach an amicable level of customer relationship, you will also win leads and potentially new customers. Before we dive into that there’s one step left to turn your contact into a customer: The sales talk.

On the knocker? Don’t be

With Inbound Marketing your target group finds you, there’s no need to run around looking for them. Why do some marketers still decide to talk advertising when closing the sale?

The door-to-door salesman and cold-calling are mostly things of the past, for a good reason. Having one foot in the door doesn't convince your potential customers at all. However, offering tailor-made content offers or other incentives may put you back on track.

Don't be on the knocker of your potential customers, but try a “pull” approach. Which  communication channel you choose, is not important. I.e.: Call leads and invite them personally to a special event or start targeted e-mail campaigns. The support and dedication that you imply with these action will convince the potential customer eventually. Try to be subtle with your Marketing, by offering content and incentives that makes it easier for the contact to approach the purchase decision.

Is there going to be a big event in your line of business? Send out invitations to promising leads, get to know them personally and talk openly about the added value of your services. And that’s the formula to turn a contact into a customer.

Keyword: Account Management and Marketing

In a company that values long-term customer relationships, customer care and support are a natural evolution after the sale. 

 

In an Account-based organisation, selected account Managers are at the customer's disposal and ensure that the customers are doing well with the service and the product. Instead of the unexpected knock of a Sales Representative at your front door, the account managers strive for a more desirable and constructive communication. Just like a friend who swings by to say “Hello” and asks how you are doing. On the behalf of the company there are some more advantages:

  • Long-term relationship: It is cheaper to engage with an existing customer than to acquire new customers. For customers, a reliable service provider means minimised effort, both in terms of time and money.

  • Up- & cross-selling: If you know the needs of your customers, you can reach them efficiently with new offers. While up-selling describes the sale of an augmented offer, cross-selling refers to the sale of a whole different service.
  • Recommendation: Sharing content, recommending services: Existing customers who recommend products to others indicate a successful concept and help to win over new customers.

All these processes can be perfectly implemented through digital marketing measures and automation to give your customers the feeling that your company is the right choice for them.

Generate Brand Ambassadors

Brand Ambassadors are customers who are proud to work with you – and who like to show off the outcome. Entrepreneurs also like to share content that directly concerns their company, such as a press release. Best practice articles or case studies are suitable formats for Inbound Marketing. In addition to improving customer relations, such formats are also interesting for other customers or leads. This in turn, opens up the possibility of promoting one's own services and cross-selling. Regularly send targeted relevant articles to customers and inform them about all the possibilities you have to offer.

But the crowning achievement is and will always be: Recommendation. In order to reach this level of cooperation, it requires a lot of customer care and the fulfilment of other requirements:

  • A feel-good experience for the customer: The customer should be able to trust your company and your services with a clear conscience. Your communication is decisive here.
  • Good results: For a long-term customer relationship, more than interpersonal relationships counts; your work must also meet the needed requirements.
  • Collaboration: In order to offer customers a feel-good experience, an open exchange and working together with the same ideas and goals is essential.

Successful cooperation also creates a platform for open communication. If, for example, the results are not what you wanted, you can always have the option of discussing the causes. In a spirit of partnership, you can acquire and a new strategy and thus finding a better solution together.

The question you should always ask yourself in order to manage customer relationships and keep them for many years, is: "How can I be helpful?” With tailor-made support, targeted content and an open ear for the challenges of your customers, you can continue the customer journey for many years to come. Take the opportunity to incorporate Inbound Marketing into your Content Strategy long after the sale is closed. By cultivating your customer relationships, your company will grow together with your customers' projects.

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