This blog article is part of a multi-part series focused on B2B customer retention, customer growth, and customer experience.
Ever notice that in most B2B companies, Marketing tends to over-focus on acquiring prospects and under-focus on retaining and growing customers? I have. And this has never made a lot of sense to me.
I’m writing this article because I am convinced it is way past time for B2B Marketers to get in the customer game in a no-kidding, strategic, real-deal way. Right now.
Here’s why. Retaining and growing customers has always been important, of course. But it’s even more true, and urgent, than ever before. Here are four reasons why:
- Recurring revenue models. Yes software is eating the world. And so are recurring revenue models (see Scott Galloway’s cutesy term for a value-creating juggernaut, the rundle, for an example). And guess what that means? Retention is the new growth. That’s what Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen, said back in March 2019 when he stepped onto the stage at Adobe Experience. And then he offered this sobering piece of advice: “If you are not retaining your customers, even at current revenue rates, then you have to run faster and faster and faster.”
- The pandemic has changed how our customers think. The global pandemic disrupted norms, accelerated digital experiences, softened and shifted brand loyalty, hastened digital transformation, changed the way we market and sell, pulled brands deeper into social issues, wreaked havoc with supply chains, and threw some industries into steep decline, while throwing others into crazy growth. THE POINT: Change is afoot, y’all. And if you think your company is immune to change and disruption (and opportunity), think again.
- Commoditization. The uncomfortable truth is that most offerings, in most categories—including yours—are very similar. I know this hurts our egos, but customers perceive most offerings as fungible commodities. Gartner research shows that more than half of B2B buyers have a really hard time distinguishing and choosing among vendors. This has been made even more true by decades of B2B product development teams playing me-too-competitor-following, and B2B brands being boring and safe to the point of being nondescript. And even when one company pushes ahead of the pack by creating a truly better mousetrap, it is often short-lived because of hyper competition.
- Hyper competition. Because the competition is stronger and better – most companies have more competitors, more competitors focused on differentiated niches, and some of them are learning better approaches for acquiring, retaining and growing customers.
OK. Hopefully that gives you a shot in the arm (pardon the vaccine pun — #dadjoke) for why you should prioritize customer retention and growth—right now—at your company.
Next up in our customer retention and growth series… I’ll share some research that drives this nail further into the wood: it was always a good idea to focus on retaining and growing your customers!
Until then, reach out to us if you’re ready to take your customer game to the next level..