Most marketers we work with focus on the front end of the sales pipeline – bringing new prospects to their companies for their sales team to close. While this is an important and challenging job, it’s also essential for sales and marketing teams to consider all phases of the customer’s journey – with a goal of maximizing overall customer lifetime value (LTV). Because when LTV rates rise, business growth follows. (See my previous LTV blog here)
The Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) breaks down the customer engagement journey into four primary steps: land, adopt, expand and renew (LAER). In my experience, this approach aligns well with the B2B sales model, and we advise our clients to weave their email marketing into the LAER process to fuel sales success. Here are a few tips from our team:
- Land: Because acquiring new customers is often the lifeblood of growing B2B companies, the “land” phase remains one of the most critical stages of sales. It’s where we at OMI focus our offerings and offer the most value -- and we know from experience that email campaigns during the Land phase need to contain valuable, relevant and credible information in order to be effective. The goal of these B2B campaigns should be to assist your prospects in overcoming their most pressing business challenges, relative to your solutions and offerings. If you take this approach, they will begin to view your company as a trusted resource when it becomes time for them to make a purchase.
- Adopt: Once the sale is completed, the traditional business approach has been to cease engagement and go back to focusing on the “land” stage. But this is a costly mistake: ensuring that your customers properly adopt your solution and become successful at its use should be viewed as an equally important step in the customer lifecycle. The reality is, if your customer has trouble implementing, fully understanding or even effectively using their newly acquired solution, they may become frustrated to the point of no longer using it. From there, it snowballs: they may not recommend your solution to their peers and may go so far as to even seek an alternative solution from your competitor.
Email can play a powerful role in turning any potential negatives into a positive by communicating training opportunities, best practices, tips and tricks, and examples of successful use to inspire your customers to get the most out of your solution.
- Expand: All activities designed to encourage your customers to expand their relationship with you is part of this stage, from cross-selling additional add-on solutions to upselling additional products or services, such as support, maintenance or warranties. Of course, all of this and more can be communicated to your customers via email, including special offers, customer-only promotions or examples of how other customers achieved greater value through complementary purchases. As you invest more to ensure your customers’ success, you will become more in tune with other, related ways that you can support them, further expanding the relationship – and revenue spent – with your company.
- Renew: The final engagement step involves igniting your customers’ interest in renewing their business with your company. This could include buying your product again, renewing their license agreement or subscription, or perhaps even replacing their previous purchase with your latest version. Of course, email can lead the charge here, reminding customers when their product is about to expire, provide special offers for them to renew, or provide early insight into newly released versions.
By using email in alignment with the LAER stages, businesses have the opportunity to create long-lasting relationships with their customers and, ultimately, create greater sales growth. I think you’ll agree -- there’s simply no down-side to this approach.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI by targeting your best prospects – including top-level executives -- and, ultimately, converting more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.