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Spelunking for Sales: Don’t Forget to Mine Your Customers

Oct 25, 2016

When you’re contemplating annual revenue, it’s easy to remember your prospects, they’re at the forefront of your mind. But have you considered your existing customer base? Statistically speaking, this is the most likely revenue stream your sales department will overlook.

The first and foremost reason to contact an existing customer is to obtain new sales. But often, sales reps have some idea of whether or not the company is in the market for new products or services.  If they aren’t, this is one of the first calls your rep will likely postpone, and that’s understandable. After all, they have immediate financial goals that have to be attained.

But new sales aren’t the ONLY reason to contact your customers. Existing customers have more to offer, including but not limited to: 

  1. Referrals to New Customers: Ask for referrals. According to the Dale Carnegie Group, a full 91% of customers are happy to provide referrals, but a mere 11% of sales reps ask for one. A prospect that comes via the validation of an existing customer is infinitely more likely to close
  2. Case Studies for Content Marketing: Your customer can’t think of anyone to refer, but emphasizes how much they LOVE your company? Great! How about they do a case study of how your product or service helped them, instead?  Because that would really, really help you, and spare them the hassle of reference calls.
  3. Customer Insight  Regarding Your Products or Services: Perhaps your customer is more circumspect, possibly even downright cagey. This may be a great time to open up a broader conversation: how might you improve the products and services you already provide? What could you be doing better, in their eyes? This will help improve not only your relationship with the customer you’re talking to, but potentially all your customers. And occasionally, it just might save your company an account that was thinking of leaving.
  4. Insight Regarding Your Customer’s Industry: Another great question to ask is whether your customer is excited about the coming year. Why, or why not? Is there a merger or acquisition in the offing they find threatening? Or a new regulation that will affect profits in their industry? Allowing a customer to talk about the internal workings of their industry can allow your company to become predictive, because you have time to come up with either a solution or adjust your revenue goals within the segment.
  5. Verify Contact Information: If nothing else, this touch can ensure that your marketing database stays current, and that alone is vital to your company’s ongoing success.

Talking to your customers will always reaffirm the relationship you share as partners in business. Customers usually appreciate the contact, and even if you don’t gain immediate revenue, referrals, or insights from the call, you have given them positive and thoughtful attention that will likely be rewarded in the near future when the opportunity presents itself, because you’ve reminded them you exist and you care.

Want to ensure you’re doing all of the above? Start by identifying which accounts have the most potential. Consider dividing the workload for the accounts with the most potential between your customer service and sales departments. If customer service is too busy, you can always engage a third party to help with the market research. Finally, you’ll probably want to figure out in advance who will be contacted, how often, and in what fashion: over the phone, or at a sit down meeting. 

Need additional help? Contact us, we’re happy to do so. And happy prospecting.

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