Client relationships, like personal relationships, are constantly evolving. What meets a client’s needs today may not meet their needs in the future. In our personal relationships we are able to analyze daily clues like facial expressions or verbal feedback which we can use to measure our current level performance and we make adjustments accordingly.
Sales teams on the other hand, often analyze their performance by attempting to measure client satisfaction through check-in calls. The downfall of periodic check-in calls is that they usually don’t gather enough information, aren’t frequent enough and often aren’t at ‘the right time’.
Failing to collect data from customers may lead to that ‘How did this happen all of a sudden?’ moment when the client decides to take their business elsewhere. Rather than assigning a salesperson to spend 100% of their time with one customer to gather continuous feedback on business performance, savvy businesses gather data from other sources to determine the probability of future behavior.
To make sure you don’t fall victim of the ever dreaded ‘break-up’, leverage your data and start analyzing and adjusting to the health of your relationship.
A great deal of insight can be drawn through billing behavior. What are your customers billing this month compared to last month? What about compared to last year?
What – Find clients with similar behavior or attributes and put them into categorized groups.
How – Although there are a number of other ways to achieve this outcome depending on the business, l have found a great deal of success by having monthly client buckets based on percentage of revenue change. This allows the sales team to take action on the current client list to change future behavior.
Each group may trigger a different sales action depending on the strategy of the organization.
What – a leading indicator is a common trait that customers display before ‘firing’ your organization. Different organizations have different leading indicators, however, a common indicator is revenue.
How - Take a list of all of the clients that you no longer do business with, notice any patterns? Of course. You used to get revenue from these clients and now you no longer work with them. Line up the customers on the same time frame T (date lost) going back several months from the point in which they were lost.
Do you notice any similarities? Every business that I’ve worked with can look back and pinpoint the time a customer started using or ‘testing’ out the competition. Customers lower the risk of switching by having a trial period with the competitor. Hopefully you can spot the ‘trial period’ through analyzing customer behavior.
There could be a number of other reasons that customer revenue goes down, it should be a trigger to call the customer and perform a ‘relationship’ check.
What – Re-engaging clients is the act of winning back the business.
How - This can take the form of a sales campaign, re-establishing the ground rules for the relationship or solving the clients’ changing needs.
In the online world re-engaging customers is both an art and a science. I’ve seen great success with campaigns that target a group of clients exhibiting similar behavior.
Although every technique does not work all of the time, you can win back the relationship and impact future client behavior. To ensure that the re-engagement campaign was successful, it is important to have a group of customers that are left alone. Compare the two groups and note any differences in behavior.
This article focuses on changing revenue over time, but it is just the tip of the iceberg in the field of customer analytics. Using new technology and analysis, other data sources can be pulled into a unified dashboard giving salespeople a better understanding of the competition and their customers’ business.
This enables salespeople to learn more about the relationship and the motivation behind actions. Analysis is powerful, but it is the actions that the analysis inspires that make the difference. On a daily basis, much like in a personal relationship, you can arm yourself with the continuous feedback tools to foster a positive relationship and change future behavior for the better of your organization.