05 Dec AMA Breakfast Brief: “”The Funnel after the Funnel: Why Post-Sale Marketing Matters for Client Success” by Amy Mengel
At the October AMA Breakfast Brief, I discussed how the emerging function of Client Success, when paired with effective marketing strategies, creates a new, post-sale funnel highlighted by four key stages: adoption, retention, expansion, and advocacy. When marketers understand this new funnel and how to activate clients at each stage of it, the result is better customers who stay with your brand longer, spend more money with you, and become a key source of referrals.
Though much of my presentation focused on my own experience successfully growing a software-as-a-service company, Client Success marketing principles are applicable to nearly any industry or organization.
At the adoption phase, the goal is to activate new customers and get them to an “AHA!” moment as quickly as possible -- that feeling when they’ve just seen or experienced the value from your product that they were promised in the sales process.
During the retention stage, marketers must work to constant remind customers of the value they’re receiving. Email marketing that highlights the individual client’s results, coupled with high-touch account management check-in calls, works well here. Constant client education is key: how can your product or service make their life better or easier?
In the expansion stage, marketing materials should shift from education back to a sales focus. Segmentation of customers is also crucial. Which of them are ready to upgrade or add-on new features? How can you “close” these customers through your marketing emails to get more revenue out of them?
Finally, the advocacy stage of this new funnel is an opportunity to turn your best customers into those who not only quietly enjoy and renew your product, but who tell others about it. Constantly run campaigns that ask for testimonials -- ask for them at conferences and events, after a positive customer service interaction, or as a part of a concentrated campaign (it’s amazing what people will do for a nice t-shirt or Starbucks gift card). Use your customers to tell the story of your product whenever possible, through case studies and more.
Client success is quickly emerging as the third revenue function of a business, after sales and then marketing. It’s five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, and the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent (versus 5-20 percent for new customers). Developing marketing strategies to align with this new funnel and focus on existing customers is an effective way to retain and increase the value of your customer base.