In my last post, I talked about the importance of establishing a consistent, agreed-upon structure to ensure your organization can successfully build and grow client engagement programs. You are ready to get started if you’ve done the following:
- Created a client taxonomy
- Aligned roles and responsibilities to manage the onboarding process from closed – won opportunity to client
- Developed a matrix to prioritize your clients within your target market, established lifetime value quadrants, and projected share of wallet growth
- Outlined a means for customer listening
Building out this foundation gives your organization the ability to understand where your customers are in their lifecycle and if they are on track for long-term loyalty and maximum revenue. You’ve spent precious time and money acquiring these clients. Now, let’s make sure you have the programs to measure your client engagement and help you retain, grow, and establish loyalty.
Remember our ACME Demand Factory™, the demand model that helps build your organizational alignment on acquisition, conversion, measurement, and expansion? I want to make sure you have the right information to help you master Client Expansion – the “E” in our ACME Demand Factory. I highly recommend client lifecycle and scoring models to help you expand your client relationships and achieve the full potential of their lifetime value.
I’ll take you through 3 priority best practice programs: Onboarding, Adoption, and Loyalty:
#1 – Onboarding
Your customers are special, so recognize them and handle them with care. You’ve spent significant program dollars getting them through the funnel – keep that momentum going and create a seamless onboarding program. You need to be tracking engagement on the path to loyalty. Here are a few easy steps to monitor and score the initial client lifecycle journey:
- Have a clear process in place to ensure you keep a pulse on the transition. I’m sure you’ve experienced that very awkward handover from sales, if there even is a handover. Ink is dry and poof – you’re on your own. Go figure it out. Map out every detail that you know a customer should have and engage accordingly so that all teams can provide a consistent experience. Make sure your client taxonomy is in place and leveraged. You need to segment existing clients from new clients and understand where they fall in your prioritized account tiers.
- Setup measures for successful onboarding. Something like R.A.G. = Red, Amber, and Green, or A, B, C, D, F – whatever works for you. Just use a simple way for everyone in the organization to quickly identify if clients are engaging as expected in their new relationship with you or if you start to see potential for issues. This scoring model is a proactive tool that gets you ahead of any problems – daily visibility into your client score gives you insight into priority focus areas and any needed high-touch client outreach.
- Learn from your churn. It happens to all of us. Customers leave. What you can do to optimize your onboarding process and maximize the retention rate is to dig in and understand what happened with the customers you lost. Ask. We know customer acquisition is far costlier than customer retention – so do whatever it takes to find areas where you need to improve early on to make the onboarding experience as seamless as possible.
#2 – Adoption
In the first year, establish the next phase in your client lifecycle by outlining a path that ensures they understand and maximize the solutions and services they were sold on and that they are consuming appropriately:
- Deepen awareness. As net new or existing leads from your client accounts engage with you, reach out to let them know you have an established relationship. The broader and deeper reach you can establish with your clients, the greater potential you have for adoption and loyalty. More often the wider client organizations are not aware of an established relationship and your ability to bridge those gaps can go a long way.
- Give them the tools they need for success. Setup an ongoing campaign that keeps your clients up to date on industry tips and best practices based on your insight and similar client experiences. Set the stage for what to expect and how they can stay ahead of the game. Trusting in your ability to keep their business driving the results they need sets the stage for wide adoption and guaranteed renewals.
- Measure behavior against target adoption rates. Mimic your onboarding-scoring model to keep track of low performers and develop programs to proactively engage. Establish regular check-ins (with all levels of performers) to capture and integrate feedback.
#3 – Loyalty
If you’ve started to move towards an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy, or if you’ve mastered the prioritization of your target market, that strategy doesn’t stop once you’ve acquired a client. In fact, you’ve already done the foundational work in mastering the lead acquisition, qualification, and conversion process. You are well-versed in the demand model, lead scoring, and nurturing within the funnel to help identify and accelerate prospects and target accounts demonstrating “likelihood to buy” or “predictive behavior.”
The same methodology applies to your client funnel, engagement, and supporting programs. Client Lifetime Value (CLV) or Loyalty Programs can be architected in exactly the same manner as your demand models. We look at it over a much longer period of time, but the goals are the same:
- Demonstrate continued value to secure ongoing and high retention rates (avoid customer churn)
- Execute timely and relevant client engagement programs to maximize your share of wallet
- Build a relationship that earns you loyalty and advocacy
Expanding your share of wallet with your customers is all about maintaining programs that let you listen and respond to your clients. It is relationship building. You’ve set the stage with seamless onboarding and adoption programs, and now you need to continue to build out that customer journey.
- Widely share client lifetime value. So many times, this concept is developed and maintained without being socialized throughout the organization. Create and leverage fields in your CRM and marketing automation systems for visibility, segmentation, and status.
- Capture feedback (listen). Setup quarterly or, at a minimum, yearly check-ins that allow you to demonstrate your performance and value. Outline a standard process and questionnaire across your organization to benchmark how your customers feel about you and if you are on the right path to capture the projected CLV.
- Work together; it’s a relationship. One of the most successful ways you can drive long-term loyalty is through customer advocacy programs. Build a target list of your top-tier clients. Include those that are top performers and those you need to work on as well as a few from your mid- to lower tiers – you should include prospects as well. Invite them to a forum for ongoing thought leadership and innovation. They can share their best practices, learn from one another, and provide valuable insight for you. This establishes a framework for you to work together instead of in a silo.
Once you focus more attention on your clients, you’ll begin to uncover valuable insight that drives optimization across your entire funnel. Client lifecycle management provides numerous benefits, and creating onboarding, adoption, and loyalty programs helps you achieve:
- Accelerated growth
- Increased revenue from known client base (easier than net new)
- Customer loyalty and advocacy
Need help building and evaluating your customer engagement programs? We can help! Drop us a line and let’s start engaging.
Next topics in the client engagement series will focus on:
- Client Engagement and Nurture Programs for Retention and Growth
- Client Measurement and Lifecycle Reporting
Renee Gellatly brings over 20 years of industry insight to the DemandGen consulting team. She’s had the benefit of working with DemandGen as a client and now provides modern marketing thought leadership and expertise on sophisticated demand management strategies and solutions to our clients. Renee has worked with global marketing and sales teams from industry pioneers Oracle, Adobe, Cisco, NetApp and GE to understand their complex business objectives and to build out frameworks and programs that optimize technology for accelerated pipeline management and evolving customer retention and growth. She has a true passion for marketing technology and enjoys working with clients to develop a roadmap for continued measured success.