Treat your prospects like customers and your customers like family….
Converting leads to customers isn’t simple. At a high level, it starts with a lead, engaging them, nurturing them along the way until ultimately they buy from you and become a customer. And then onto the next one. Next the shift is getting them onboarded and delivering on what they purchased to earn their trust and hopefully with great results and service, they remain a lifelong customer. Converting leads to be “loyal” customers is whole other thing. It isn’t easy and takes extraordinary focus, commitment and intention and starts with how you treat them as a lead. Consider treating prospects as your next lifelong customer. Give them a purview as to what being part of your customer family would be like. Invite them to events where other customers are participating, presenting and networking so they see firsthand how your installed base interacts with your company and one another. Share successes others are having and the company they would keep by being a part of your customer community.
I recently came across an article 7 Ideas to Get Loyal Customers and Drive Deeper Engagement and one of those seven ideas cited was about giving your customers the spotlight. At TechTarget, we strongly encourage this practice and invite our customers (and their customers) to take center stage and share insights, perspectives and let us and their peers know what they think, what they’re doing, and how they’re measuring it.
At our recent Boston ROI Summit we hosted multiple customer led sessions where we gave our customers the floor to share with other technology marketers their journey they have had as a TechTarget customer. They addressed hurdles they had to overcome and mindsets they had to change to try new programs. It required testing and measuring and reporting quantitative outcomes. Specifically, the VP of Marketing from Moka5 talked about the integrated marketing mix they used combining demand, brand and sales enablement through testing, measuring and adjusting to reach the quickest path to Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified Leads. The Director of Products and Solutions Marketing at Veracode presented how they uncovered a large scale opportunity by tracking activity intelligence through the lead cycle and across their CRM system. Ultimately a lead that was categorized as “not interested” and eventually was re-classified as a $1MM opportunity. While the discovery in of in itself was impressive, the underlying message was how it strengthened marketing’s credibility with the investments they were making and got them more aligned with sales.
Another way to build these relationships is listening and learning to what they’re telling you and with actions they’re taking. It helps make you better at delivering what they need and in improving future experiences so they remain a customer over the long run. Customer trust takes a long time to earn but can be lost or broken in with a single tweet, post or comment. Be sure you are where conversations are happening – tweeting, blogging, and posting and listening so you can lead the conversation where you want. In the end customers appreciate genuine interactions with the companies they do business with. It’s also an opportunity to keep the conversations going and to respond or engage in relevant ways.
You get the point, engagement isn’t a one size fits all methodology or a onetime thing. It requires constant care and feeding, surveying and soliciting feedback, personalization and then acting upon it. It’s about continuous interactions staying innovative, fresh and ahead of the curve to engage them in new and different ways. Building loyalty takes time and effort but will make a difference if they stay or stray. What starts with a lead could end up as a lifelong customer so why not help take it where you want it go.