Although sales methodologies and salespeople’s roles have evolved over the years, the importance of connection and engagement in sales has remained the same.
Teams that devote most of their energy to developing and deepening the bonds they establish with their customers differentiate themselves from competitors by sustaining long-lasting customer relationships.
Sales teams often hyperfocus on customer acquisition in order to increase sales while overlooking the importance of account management and retaining customers, which are vital elements for sustainable growth.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of focusing on customer retention strategies to achieve long-term sales success.
What Does Customer Retention Mean?
Customer retention refers to a business’s ability to keep existing customers and continue to generate revenue from them by strengthening relationships, building trust, and creating mutual value.
According to Forbes, the probability of closing a sale with an existing customer is 60-70%, while it is only 5%-20% for a new customer.
Although maintaining current relationships with clients may seem simple at first glance, meeting the expectations and needs of existing customers can be as complex as acquiring new customers.
According to Salesforce, 67% of clients claim their standards for good experiences are extremely high.
Therefore, companies aiming to effectively strengthen relationships with their existing customers must create service-oriented account management units, whose responsibility is to develop account plans specific to the objectives and challenges of clients.
However, for all these strategies to be successful, they need to be supported by a team culture focused on trust and mutual value.
Advantages of Prioritising Retention During Tough Times
According to the Harvard Business Review, acquiring new customers costs 5 to 25 times more than retaining existing ones.
With the resources you will save by focusing on business with your existing customers, you can invest in different channels your team needs.
But beyond that, the real potential of retention lies in building deep relationships with your customers, enabling you to do business again and again, and more effectively each time.
Especially in challenging times, it is critical to maintain and nurture meaningful relationships with existing customers, as people are naturally more reluctant to trust during times of uncertainty.
Let’s delve deeper into the various benefits of customer retention with effective account management strategies in difficult times.
Benefits of Deep Relationships
If the sales representatives on your team constantly strengthen relationships with their customers, they create the opportunity to become trusted advisors.
A trusted advisor is someone the client will proactively go to for their opinion on issues because they value their insight and opinion on the matter. As the relationship progresses, clients gradually feel more comfortable and open to expressing their opinions.
The more a salesperson understands their customer’s business, including pain points, objectives, values and expectations, the better the opportunity they create to develop solutions that accurately meet the desired outcomes that are being sought.
Customers who feel their needs and values are understood and fully trust your team members will be willing to do business with them again.
This creates mutual benefit by increasing your reputation and clients satisfaction. Seeing that your solutions are constantly improving and their business success is increasing, customers dare to raise their goals and, naturally, their investments in your solutions.
Creating Brand Advocates
According to Gartner, when a customer gains value from their communication with a sales team, they are 97% likely to share it by word of mouth.
Your customers become your organisation’s brand advocates by building trust and providing exceptional service. When they are approached by people in their network for advice on solving challenges, by sharing their knowledge, they will actively promote your organisation to people with similar pain points.
For long-term growth, teams must create a high-quality customer base with the reputation and trust they’ve gained through relationships.
Effective Strategies to Increase Customer Retention
Sales teams and individuals that prioritise the needs of their customers beyond simply making a sale can differentiate themselves.
The following tips can help your team understand what they should focus on.
1- Make Trust-Based Relationship Building a Team Culture
Building and improving honest and trusting relationships with customers requires consistency. Customers can immediately sense if a relationship is only about closing a deal.
Sales team leaders must ensure that each team member demonstrates consistent and effective communication at every relationship stage. This builds trust between customers and your organisation, not just specific team members.
2- Committing to Customer Service
Developing customer service with continuous communication and responsiveness is key to making solutions valuable to customers over a long period of time.
Ensure your sales team regularly schedules time to respond to customer emails or calls. This helps your team focus and prioritise while creating healthy habits over time.
So even if they’re travelling or away for work, your team can keep your customers engaged with small details, like on-hold messages. This helps your team build a lasting and solid reputation.
3- Find Ways to Get Feedback
Feedback is critical to sales and improving customer service. So make sure your team finds ways to get feedback from your customers.
Online forms or NPS email surveys are an excellent way to ensure this. Or your sales representatives can directly ask customers for more transparent and precise feedback.
4- Strive to Earn Loyalty
Loyal customers are your most reliable partners in the sustainable growth of your organisation. In sales, you gain loyalty by constantly reinforcing your relationship with customers with the principle of creating mutual value.
Ensure that your team has enough time and energy to analyse the unique needs of all customers, strengthen their relationships, and create tailor-made solutions. This requires time and effort management.
You can support this with special offers or loyalty programs. But they are only effective when you focus entirely on your customers’ needs and continually add value to them.
After they’ve done the hard work of securing the business, encourage your team to immerse themselves in the customers’ business network and eventually create various renewal and sales opportunities.
Increase Your Team’s Retention Rate With Sales Training
Sales teams must have key account management skills they can rely on to gain trust and loyalty through the relationships they create with clients.
Investing in sales training, especially in difficult times, unlocks the growth mindset of your sales team, training them to recognise the most effective sales opportunities. And often, these possibilities arise from relationships with existing customers.
LSOS sales training helps your sales team create customer-focused account management strategies by providing essential sales skills and a solid mindset.
Our expert coaches also help you develop your sales team’s understanding of modern account planning through instructor-led workshops.
You can always contact us if you need further information on increasing customer retention rate and account management efficiency. We are more than happy to help!