Marketing automation improves customer engagement

Many marketers are aware that it costs more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. In fact, returning clients may spend more than new ones because they have greater trust in your brand. Even though connecting with new customers should be a priority, it’s important not to forget existing clients because they could provide valuable sales opportunities, especially when it comes to upselling and cross-selling. An online marketing system can help you connect with former customers so they will think of you when it’s time to upgrade.

You may think that winning customers over the first time is the entire battle, but this isn’t the case. The B2B sales cycle has changed a great deal in just a few years, and firms who aren’t prepared for these shifts will have more difficulty retaining clients. If you’re trying to reduce your marketing spend, this can be detrimental. Returning customers don’t have an acquisition cost. One trend that B2B brands particularly need to pay attention to is the increasingly social nature of customer behavior. While you may think social media is more relevant in the B2C realm, these patterns are influencing B2B buyers.

Social nature of B2B buying can provide keys to customer engagement

The advent of social media means customers are more likely to trust their colleagues than information brands put out about themselves, according to a blog post for Salesforce by Kevin Baldacci. In the past, this meant people would directly ask their friends or peers for recommendations, but social media has amplified this and allowed buyers to reach colleagues in different regions. Baldacci cited Econsultancy research that found 88 percent of consumers are influenced by online comments from previous customers.

This should be a concern for B2B brands because unhappy clients are more likely to tell people about their experiences than satisfied customers. American Express revealed highly social customers will tell 42 other people about their dissatisfaction. Depending on how many peers a B2B buyer is connected with in the industry, this could have a significant impact on the success of your future Internet lead generation campaigns.

However, social media may prove to be the way to connect with previous customers. Buyers are more likely to purchase from brands that don’t ignore customer comments and complaints on social channels, Baldacci wrote. In particular, if people comment about a product they bought from your company, you should respond. Even if a client is having difficulties, demonstrating a commitment to customers can help build trust and ensure the relationship continues. Social networks are an easy way to connect with your target audience, and they can help you stay in touch with previous clients.

Taking a customer-centered approach can increase engagement

Marketing automation is a vital way to collect and analyze behavioral data so your sales representatives can make more meaningful connections with your previous clients. Engagement is discussed at great length, but some companies may not be approaching it in the right way, Stephanie Miller wrote for ClickZ. Buyers have higher expectations than ever before, and they want personalized attention from brands. Customers expect to be rewarded for their loyalty.

To make personal, meaningful connections with your customers, you need a solution to manage the large amounts of data that each interaction generates. While marketing automation can help you in this pursuit, you can experience the best results when this platform is integrated with your customer relationship management software. Most sales professionals are already familiar with CRM systems and use them to keep track of each interaction with prospects and existing clients. However, some reps are not as regimented about adding call or meeting information into the CRM, and this can result in missed opportunities. This is why marketing automation can be an excellent complement to your CRM system. These platforms boost visibility into the buying cycle, which allow your sales reps to take notice when previous customers start to show signs that they are researching product offerings for their next purchase.

Boosting post-sales engagement could come down to how your salespeople close deals. Your employees can’t treat the sale as the end of the interaction. It may be worthwhile to thank customers after they purchase, Miller said. This can help foster the future relationship, and the message can be easily sent with marketing automation. You can assess details of customer interaction to get a better idea of engagement and how clients want to be contacted. This information can be used to refine how your sales employees approach prospects and previous customers for better results.

As the B2B sales cycle continues to evolve, firms need solutions that allow them to proactively engage clients and encourage repeat business. Marketing automation can help you analyze customer data and send personalized communications.