As a marketer—no matter your industry—you’re in the business of people. Customer relationships are key to successful marketing in any organization. Particularly in B2B marketing, customer relationships can span many purchase cycles and require long-term care and maintenance.
Once customers have made their first purchase, it’s important to keep them coming back with effective and personalized marketing. It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current one, according to Forrester Research.
You can keep your best customers in your orbit with account-based marketing (ABM), which is all about giving your high-value customers extra attention and treating them as individuals.
Read on to learn how to keep your best customers coming back for more, and how marketing automation makes ABM a piece of cake.
Know who’s who
To nurture your best customers, you first have to know who they are. You can identify high-value customers and promising leads with automated lead scoring powered by artificial intelligence.
When you rank your best customers, you shouldn’t just rank who spends the most money with you; you need to think about engagement and potential for future spend, too. To make this complex ranking easier, you can use AI to measure engagement history, behavior patterns, and even predict future behaviors.
Once you identify who matters most to your business, you’ll be able to provide the VIP service they deserve.
Keep a unified view
Customer profiles can—and should—be complex. There’s a lot more you need to know about your customers than just their company, email address, and budget. Account-based marketing helps sales and marketing teams keep a 360-degree view of every customer so you can see customers as the individuals they are and treat them accordingly.
With a unified view, you can get insight into all interactions customers have with your brand, and then use that information to develop consistent communications for that customer from different segments of your company—always staying on message and in sync.
Bonus tip: Know when to cool it! With unified customer profiles, marketing, sales AND service teams can see a customer’s open service issues, and set up automatic suspension of marketing messages until the issue is resolved. Overeager marketing can seem tone-deaf and intrusive when a customer is experiencing an issue with your product and is trying to get help.
Like all relationships, customer relationships grow and become deeper over time. Use marketing automation to offer customers well-timed opportunities to take their relationship with your brand to the next level.
Consider personalized emails explaining how they may benefit from a product expansion, or spark a conversation regarding long-term business planning and how your company can help.
Much of the upsell magic depends on timing. Consider using an artificial intelligence tool like Pardot Einstein to figure out when customers are most likely to upgrade or expand their purchase. Then, use those optimal windows to grow key accounts.
Make it personal
Getting a handwritten letter in the mail makes you feel special: You can tell that the sender took the time to personalize and tailor its content. Whether through snail mail or digital platforms like email, hyper-personalized communication goes the extra mile to tell your customers you care about them as individuals.
To nurture your relationships, go beyond what’s expected from typical sales and marketing reps. A cookie-cutter marketing email starting with “Dear %%FIRST_NAME%%,” just doesn’t cut it. A strong ABM strategy will help you take personalization to the next level by considering each high-value customer as a market of one.
Automate and scale
We get it. Marketing to each customer individually sounds daunting, right?
It doesn’t have to be! With marketing automation, you can scale your ABM to heights previously unknown. The right automation tool can create hyper-detailed customer profiles, create and deliver personalized content, and run detailed reports—all with a few clicks.
With marketing automation carrying out the details, you’re free to focus on the human connections that drive your customer relationships.
This article first appeared in www.marketingprofs.com
Guest Author: Salesforce Pardot is smarter marketing automation on the world’s #1 CRM. With Pardot, B2B marketers can find and nurture leads, close more deals, and maximize ROI. Pardot gives you the power to engage with quality leads at every stage in the cycle, so you’ll never let a cold lead slip through the cracks. You’ll be able to build intelligent nurture campaigns and smoothly pass leads between Marketing and Sales. And with Pardot’s data analytics dashboards, you’ll always know how your marketing impacts your business.