504: 4 Customer Retention Tactics for B2B Brands w/ Louis Gudema

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Louis Gudema, President of revenue + associates.

Are you struggling to come up with original content weekend and week out? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients, let them talk about what they care about most and never run out of content ideas again. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the be tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping betb executives achieve explosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get into the show. Before we get into today's episode, I wanted to share a podcast with you that I think you will get a ton of value from. If you enjoy be tob growth, you're definitely going to want to check out social business engine to a podcast from my good friend Bernie Borgeous, and Bernie was on B tob growth back in episode two hundred and fifty six. We also featured him in the content summit back in February. He is a wealth of knowledge. His show covers topics...

...like ABM, social selling, marketing technology. He's had a lot of the same guests that we've had on B tob growth. So the content is similar, but Bernie definitely has a unique way of engaging his guests and presenting content in a way that's different than what you're going to find here on BB growth. So you're already in the PODCAST APP. Just search social business engine, look for Bernie's podcast, gets subscribed, download a few episodes. Think you're going to get a ton of value from it. With that being said, let's get into today's interview. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We are here today with Louis Kadema. He is the president at revenue and Associates. Louis, how you doing today? Good. How are you doing, James? I am wonderful. So, Louis, I'm excited to chat with you today. We're going to be talking about customer retention and you're going to be sharing some tangible strategies tactics that companies can use to retain their existing customers. Before we get into that, I'd love for you to explain to our...

...listeners just a little about what you and your team up to at revenue and associates. Yeah, so what we do is we work with a companies in the number of different ways to help them grow their revenue and that includes what we call a marketing strategy sprint, which is a very fast three or four weeks print to help companies or product groups in larger companies develop and and create an actionable plan for their marketing. or it may be a fractional VP of marketing kind of role where we are on call a third or a quarter time to help companies with everything from their marketing programs and strategies to to choosing marketing technologies and and recommending vendors who can help them implement them and things of that sort. So it's really focused on marketing as a program that helps companies increased revenue. It so fluis in today's interview we're going to be focusing on some...

...specific tactics that companies can implement to increase their customer retention. Before we jump into that, let's just talk a little bit at a high level about this idea that you see a lot of companies putting too much emphasis on going out and trying to acquire new accounts. They're working on net new business. Talk to us about why that's detrimental. Well, it's not detrimental, but it's it's not taking full advantage of some of the opportunities that are their fastest and easiest paths to revenue growth. So one of the things I've developed is what I call the Bulls Eye Marketing Framework, and I'm not going to describe all of that right now. People can read about it, you know, on my blog at Luigo deem Ofcom. But at the center of the Framework is taking full advantage of a company's current assets, and at the center of that are your existing customers. And it's much faster and easier and more profitable to...

...grow existing accounts than it is to land new accounts. And yet you know, time after time you'll see companies that really are more focused on in terms of sales and marketing, on landing those new logos and not growing the existing accounts. Okay, so let's dive into the tactics, Louis, that can really help companies start to focus more on this, expanding their existing accounts as opposed to going after new accounts. WHAT'S THE FIRST TACTIC? You're in a share with us. So you know these are going to sound to people who have thought about this. These are going to sound like common sense. But you know, as they say, common sense is not so common and the first tactic that that you really have to embrace is to really talk to your customers, and I know from working with a lot of companies that they don't necessarily do that very well. Sometimes the CEEO will say we know what our customers think. We don't we don't have to do this, or they're frankly,...

...you know, perhaps worried about it. You know what they're going to find out if they do start talking to their customers. But if you have someone, whether it's on staff or a consultant WHO's working with you to try to get more objectivity, who's really doing a listening call with customers, you know your ten or fifteen most important customers, they're not trying to sell them anything. They Oh, they say at the very beginning, I'm just going to be listening. I have some questions I want to ask you. You know, let me give you an example of I was doing that for one company and of the customers that I interviewed was their largest customer, you know, very important customer, and yet I found out that that customer was very unhappy. I found out the specific reasons why and they told me that if things didn't change in six months they would be looking for a different vendor. This was new information for that customer. This was, you know, critical for the company, and yet they weren't aware of it. You know, one of the other things that's great about these calls is that, even though...

...they are listening calls, if your company is any good at all in terms of, you know, the services and products that you provide, ten to twenty percent of these calls the current customers will say, you know, we've been meaning to talk to you. Or do you do this and you get new business opportunities all the time with those existing accounts just from listening to them? You know, the other side the the is the CEO who said to me we shouldn't be talking to customers who are unhappy. Yeah, we know they're unhappy and it just reminds them that they're unhappy. But you know, Bill Gates once said you're most unhappy, customers are your greatest source of learning. So, you know, the very first thing you have to do is really listen to them and talk to them as a way of learning about what they want and how you can better satisfy them. So talking to your customers needs to be a huge priority. Do you have any thoughts, Lewis, on who within the organization who should be having those conversations? Is it the...

CEO Talking to the CEO of their customers is is it a move like that, or should it be someone from marketing that kind of owns that responsibility? What have you seen work best? Well, you need to talk to the people who are using your product and service. You know, the people who can say, yeah, we want to keep these guys and keep working with them, or we want to it's time to change vendors. So you know, if it's a big strategic relationship, then it may be CEO to CEEO, but in most cases you know, and you know James, there's there's endless types of companies and who they might be working with within a company. But it really is talking to the people who know what's going on day to day, who can say to the company this vendors doing a good job or not doing a good job, and you know they also can be involved in recommending more purchases from the cat. All right, so, beyond talking to customers, the second tactic that we're going to talk about, Louis has,...

...is creating a great customer experience. Can you expand on this ideal force of it. Sure, and this is something where, you know, talking to customers, you can start that in a few weeks and you can do those ten or fifteen initial interviews pretty quickly. Get a lot of feedback for reading a great customer experience. That's a lifetime effort and it you know, it may take six to twelve months just to start to really turn that around and improve the customer experience. But this involves analyzing all of the cut customer touch points, starting in the sales and marketing process. You know, how are you interacting with them? Is that what they need at that point? Are they satisfied with it? You know, what is the emotion that you're trying to create at that point? What is the emotion that they're feeling and and how can you improve that? You know, if you think of something as as simple as a pizza shop, you know, think about how you maybe order the pizza by phone or when you're in the shop. You know,...

...what are all the different flavors that they have? What are they cost? How does it come out? You know, what's the box like? What other products can you buy while you're there? You know, do they have drinks and and all the other things. Is A place clean. You know what happens when you're done eating there, when you take it out. I mean, a pizza shop is about as simple as it gets, and yet you have many, many touch points and ways that you might improve the experience. When you think about something that's really complex, like what a hospital does or what a beab software company does or, you know many other types of bigger companies, you know you're going to have to how do you eat an elephant? One Bite at a time. You're going to have to do it in small chunks and it's really critical to involve the customer facing employees in this process too, because they probably know more about what's working and what's not working for the customer than than anyone else in your company. Gotta all right,...

...so, Louis, we put a plane in a place to talk to our customers, where we're going to start looking at different elements of our service in the different touchpoints that we have with our customers and really start thinking strategically about how can we make every experience a customer has with our brand and incredible experience. This next tactic we're going to talk about is is customer focused content. Talk to us about this one. Yeah, and this is something that you hear from customers in these those listening conversations all the time. Again, if the company is too focused on landing new accounts and not focused enough on customers success, then all of their emails, all of their webinars, all of their content, or a very large amount of it, is going to be focused on the information that prospects need and it's not going to be focused on customer success as much as it should be. And obviously customer success is central...

...to retention and growth. So this is one of those places where you have to take your customers much deeper into your products and services and help them be successful with that. And this may involve, at the same time, segmenting customers and the way you need to segment you know, again, it's going to vary totally by what kind of company you are. It may be the size of a company that you're selling to, the industry that they're in, the location, the different roles or titles of people within those companies. You know, the the end users of software are going to need different information than the it people do. But these these segments have to be meaningful. You know, they can. You know, from an operational point of view you may split your sales into East Code, you know, eastern half of the country and western half of the country, but that probably isn't very important in terms of, you know, the customers and the information that they want,...

...but meaningful segments that really relate to different products, different services, different pricing and marketing, and then creating the content that's really going to help those customers succeed. You know, that's really critical. And and what companies see time after time when they have this kind of segmentation is they start to get much more engagement with their content and with their programs. So when they when they send out the emails with the invitations for the events and the webinars or information about new white papers or Ebooks, if they're really properly segmented in meaningful ways, they're going to get much higher open and download and sign up rates than when they're sending unsegmented content in a kind of, you know, just spray and pray fashion to everybody. And where do you think, Lewis? What do you think marketers struggle with? I mean it's why do you think so...

...many companies don't bother segmenting their customers. You know, they may not have simply that orientation. They may not be thinking in these kinds of ways. It really comes back, James, to understanding the customers and what they need and having enough conversations with them and information about them that you can meaningfully understand what they need and understand that people who are in hospitals need different information from us than people who are in universities or people who are in manufacturing companies. They may all be using our payroll software, but it may be a very different situation for and a very different set of challenges, and Soever only comes down to being close enough to your customer to understand what their needs and what the meaningful segments are. That makes sense. This has been this has been...

...really great. If there's somebody listening to this they want to stay connected with you or they want to learn more about your company, revenue and associate's, what's the best way for them to go about doing that? Well, I'm on twitter. Yeah, my handle is Luigadema. My blog is Luiga Damacom and revenue and Associates, where you can find a lot of useful information. A download is revenue associates. That bids. So any of those ways. Would love to hear from people, have their feedback on some of these things that we talked about today, James, and continue the conversation. They're awesome, wonderful. Louis will, thank you so much for your time today. This has been fantastics. Are really appreciate it. Thank you, James. If you're a BEDB marketer, we want to feature you on sites like the Huffington post social media examiner and chief marketer. Every week we send that a question related to be to be marketing. We use the responses to those questions to fuel the content we write for really popular websites. So head over to sweetphish Mediacom slash questions and sign up today. Thank you so much for listening.

Until next time.

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