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 withoriginal 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 ofcontent ideas again. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to thebe 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 cometo the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's getinto the show. Before we get into today's episode, I wanted to sharea 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 checkout social business engine to a podcast from my good friend Bernie Borgeous, andBernie 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 awealth of knowledge. His show covers topics...

...like ABM, social selling, marketingtechnology. He's had a lot of the same guests that we've had on Btob growth. So the content is similar, but Bernie definitely has a unique wayof engaging his guests and presenting content in a way that's different than whatyou'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 valuefrom it. With that being said, let's get into today's interview. Welcomeback 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 betalking about customer retention and you're going to be sharing some tangible strategies tactics thatcompanies can use to retain their existing customers. Before we get into that, I'dlove for you to explain to our...

...listeners just a little about what youand your team up to at revenue and associates. Yeah, so what wedo is we work with a companies in the number of different ways to helpthem 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 productgroups 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 areon call a third or a quarter time to help companies with everything from theirmarketing programs and strategies to to choosing marketing technologies and and recommending vendors who canhelp them implement them and things of that sort. So it's really focused onmarketing as a program that helps companies increased revenue. It so fluis in today'sinterview we're going to be focusing on some...

...specific tactics that companies can implement toincrease their customer retention. Before we jump into that, let's just talk alittle bit at a high level about this idea that you see a lot ofcompanies 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 someof the opportunities that are their fastest and easiest paths to revenue growth. Soone 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 canread 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 currentassets, and at the center of that are your existing customers. And it'smuch faster and easier and more profitable to...

...grow existing accounts than it is toland new accounts. And yet you know, time after time you'll see companies thatreally are more focused on in terms of sales and marketing, on landingthose new logos and not growing the existing accounts. Okay, so let's diveinto the tactics, Louis, that can really help companies start to focus moreon 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 knowthese are going to sound to people who have thought about this. These aregoing 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 haveto embrace is to really talk to your customers, and I know from workingwith a lot of companies that they don't necessarily do that very well. Sometimesthe CEEO will say we know what our customers think. We don't we don'thave 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 talkingto their customers. But if you have someone, whether it's on staff ora consultant WHO's working with you to try to get more objectivity, who's reallydoing a listening call with customers, you know your ten or fifteen most importantcustomers, they're not trying to sell them anything. They Oh, they sayat the very beginning, I'm just going to be listening. I have somequestions I want to ask you. You know, let me give you anexample of I was doing that for one company and of the customers that Iinterviewed was their largest customer, you know, very important customer, and yet Ifound out that that customer was very unhappy. I found out the specificreasons why and they told me that if things didn't change in six months theywould be looking for a different vendor. This was new information for that customer. This was, you know, critical for the company, and yet theyweren't aware of it. You know, one of the other things that's greatabout these calls is that, even though...

...they are listening calls, if yourcompany is any good at all in terms of, you know, the servicesand products that you provide, ten to twenty percent of these calls the currentcustomers 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 withthose existing accounts just from listening to them? You know, the other side thethe is the CEO who said to me we shouldn't be talking to customerswho are unhappy. Yeah, we know they're unhappy and it just reminds themthat 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 veryfirst thing you have to do is really listen to them and talk tothem as a way of learning about what they want and how you can bettersatisfy them. So talking to your customers needs to be a huge priority.Do you have any thoughts, Lewis, on who within the organization who shouldbe having those conversations? Is it the...

CEO Talking to the CEO of theircustomers is is it a move like that, or should it be someone from marketingthat kind of owns that responsibility? What have you seen work best?Well, you need to talk to the people who are using your product andservice. You know, the people who can say, yeah, we wantto keep these guys and keep working with them, or we want to it'stime 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 theymight be working with within a company. But it really is talking to thepeople who know what's going on day to day, who can say to thecompany this vendors doing a good job or not doing a good job, andyou 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'regoing to talk about, Louis has,...

...is creating a great customer experience.Can you expand on this ideal force of it. Sure, and this issomething where, you know, talking to customers, you can start that ina 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 alifetime effort and it you know, it may take six to twelve months justto start to really turn that around and improve the customer experience. But thisinvolves analyzing all of the cut customer touch points, starting in the sales andmarketing process. You know, how are you interacting with them? Is thatwhat 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? Whatis the emotion that they're feeling and and how can you improve that? Youknow, 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 whenyou're in the shop. You know,...

...what are all the different flavors thatthey have? What are they cost? How does it come out? Youknow, what's the box like? What other products can you buy while you'rethere? 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 aboutas simple as it gets, and yet you have many, many touch pointsand ways that you might improve the experience. When you think about something that's reallycomplex, like what a hospital does or what a beab software company doesor, you know many other types of bigger companies, you know you're goingto 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 criticalto involve the customer facing employees in this process too, because they probably knowmore about what's working and what's not working for the customer than than anyone elsein your company. Gotta all right,...

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

...to retention and growth. So thisis one of those places where you have to take your customers much deeper intoyour products and services and help them be successful with that. And this mayinvolve, at the same time, segmenting customers and the way you need tosegment you know, again, it's going to vary totally by what kind ofcompany you are. It may be the size of a company that you're sellingto, the industry that they're in, the location, the different roles ortitles of people within those companies. You know, the the end users ofsoftware are going to need different information than the it people do. But thesethese 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, thecustomers and the information that they want,...

...but meaningful segments that really relate todifferent products, different services, different pricing and marketing, and then creating thecontent that's really going to help those customers succeed. You know, that's reallycritical. And and what companies see time after time when they have this kindof segmentation is they start to get much more engagement with their content and withtheir programs. So when they when they send out the emails with the invitationsfor 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 openand download and sign up rates than when they're sending unsegmented content in akind of, you know, just spray and pray fashion to everybody. Andwhere 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 notbe 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 andinformation about them that you can meaningfully understand what they need and understand that peoplewho are in hospitals need different information from us than people who are in universitiesor people who are in manufacturing companies. They may all be using our payrollsoftware, but it may be a very different situation for and a very differentset of challenges, and Soever only comes down to being close enough to yourcustomer to understand what their needs and what the meaningful segments are. That makessense. This has been this has been...

...really great. If there's somebody listeningto this they want to stay connected with you or they want to learn moreabout your company, revenue and associate's, what's the best way for them togo about doing that? Well, I'm on twitter. Yeah, my handleis Luigadema. My blog is Luiga Damacom and revenue and Associates, where youcan find a lot of useful information. A download is revenue associates. Thatbids. 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 youso much for your time today. This has been fantastics. Are reallyappreciate it. Thank you, James. If you're a BEDB marketer, wewant to feature you on sites like the Huffington post social media examiner and chiefmarketer. 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 forreally popular websites. So head over to sweetphish Mediacom slash questions and sign uptoday. Thank you so much for listening.

Until next time.

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