Startups are often associated with mad race for generating more and more leads, prospects, opportunities, fight for higher conversions & maximising quarterly revenue figures.
No surprises there.
And if you ask any startup CMO, he would tell you exactly the same thing, that customer retention is least of their worries, especially during early stages of their business.
As digital marketing professionals, we all are trained to look ahead and think about “what’s next“, once the sale is completed.
Of course, this race for customer acquisition is never ending. And it should not stop either.
But what we also need to look at is, how we monitor the growth of our existing and new customers?
In my digital career , I’ve been fortunate to work in the SMB marketing team of Microsoft. For the first time, I understood the meaning of digital B2B Marketing. And this is something extremely important for a startup founder.
The thing is , nothing is constant in the technology space, and almost every SAAS product has a very short lifespan to make an impact.
Sooner than later, a better technology or platform will out-manoeuvre the older tech and market trends will respond to it almost instantly due to ever so fast & evolving Digital-Socio-Mobile ecosystem.
The importance of keeping a firm control over your existing customers is indeed a daunting task. Today, on one side, companies like Adobe & Google are adding thousands of customers everyday, but they are making even bigger investments in retaining older customers because their bulk of revenues are coming from the existing customers through the up-sell / cross sell and license renewals.
In a world where every upcoming technology is converging to the cloud, changing platforms and tools would be as easy as changing your mobile carrier because everything (including your company’s data) is on the move.
Interestingly, the talk about data portability is already heating up in the tech sector.
A customer is all the time looking for the best value proposition for his business to optimise his own margins. He would not take a split of a second to change his IT priorities.
Therefore, in order to build a customer retention strategy, tech companies would require to put tremendous effort & investments into customer research, training these customers and helping them create a path to their success by utilising those tools more effectively.
The Zillion dollar question still remains, how to retain your customers?
5 Customer Retention Strategies any startup
Product development life cycle plan
It allows you to outsmart your competitors every time. I know it is easier said than done but only if your product life cycle is truly evolving & dynamic to market changes, you can expect your customer to stay with you for longer duration.
But not just revenue but customers expectations from the product. Repackaging the product into a more current looking avatar. Everybody likes to change, a customer always have this expectation that if their business have grown, the tools they are using should also grow with them. Perhaps this is one of the key reason, open source technologies have better adoption than proprietary softwares. Though, a lot of their updates are full of bugs but it keeps the connection going.
Customer Training Program
Draft a calendar of training programs for your customer and feed him with all the necessary tools to master your product & technology. This could perhaps be the most effective marketing tactic, which if landed properly can fetch millions of extra dollars, not just by up selling your product but by creating a fantastic word of mouth.
Customer is your product manager
Making your customer feel like a product head who is not just using the software but also adding value in its future developments. As a business owner you would realise, that your research cost is approaching towards zero.
KYC – Know Your Customer
Follow your customer’s digital footprint by helping him gain more insights into his business by pointing towards the right resources.
As a startup CMO, you should only think from a customer’s point of view, no customer wants to keep changing the things upside down, if for once he finds faith & value in what your product has to offer, he will become a part of your family.