A momentous change has occurred in the world of sales over the last few years, perhaps the most significant since we stopped flicking through Yellow Pages, the internet was born, and we became accessible on emails and mobiles 24/7. The Pandemic forced us to change the way we work at a greater speed than any revolution ever could. We lost overnight the ability to call in to see our customers and prospects, to pick up the phone and to grab a coffee or attend an event. With the world working from home, we reverted to taking our networking and connections online to operate in a much more stagnant, transactional fashion with little time for rapport or developing relationships – we lost human contact. Life changed, companies did often but not always adapt a more empathetic approach to their sales and marketing teams with many taking the opportunity to furlough. Teams had to adapt, quickly.
Relationships with existing customers became even more essential, and for the first time for many, the focus tilted towards retention and account management over new business. For those who were not used to using the new go to technology and relied on face-to-face interactions and techniques – the last two years have been more than a challenge. But we have adapted, found new efficient ways of working, perhaps diversified our model, our offering, our client base, restructured, repriced or simply reevaluated our future. Latest statistics from the ONS show there are over 1.3 million live jobs many of us are struggling to fill, whilst economic inactivity continues to rise to 21.3% - the highest rate seen and predominantly in the 50-64 age bracket.
So, it’s fair to say the world right now is not the same nor ever will be post pandemic. Our customers have changed as have their needs and ours, our talent pool has changed as has our requirements. But have our skill sets, our processes or our strategy changed from a sales perspective?
Are you “so very 2019” or are you operating in the post pandemic (PP) era of 2022? A simple exercise to get your customer service, sales and marketing teams to conduct is a stop, start, continue chart based around customer engagement, retention and new business. We have adapted, often without realising so, but it is essential as we progress to a new era, we review changes we were forced to make and how effective / efficient they were before falling back into old habits as the world reopens.
Over the last few months, we have been brought in to a number of organisation’s, keen to ensure a continued focus on existing customers, retention and account management principles in general. An increase of retention or existing customer spend by just 5% could make a significant impact to your bottom line. We all know the cost to acquire is significantly greater than the cost to retain. So how are you adapting your approach? I do believe one of the greatest opportunities to be missed which offers the most significant returns and growth on a sustainable basis, lies within your existing customer base – so how do you plan to review and access it?