As the year comes to a close, we are hoping – indeed expecting - that 2010 will be the year that the economy turns around (albeit slowly) and our customers and prospects will start to open up the purse strings. Based on feedback from many of our colleagues, there has been a decline in existing customer business as budgets have been slashed over the most recent budget cycles. This is especially true for those customers and prospective customers with whom we are not in contact on a frequent basis (in other words, the 2nd tier, the Bs and Cs on the rating scale).
Now, with the economy on the brink of recovery, is a great time to maintain contact with key customers and prospects, and it’s the perfect time to establish a plan for re-contacting the rest! The most important element of such a plan is having all of the correct information in our CRM system. The worst case scenario is that when these latent customers get ready to buy again, they won’t call us because we haven’t stayed 'top of mind' ! The best case scenario is that the phones start ringing in January 2010!
The strategy for success in the 2010 rebound should include the following:
Build a plan to review and address A, B, and C customer and prospect accounts.
Reach out to existing contacts with the goal of obtaining additional or new contact names within each company.
Pay close attention to automated e-mail responses (such as “out of office” messages or “no longer with company” messages.) This is a great way to clean up your database and add new contacts.
Think about some out-of-the-box ways to engage your customers and prospects! For example, invite them to celebrate with you when the Dow reaches a new 52-week high.
Nothing will be more frustrating than losing a customer because there were changes in their organizations that you were not aware of. Or, even more frustrating would be losing a customer when you knew about the change but didn’t update your database. And more frustrating yet would be finding out that a prospect you nurtured through the recession just placed an order with one of your competitors.
Don’t let that happen! Existing customers are your greatest asset….spend the time to show them you care. And your prospects? They’re your only source for a new revenue stream. Don’t lose track of them. Use a world class CRM system to make sure your company is always top of mind.
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