Inbound marketing methods have dramatically changed how marketers generate leads and build relationships with prospects. However, marketing teams neglect opportunities to generate greater value by focusing primarily on the beginning of the customer journey.
Inbound marketing strategies can expand customer lifetime value and lower the cost of acquisition by engaging customers throughout their journey.
This isn’t to say your marketing teams shouldn’t be attracting new prospects and customers and filling your sales funnel. But with the high cost of customer acquisition, it’s in your organization’s best interest to also work to increase customer lifetime value.
Acquiring a new customer can be a costly affair. In fact, an article published by Harvard Business Review found that gaining a customer can cost anywhere between five and 25 times more than retaining an existing one. Additionally, a study conducted by Bain & Company found that a 5% increase in retention rate can increase profit between 25% to 95%.
By expanding your marketing team’s efforts into the entire customer journey, your organization can increase customer conversion rates, upsell and resell opportunities, and create brand advocates.
In other words, you can get a higher rate of return on your acquisitions by selling to existing customers and investing in customer enablement.
This process of investing in existing customers to create advocates and increase customer lifetime value is known as a virtuous sales cycle.
A virtuous sales cycle is a competitive advantage that creates reliable, low-cost revenue opportunities. Your marketing team can help you build a virtuous cycle by working closely with your sales and service teams.
INBOUND MARKETING AND THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
Creating a virtuous sales cycle requires that organizations step outside the confines of a funnel and look at the customer journey as a whole.
We will broadly discuss the phases of the customer journey as Attract, Engage, and Delight for simplicity’s sake.
While customer journeys are more nuanced, this is a great high-level framework that easily fits into most business models. Each phase of this model also aligns with common customer-facing departments within an organization.
- Attract = Marketing
- Engage = Sales
- Delight = Service
The funnel concept (depicted below) emphasizes creating leads from prospects and ultimately converting them to customers. In this way, customers move through a funnel in a one-directional manner.
Once a customer “converts,” there is often little marketing attention placed on delighting the customer and maintaining an ongoing relationship.
If we change focus and look at lead generation potential from a holistic customer journey perspective—we see that marketing plays a significant role in generating leads from new and existing customers.
By investing in customer success and education—existing customers become advocates, bringing other new customers through word-of-mouth.
Word-of-mouth is the most effective and cost-efficient form of marketing.
When marketing teams assist sales and service teams—the customer flow becomes cyclical—instead of linear—as existing customers reinvest and expand purchases.
Not only is there more money sitting in your funnel than what appears at first glance, but these opportunities also come at a higher profit margin and take less work to get.
So what are you waiting for!
MARKETING CAN HELP POWER THE VIRTUOUS SALES CYCLE BY SUPPORTING SALES AND SERVICE
To create a virtuous cycle, marketing teams need to leverage their communication gifts to support sales and service team efforts.
HOW MARKETING SUPPORTS THE ENGAGE PHASE (SALES)
Marketing teams dedicate resources to create highly impactful, visually stunning, and emotionally compelling collateral for effective organizations’ sales team members. This collateral might include:
- Sales decks
- White papers
- Business justification
- Custom landing pages
- Customer journey maps
- Customer testimonials and case studies
- Virtual walkthroughs, demonstrations, and guides
Furthermore, marketing teams can use their understanding of markets and consumers to help sales teams build personas, playbooks, and value propositions. Anything to help the sales team provide their prospects with additional value.
These assets and insights help the sales team build compelling justifications, motivate buyers, and present a consistent brand image.
Which leads to higher conversion rates and increased revenue.
Also, the collaboration between marketing and sales produces a more informed and engaged customer.
When customers are informed and have accurate expectations of the customer journey, they are more perceptive and open to your brand and offerings.
HOW MARKETING SUPPORTS THE DELIGHT PHASE (SERVICE)
Once a lead is converted to a customer, marketing efforts continue to supporting your service teams.
Service teams have a big job onboarding new customers, ensuring adoption, and caring for their needs post-sales.
Service teams spend more time with your customers than any team. They often deal with highly technical, specific, and emotionally charged situations. Creating ample opportunities to delight your customers, reinforce value, build advocates, and cross-sell.
With high-value interactions abound, it makes sense for marketing teams to invest in empowering service teams.
- Marketing can assist service teams with:
- High gloss and branded education materials
- White papers and case studies
- Service brochures
- Technical specifications and documents
- Product demonstrations
- Promotions and campaigns targeted at existing customers
- Automating emails and announcements
- Identifying conversions and upselling opportunities
- Working with advocates to spread the word
Your existing customer base offers significant opportunities to generate revenue by selling upgrades, accessories, expanded features, renewals, and new solutions.
By adopting inbound strategies and mindsets throughout the customer journey—your marketing teams can increase customer lifetime value.
GETTING STARTED WITH A VIRTUOUS CYCLE
Virtuous cycles produce greater revenue and profit for organizations that successfully identify leads and create advocates out of their current customers.
To do so requires that your marketing, sales, and service teams align with your customers’ needs and work to identify and capitalize on revenue expansion.
Virtuous cycles take time, coordination, and practice to perfect. Working with your marketing teams to expand their efforts beyond the top of the funnel—is a natural starting point to increasing lifetime customer value.
As your communication experts, marketing teams are well-positioned to help your other customer-facing teams provide consistent experiences and value to customers.
If your marketing teams don’t have the resources to engage and support your other teams or want expedited results, the alternative may leverage an agency.
Agencies can provide the resources and tools to help augment your marketing team’s efforts, and their outside perspectives help ease the alignment with sales and service.
What’s more, these resources can be quickly scaled to fit your specific needs, thus lowering your overall costs.
If your organization is looking to create and take advantage of a virtuous cycle—look for an agency specializing in inbound marketing and has a diverse skillset that spans the entire customer journey.
At SequoiaCX we focus relentlessly on the entire customer journey. Helping organizations adopt the digital systems and customer success strategies that promote growth. Talk with us today about how we can help.