Buyer , User , Startups , Scaleups — 07.26.2023

You’re Overlooking Your Highest Potential Sales Channel — Existing Customers

Chelsea Douglass, Director of Marketing

Securing new customers is harder and more expensive than retaining existing customers (especially in a down market). Ask any salesperson and they’ll tell you how winning a new deal is high effort and requires building relationship rapport. 

Yet revenue teams often overlook how existing users are a high-potential sales channel because they’re focused on generating new activity, new leads and new customers. 

Your existing customer base is like a big pool of leads who already understand your value because they’ve agreed to buy from you. As they interact with your product, they can learn more about how to better use the product through product marketing that speaks to their pains and needs. Essentially the product begins to do the heavy lifting to engage and retain users.

With a cross-discipline strategy, revenue teams can work with product teams to identify opportunities that exist within your current customer base. Both top-line and bottom-line growth maintain margins in this strategy — a win win for every team. 

Why You Should Activate Existing Customers

You should activate existing customers because:

  • They are more likely to convert (renew and upsell). 
  • They are more likely to become advocates (recommend).
  • They come without an agenda, so their recommendations are more likely to result in conversion.
  • They are more likely to remain loyal to your brand, consistently choosing you over new competitors. 
  • The ROI is higher than outbound sales, marketing, and advertising spend.
  • High churn means higher deal flow and increased burnout on your team.
  • Attracting and retaining quality sales talent is challenging.

What’s worse is if you neglect your existing customers, you may create negative impact that works against you, like: 

  • High churn.
  • Swamped customer success.
  • High sales turnover.
  • Increased need for activity.
  • Higher sales and marketing costs.
  • Decreased revenue.
  • Burnout across all teams, especially sales.

Not only will the neglect impact your revenue, but investors may be less interested in funding your company or positioning it for acquisition. 

How to Activate Existing Customers 

Once you determine the right strategy to engage existing customers, activating it brings both revenue and product teams together in hyper alignment. 

Let’s look at some examples, each categorized by foundational vs tactical.

Foundational Strategies

  • Understand customer needs, pains and motivations. You can’t win them over if you don’t know what they want. Talking to your users, through formal or informal research, is the best way to uncover unmet needs. 
  • Strengthen your product marketing foundation. If you can’t clearly, consistently and accurately state your value proposition, chances are you’re not attracting the right kind of users and you’ll struggle to retain them after they’ve converted. 
  • Help your customers connect with your product and solution through your brand. Your visual identity is not a nice to have. If your look and feel is outdated or doesn’t align with the pains you solve, your brand may hurt more than it helps.  

Engagement Tactics

  • Tell existing customers about new products and features. After solidifying your product marketing foundation, you’ll need to activate it by messaging new products and features. 
  • Reconcile any product debt and avoid acquiring it in the future. Your product must be useable, and product debt is a surefire way to frustrate and create disengaged customers. 
  • Deliver an exceptional product experience. People buy more than just products, they buy experiences. Use customer feedback to continuously refine and optimize your product offerings. By actively listening to your customers and implementing their suggestions, you’ll increase trust and brand loyalty increasing the likelihood of renewals, upsells and referrals. Loyal customers are more likely to choose your brand over others which reduces churn and increases customer lifetime value.
  • Leverage upselling and equip your team with the sales enablement tools they need to win. With the right tools that clearly and consistently demonstrate your value, any team member can upsell existing users.
  • Ask for referrals. Build referral opportunities into the product experience or in customer feedback loops. 

With the right words, visuals and tools, you can transform your existing customer base into a powerful sales channel. Because current customers have already demonstrated their interest in your brand, they’re more likely to convert and become advocates for your product. By tapping into your current customer base, you can turn users into ambassadors and unlock sustainable growth. 

Ready to transform existing users into loyal, returning brand ambassadors? Find out how we can help.