Planning, budgetary shifts, re-organisations and vacations are all reasons we lose track with prospects and existing customers, but it's possible to win them back. In this article, I'll outline some tips for re-engaging with current and prospective customers, especially before and after a period of vacation.
Naturally, none of these tips involves making a 'hard sell' - instead, they centre around offering value. If you have a tendency to lose touch with prospects and customers, try incorporating these ideas into your sales approach and daily routines.
Re-engaging with existing customers
Start before the holidays
To ensure that you can restart your relationships with your customers after periods of holiday, you can organise meetings before the holidays begin. In that way, you already have time set aside for the crucial conversations that happen, and you also show your customers that you're not going to forget about them once the new year comes around.
Reach out when you get back
When you've taken time off during, e.g., holidays, it's essential to reach out to your customers as soon as the holidays are over. You want them to know that you have been thinking about them.
If they send an email to you, make it a priority to respond promptly. If you're initiating the outreach, make it a priority as soon as you're back in the office.
Recap your relationship
When re-engaging with your customers, it can be helpful to look through your interactions and relationship from the previous period. This will help your customers see how your partnership has helped them succeed, and they can visualise how they'll continue to achieve in the coming year through your partnership.
Ask how they're doing
It's also essential to ask your customers how they perceive your relationship over time. This way, you will learn about their thoughts, opinions and anything that they wish to change in the cooperation forward so you can continue to be successful over time.
Once you interact with your potential and existing customers, learn what they liked about you and your company's performance and ask for areas where they want to see improvement. Then, use their input to share your reflections, plan forward, and promise when and how to get back. By doing this, you may also offer additional services that will help them and the business relationship.
Identify their priorities
Get a sense of marketing cadence, sales initiatives, trade show and event schedules, launches, and roadmaps. Then, when you know what your customers prioritise on a high level, you can plan accordingly and offer what they might need.
If a customer plans an initiative or an event, you will contact them at least six months in advance. By planning your interactions and business around their calendars, you'll increase the likelihood of staying relevant and possibly become an integral part of their priorities for the year.
Learn about their hiring plans
Talk to your contacts to learn your customer's hiring plans for the year. First, you will know more about their priorities and challenges. Second, you know they push for new hires. Now it's your job to learn why the roles are essential to focus on if the function and role are driven by executives and decision-makers and make it possible to understand what other initiatives they've devoted resources for and when.
When you know what positions and roles a company's hiring for, you can anticipate your next moves. If a customer is changing vendors next summer and needs new team members onboarded by then, time your outreach appropriately to enhance that onboarding process.
Instead of rehashing your client's needs at the end of the year, you can discuss fresh approaches for the new year and position yourself as a forward-thinking partner. And the same goes for your potential customers; stay truly interested and proactive.
Re-engaging with potential customers
Potential customers who have concerns at the end of the year don't have worries in Q1. You shall use that as an advantage to position yourself as a potential partner and expert in their planning. Give your potential customers space at the end of the year, and ask them about their pain points and challenges in the shift between Q2 and Q3. But never in the middle of their budget process; that's too late. Then follow up in Q1.
Because you didn't overwhelm them at the end of the year and proactively followed up in Q1, you're well-positioned to offer things that will save them from the same fate.
This will make it harder for competitors to poach their offerings. You've already become a proactive and trusted part of the potential customer's decision-making processes and planning.
If you already understand the most important initiatives your potential customer is focused on for the year, you're positioned to continue as a trusted partner and supplier.
I hope these tips come in handy as you get back in touch with contacts and customers who have dropped off your radar. This is one aspect of customer satisfaction, but there's plenty more to think about when it comes to keeping your most active customers happy and measuring their satisfaction over time. To expand your knowledge in this area, take a look at our in-depth guide to customer satisfaction, and make sure to get our free ebook on the same topic below.
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.