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Keep Customers & Leads Warm And Build A Stronger Pipeline

A customer recently shared his thoughts on what makes for great vs. terrible customer experiences. He mentioned that he hasn’t heard from his insurance agent in 18 years! After getting over the shock, we thought about the implications for all organizations. Great opportunities exist for sales and service teams who are motivated and willing to stay in touch with customers. One of the worst things you can do is make your customers feel forgotten. Letting leads grow cold is another peril – here’s how to keep those contacts warm.

When you reach out to contacts, create a conversation that’s all about them, not you. Says George G., Service Director at a multi-national manufacturer, “Every time I contact a customer, I ask myself, ‘How can I make this person’s life a little bit better today?’” We’ve pulled together nine different inspirations for adding value to your contacts.

To Educate…


Share News Articles


Recent developments in an industry are the perfect excuse to reach out. Send a quick email to your contact starting with, “I was reading this article and thought of you…” Include a link to the article. You can add your own perspective to the article such as, “I see this trend becoming a bigger issue in coming months.” Finally, end your note with an offer of assistance. “Don’t hesitate to contact us; we’re always happy to help.”

Works well for Prospects, Customers & Colleagues

Send Tools & Templates


Customers and prospects love receiving free tools and templates that help them do their job better and faster. What’s interesting about this technique is that you don’t have to create the tools or templates yourself; you can share items that other organizations have created. By highlighting new tools and methodologies, you can demonstrate your industry expertise and thought leadership.

Works well for Prospects, Customers & Colleagues

Respond via Social Media


Social media makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch with customers and prospects. If appropriate, ask to connect with your contacts via your favorite social network. For businesses selling to other businesses (B2B), LinkedIn and Twitter work very well. For businesses selling directly to consumers (B2C), Facebook and Twitter are excellent channels. Each time a contact posts a question or comment, you have an opportunity to be helpful and respond.

Works well for Customers & Colleagues


Set aside a minimum of 15 minutes every day to reach out to prospects and customers.

Making These Techniques Work for You

  • If your business is smaller, you can use an Excel spreadsheet to track contact activities across your team.
  • If your business is larger or growing quickly, it might make sense to invest in a simple CRM. Customer Relationship Management software helps you centralize customer and account information and keep a record of activities. Many tools also give you the ability to delegate tasks to members of your team and manage your sales pipeline.

To Identify New Opportunities…


Perform Annual Reviews


Annual Reviews are an excellent way to ensure your business is continuing to meet the needs of your customers. Create a template with open-ended questions to ask during the review. Focus on whether you are helping clients achieve their goals and ask if customers are satisfied with your service. If you have a business with annual fees or contracts, schedule the review approximately two months before renewals.

Clients change over time, and it’s possible their needs have changed since you started the relationship. During this process you may discover cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and you can mention these, as appropriate. However, keep in mind the primary goal: talking about your clients’ needs and providing solutions.

Works well for Customers

Survey Customers


Another great way to identify new opportunities is to gather feedback via customer surveys. Surveys can take any number of formats, from open-ended questions asked on the phone to online questionnaires to focus groups. Gathering feedback is a perfect reason to reach out to customers and keep the conversation going. There is a risk in sounding disingenuous as you survey customers. Share with customers what you plan to do with their feedback and act on the information you receive.

Works well for Customers

To Make Contacts Smile…


Send Birthday Emails


Birthday emails tout one of the highest open rates – higher than any other type of promotional email. According to Experian, birthday emails with surprise offers have 481% higher transaction rates, meaning that customers are not only opening the emails, but they are almost 5 times as likely to purchase a product or service from you because of the birthday email.

Works well for Customers

Deliver Holiday Messages


The holidays are a great reason to reach out to contacts, especially those where you may have lost touch. Most companies avoid “salesy” type rhetoric during this time, and keep the message respectful of the season. Successful missives can be sent anytime from before Thanksgiving to after the New Year. For the best results, personalize the message. Hand-written notes are more powerful than emails.

Works well for Customers & Colleagues

To Persuade…


Offer Referral Programs


Looking for a compelling reason to reach out to all of your customers? Create a referral program. To make your program as powerful as possible, include incentives for both the referrer and the referee. While discounts are a common way to encourage referrals, go beyond cutting prices. Extra services and add-ons are very motivating and you have the benefit of keeping prices reasonable. To encourage action sooner rather than later, put a deadline on the program.

Works well for Customers

Promote New Offerings


Anytime your organization changes your offerings, such as adding new products, releasing new features or changing pricing, it is a good time to communicate with customers and prospects. Lead communications with your promotion and tie into your overall value proposition. Conclude with how the promotion will benefit your customers. For pricing discounts, limit the timeframe to create a sense of urgency.

Works well for Prospects & Customers