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The soft underbelly of your customer base

By andrew on December 22, 2011

The soft underbelly of your customer base. This is what you want to go for in 2012, right? Many companies appreciate that finding additional business at the moment is a test of your sales and marketing skills.

Broadly speaking your customer database can be divided into 3 hopefully ;

  • Existing trading customers
  • Lapsed customers
  • Prospects (those who haven’t bought from you.)

This is all part of the sales pipeline or sales funnel. Your lapsed customers frequently present the greatest opportunities for you. They’ve stopped buying from you, but they used to. Do you know why? Have they changed processes and no longer need your product or service? Or are they still buying, but from one of your competitors? If this is the case, then it is worth spending some effort winning them back. It’s a 6 pointer (as they say in football) because not only are you adding to your revenue, but you’re reducing it for your competitor at the same time. Neat huh?

Lapsed customers - easy pickings

Meet lapsed customers, talk to them, find out what they want now

Use your telemarketing or telesales team, or even your account managers to make contact and find out why. At this point, don’t try and sell them anything. Show them that you’re interested, really interested in knowing more about their needs and requirements. These also, are the customers you want to invite to events, product launches etc. Remind them how good you are, and what they’re missing. Also the fact that you’ve researched and found out the reasons they’re not trading with you any more, will mean that you avoid spending time and money trying to win back someone who has moved on, and is unlikely to use your product any more.

Ensure you’ve got contact names, e-mail addresses and contact details up to date, so that when you market to them you’re at least aiming at the right person, in the right part of the company for the right reason at the right time.

I’m currently working with a company who after 10 years trading tell me their total customer base including lapsed is 74 records. And their average transaction value is less than £1,000 so clearly there is a lot of missing data. There is much to do, before we can even start direct marketing. Don’t let this be you.


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