Marketers exist so that we can open up new opportunities for our companies. So how surprised would you be if I said you have potentially thousands of latent opportunities left untouched every day because no one thinks to market to them? Would you believe organizations have an ample supply of leads left hidden in plain sight? Believe it. They’re the customers you already have.
At first blush, it might seem senseless to expend energy and resources appealing to customers who are already “won,” but it’s very worth it. Existing customers have the potential to bring your company more revenue more quickly with less effort than new customers across the board. It’s a huge pool of potential profit that every business should be tapping into. If you don’t have a marketing program directed at current accounts, you could be falling behind the competition--and quickly. You need a better system. You need account-based marketing.
What Makes Current Accounts Such A Rich Opportunity?
Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio and a B2B marketing thought leader, defines account-based marketing like this: “Intentional go-to-market activities that coordinate personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at a specific account.” And hundreds of doors stand to be opened.
As someone who has worked with enterprise companies extensively over the course of my career, I consider myself highly aware of the value of repeat and loyal customers. Even so, I was shocked at the extent of the benefits our Altify study revealed. In every category we looked into, existing customers proved a more productive investment than new customers.
Here were some of our key findings:
- Win rate for existing customers is far higher than for new customers. Most respondents claimed win rates of 50% or higher.
- Sales cycles are much shorter with existing accounts. The number of days in the sales cycle for new customers is 263% higher than the sales cycle for existing accounts.
- Deal sizes are generally higher. Some respondents reported that the average deal made with existing customers is 162% the size of an average new deal.
- Existing customers buy more of a company’s product portfolio. People who have already experienced and loved one product from a business are more likely to try expanding to other solutions as well, up to 50% to 100% of a product portfolio.
Clearly, any business that isn’t tapping into that market is missing out on a huge opportunity. We need more marketers focused on account-based marketing and more technologies that help facilitate it.
Isn’t This A Sales Team Issue?
So why should marketers specifically care? Don’t these findings just mean that salespeople should be working harder to reach out to current customers? Not quite.
Until recently, most marketers were evaluated exclusively based on the number of leads they drove. It’s straightforward, useful, and thanks to modern software, relatively easy to measure. Here’s the problem: More leads don’t always translate to more sales, and in fact, they can even do the opposite.
Anyone who’s between sales and marketing knows the problems that come up when salespeople spend too much time following up on “bad leads.” The more time salespeople waste reaching out to prospects that aren’t interested, the less time they can spend driving real revenue for the business. More leads aren’t better anymore, and companies are starting to recognize that. Great marketers are the ones helping expose real opportunities—and new deal leads from existing accounts fall perfectly under that category.
Our survey found that existing accounts had a mind-blowing 50% higher win rate than the win rate for new customers, a statistic any salesperson would be extremely happy with. But sales can’t do it alone. Sales teams have limited time and resources and limited access to customer history and data. As marketers, this is where we have the ability to step in and add value.
Unlocking Wealth Of Opportunities
One of the survey findings that should be most interesting to a modern marketer is the diversity of portfolio products that returning customers are likely to be interested in. When focus is put into current customers, companies are much more likely to sell 50% to 100% of their product portfolio. That statistic proves the value of driving awareness of different products within existing accounts. Targeting those customers is especially effective because oftentimes companies have enough historical information to tailor messages to those specific accounts. Their needs, past purchases, and industry information can all indicate future buying behavior.
It’s worth developing messaging and materials specifically targeted at existing customers, as well as tracking the best times to reach out (i.e. when they are the happiest). Every company should have a strategy for showcasing additional products and upgrades as well as a protocol for measuring which opportunities are ready to be passed off to sales.
This area of account-based marketing is still radically underdeveloped, relative to the degree companies stand to benefit from it, but if you invest in developing a program now, it could end up setting your organization hugely ahead in the long run. Take an honest look at your current customer base. Is there potential there? Can you help send messages that will tell your customers more about what you can do for them? Do you have additional background and materials that you could create specifically to help the sales team reach this incredibly rich audience?
Having an account-based marketing program isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s a competitive necessity. This is a conversation we need to be having as marketers, as technology innovators, and as businesspeople. To take our companies to the next level, we need to make dedicated account-based programs part of the marketing standard. It’s the only way our businesses can really meet their full potential.