Selling more to your existing customers is easier and cheaper than finding and selling to new ones. It coststhree to fivetimes as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep a current one.


Yet many B2B brands are leaking customers because retention is overshadowed by advertising for new ones. C’mon, when was the last time you read an article about retention?

B2B buyers have a lot on their shoulders. Making an unwise decision not only costs their company, it can cost their job. They have to deal with layers of bureaucracy, they have to be able to justify their decisions, and they often have multiple people to answer to. If you want to keep them buying from you, keeping them happy is essential.

You may think your customers are satisfied, but according to Bloomberg Businessweek, “60% of defecting customers describe themselves as ‘very satisfied’ just before they leave” (October 2009).

In B2C, customer satisfaction surveys are an effective tool for gauging and maintaining retention. However, as always, B2B is a whole different kettle of fish. The people taking your surveys are most likely end users, not key decision makers. It’s extremely rare for a B2B survey to reach even 20 percentof decision makers.

Your challenge is to engage the decision makers and find out what they’re thinking. There are a number of ways you can make sure you’re talking to the right people: holding events, a thorough online search utilising sites like LinkedIn, and of course an accurate data base.

Now that you have the right contact, make sure to ask them the right questions. Never just ask them if they’re satisfied. For one, busy people tend to say they’re satisfied — even when they’re not — if they think that’s the quick and easy option. Two, loyal customers – the ones who’ll recommend you to friends and colleagues – are not satisfied, they’re passionate. Three, for feedback you can work with, you need insight.

Find out their motivations, values and priorities. Many B2B brands mistakenly believe customers are paying for expertise. In reality, most customers have no way to evaluate expertise – what matters to them are the outcomes of their experiences with you. Find out if they’re receiving consistent levels of service and reliability from your brand. These are the things that will make your buyers stick by you.These days,being good isn’t good enough. Outstanding is the new good.