How to Get More Customers

Highlights

  • For many companies, acquiring more customers is a fluid, sometimes irregular and oftentimes difficult journey.
  • Consistently acquiring more customers does not occur based on ill-defined strategies, arbitrary processes, or piecemeal technologies. It also does not occur by making changes to insignificant processes.
  • Research shows that customer acquisition growth becomes sustainable with a proven and repeatable framework that focuses on 5 critical processes shared below.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

How to Get More Customers

Everybody knows you need to get more customers to grow your business. But not everybody knows how to get more customers. Here are the 5 most essential steps to create a systemic process that scales customer acquisitions.

1

Start by Pursuing your Best Customers First

You will get more customers if you focus on your best customers first. The best customers deliver the highest and fastest conversions and the lowest cost per acquisition.

The best way to define your best customers is with an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). It uses data to measure and segment customers by fit. Data is grouped into cohorts described by customer characteristics, attributes or behaviors to show the highest fit and most lucrative customers.

Ideal Customer Profile

The most common mistake at this step is relying on explicit data and not tapping into the more powerful implicit data. Explicit data includes things like company firmographics and contact demographics. It's easier to acquire but stagnate. Implicit data includes buyer behaviors and online digital footprints that show what buyers are most interested in.

The thing to know is that explicit data only shows how interested the company is in the buyer while implicit data shows how interested the buyer is in the company.

You will need a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) such as Adobe Experience Cloud or Salesforce Marketing Cloud to capture digital footprints and measure buyer behaviors to know what they are interested in.

2

Engage with the Right Mix of Campaigns

There's no shortage of campaign types but as you might suspect, each delivers different results.

Most marketers rely on email and simple digital marketing campaigns such as impressions, retargeting and pay per click. They are easy to setup and can be effective when correctly implemented. But they become much more effective when part of a broader campaign portfolio.

Marketing Campaign Research shows that the Best-in-Class marketers (i.e., the top 15 percent) achieved an average of 11 percent more sales leads, and much higher lead quality, by managing more campaigns (an average of 4 to 9 in parallel). They also managed more sophisticated campaigns (such as buyer intent signals, look-alike modeling and integrated campaigns) and made far more frequent changes to their campaigns based on real-time performance.

The two most common mistakes are failing to align campaigns with the buyer journey and failing to make near real-time and continuous improvements to them.

The first challenge can be remedied by understanding how self-educated buyers perform the bulk of their purchase journey in online channels, and without engaging vendors until late in the process. As shown below different types of campaigns are targeted to different phases of the buyer journey.

Marketing Campaign Orchestration

The second challenge is remedied by assembling the optimal portfolio. It's a process called Marketing Campaign Portfolio Optimization. It maximizes the value of the total portfolio by continuously improving individual campaigns, reallocating budget among them based on measurable progress, and shutting those down that fail to show progress or project value.

3

Acquire the Lead

Campaigns create a prospect interaction, but it takes more than that to acquire a new lead.

The top 3 reasons why campaigns deliver disappointing conversion results are that they fail to personalize the interaction, deliver a relevant offer, and reinforce product or company differentiation.

Prospects are not homogenous. Sending the same offer to all customers will disappoint most. Similarly, sending uninspiring messaging and undifferentiated content doesn't get you very far.

The root of this problem is focusing on campaign assets and channels more than customers and problems to be solved. To do better, you need to personalize the messaging based on the customer profile, deliver relevant offers based on buyer behaviors and tie the message to your company's Unique Value Proposition (UVP) or competitive advantages.

The combination of these three factors will improve conversions by double digits.

There are also technology tools to improve campaign conversions.

Two of the most popular tools are Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and Conversational Marketing.

CRO performs A/B and multivariate testing. It automates continuous experimentation, measurement, iteration and progressive improvements. It quite often improves conversions by 5 to 9 percent in short order.

Conversational marketing is highly effective at converting website visitors to new leads.

It uses a suite of automation tools, such as chatbots, natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence, to engage online visitors. It's effective at things like getting website visitors to complete an online registration form to acquire content or speak to a person.

Conversational Marketing

It's a relatively new sales lead conversion technology. Marketing technology research  findings published in The Marketing Transformation Report show that adoption is still low, but Best-in-Class marketers are overwhelmingly using this technology.

4

Convert the Lead to a Sale Opportunity

Most lead acquisitions are in the investigative stages. They are not yet sales-ready so forwarding them to the salesforce will annoy the buyer and decrease sales productivity. In fact, sending unqualified leads to the salesforce results in leads not be followed up timely or at all, and contributes to the always present but often not recognized lead leakage problem.

Instead, you need to apply structured and automated lead management processes to nurture each lead until it is sales-ready.

A strategic lead management program consists of up to 8 integrated processes that bring order, measurement, automation and predictability to lead conversions.

Lead Management Loop

Each process requires effort so performing all 8 requires a lot of effort. But we know from lead management research and three decades of firsthand experience that the total effort will convert more than twice as many leads to qualified sale opportunities. That means twice the revenue growth.

If you need to implement lead management processes to convert more leads into sale opportunities, but are not sure where to start, start at the beginning. Most of the processes build upon each other so a weakness in one will negatively impact all others that follow.

For example, poor lead enrichment will degrade lead scoring or poor lead scoring will degrade lead routing to sales. Making improvements in earlier stages will cascade through future steps.

5

Use Analytics to Measure, Adjust and Improve

No campaign delivers its potential on the first attempt. It takes measurements and iterative improvements to reach that potential.

Dashboards are the top delivery tool to show what's working, what's not and when changes need to be made.

Most marketing dashboards only display historical data. Better dashboards shift from lagging to leading indicators. And the best dashboards enable metrics to be interactive, so marketers can perform What-If modeling and pro forma scenario planning.

And no campaign lives in isolation. So, an aggregate view is needed to show how they rank among each other and perform together.

Marketing Dashboard Campaign Portfolio

The most common mistake here is using dashboards that are interesting but not actionable. Too many packaged dashboards or reports display what is easy instead of what is important.

To a first-time observer many dashboards look good. But if good looks were the factors for success my first marriage would have made it, and dashboards would get much more utilization. Research shows that new marketing dashboards achieve 30 percent utilization following the their deployment, but within 3 weeks that utilization falls to 9 percent. It then falls further over time. The decline is due to dashboards not providing real help to users.

The key to analytics is to measure what matters. Defining the right metrics to track progress and prompt real-time corrective action is an essential best practice for improving customer acquisition processes.

Unless your reporting is creating insights that drive frequent changes to your customer acquisition processes, it's not working.

See the 5 customer acquisition steps that answer the question, how to get more customers?

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