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Marketing Automation: Lead Generation or Existing Customer Care?

White papers, webinars, large marketing campaigns and the loud beating of the advertising drum: B2B companies try this way to convince new customers of themselves. It is always the newly acquired buyers with whom the longed-for increase in sales is linked. This often leads to a neglect of your existing customers, who present themselves as loyal buyers and are responsible for a large part of the sales. Find out how to ensure appealing revenue growth from your existing customers and strengthen customer loyalty without neglecting leads in this article.

Neglecting existing customer nurturing

To grow your business, it's critical to nurture valuable leads and continually expand your customer base. Direct communication with prospects from initial contact with the website to full onboarding into the customer base is of utmost importance. Too much focus on this task in many companies has led to complicated lead nurturing processes that require a lot of time and attention. In concrete terms, this means that it is the new customers who are allowed to take advantage of your most attractive offers and feel valued. However, numerous companies thereby reward the wrong customer behavior with financial benefits. The best price/performance ratio is secured by the unfaithful customer who spares no effort in constantly switching between different companies. This results in a high churn rate and customers leave. Your goal should rather be to ensure a high retention rate, which expresses the satisfaction of your customers. In some industries, such as the energy sector, this has resulted in a customer base that was never targeted in this way: consumers who are willing to switch and who will only remain with the company by making ever new financial concessions. Customer loyalty? No way! In the worst case, this creates a cycle that has a negative impact on the company's profitability. At the same time, a particularly effective and inexpensive form of advertising is slowly disappearing. After all, it is the convinced existing customers who will say a few words of praise about the product in their personal environment. Enthusiastic personal recommendations from enthusiastic customers can be particularly persuasive, although their absolute influence is difficult to measure. If you don't guard the treasure trove of loyal existing customers, there's a risk that this type of referral will be increasingly eroded. A strong focus on lead nurturing among your new customers can cause you to lose sight of one of the most important needs of your customers: the desire to be able to obtain your products or services quickly and at any time. Marketing automation can do its part to help you get closer to this goal along the customer journey, based on continuous campaigns.

Marketing Automation Classically Thought

It should be obvious that marketing automation is an effective way to achieve new success in lead nurturing. Perhaps you, too, bring a classical understanding to this all-important system. Typically, these three big benefits are discussed:

Better Leads - you can noticeably improve the quality of your leads with the help of marketing automation. Lead scoring methods help to distinguish between cold and warm leads and to focus entirely on the latter in sales. In addition, lead tracking methods provide detailed insight into needs and desires. This is where you can refocus your lead nurturing.

Better timing- undeniably, better timing is a benefit of automated processes. You can make sure that the crucial moments in the sales cycle are not missed. The next planned step is executed automatically and potential customers receive further information at exactly the right time. This goes hand in hand with ideal support for the purchase decision.

Continually correct measures - at the same time, marketing automation in the sales funnel ensures that the right measure is taken at every stage. The basis for this is the data from previous successful transactions, from which you can draw conclusions about the communication. The result is an effective process and significantly increased sales success.

Maintaining existing customers with marketing automation

So what can you learn about nurturing your existing customers from these benefits of classic marketing automation? Here's our suggestion: access marketing automation for your loyal existing customers and put them ahead of new customers. Acquiring new leads comes second. Why do I recommend you apply marketing automation to the new customers in your company? With this approach, you have the opportunity to offer your existing customers the value they earn with their loyalty and reduce the churn rate. Automation processes are ideally suited to interacting with this customer base in a targeted manner and picking them up at the right time with the right measures - good lead nurturing is the keyword. The first step in this process is appropriate planning. The care of existing customers should follow a clear plan. For its conception, you should take a look at the following questions in advance:
  • What content is needed?
  • At what point in the customer journey do you pick up your customers?
  • What data do you need for this?

With marketing automation, you also have the opportunity to significantly increase sales success with the particularly loyal customers. At the same time, you strengthen customer loyalty to your company, because you provide all prospects at an appropriate time with all the important information. Thanks to the automation of the process, this does not require more effort on the part of the sales department. Satisfied, long-term customers also give you the opportunity to reap the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing. Focusing your efforts too much on the new customer segment dilutes the effect. Happy existing customers, on the other hand, who experience attention and appreciation, strengthen the added value of recommendations and can thus further reinforce the success of this measure. A higher retention rate is a clear sign that this process is beginning to bear fruit.


The antithesis of growth hacking

You may be considering Growth Hacking as another measure to drive growth and become customer-centric. However, growth hacking is different from growth marketing and marketing automation for existing customers and can be taken as just the opposite. After all, the goal of growth marketing is to generate leads quickly in order to achieve the fastest possible growth. In most cases, a combination of various hacks is used, whose short-term benefit is placed above the long-term evaluation. Growth marketing elevates the speed of results to the top priority, with little regard for long-term development. Growth as fast as possible is the goal, which may seem legitimate from a startup's perspective. If your goal is to use a spontaneous flash in the pan to increase your sales and reach more people, growth hacking may seem like an interesting alternative. Involuntarily, this will involve a strong focus on the group of new customers, who should be quickly convinced of the products or services. Marketing automation for existing customers counters this with a long-term strategy based on a sustainable approach. The goal is not to quickly acquire new customers, but to build sustainable support that shows up in the form of satisfied users.

Uniqueness instead of mainstream

If you consistently implement marketing automation for existing customers, you can thus stand out from the mainstream of the industry in a decisive way. Instead of focusing on fast growth, which is to be achieved with the help of various tricks, you take a long-term perspective. Once a motivated and satisfied customer base is built up in this way, it will be positively reflected in your balance sheets. Your existing customers will then attract new customers. If this commitment to new customers is still too small for you, there is also the possibility of transferring the content used for marketing automation with existing customers to new customers. You can reuse a large part of the analysis and material at low cost and adapt it to the situation of new prospects who have not yet come into contact with your services. This keeps your company's fan base top of mind while ensuring that you don't lose sight of valuable new customers at any point in time.


Take advantage of digital tools

It's worth taking a look at the digital tools behind these processes before we move on to the results you can expect with good lead nurturing, strengthened customer loyalty and the opposite of growth marketing. Regardless of your strategy, in B2B you'll find that your customers will always have some level of experience in the industry. There is no such thing as the classic inexperienced new customer, only those who have not yet become aware of your offerings. This increases the importance of a cleverly designed sales funnel through which you can guide your leads. Marketing Automation supports you in this endeavor. With this concept, you too can take the next steps in digitization. In your industry, too, you can be sure of the particular success enjoyed by those companies that have decided early on and in a determined manner to use modern software and digital tools. For this, you should not dismiss the digital possibilities as an unromantic way of selling. On the contrary, functions such as lead scoring, lead nurturing and lead management provide you with the opportunity to significantly accelerate work processes and transfer them to intelligent software. This significantly reduces the amount of manpower that large sales teams have historically required, with correspondingly high costs. If the past few years have shown anything clearly, it's the unparalleled advantage of digital tools to help you optimize the customer journey. If you take the first important steps with your company now, you will lay the foundation for the future. Because all experts agree that digitalization has not yet reached the end of its development, even in the field of marketing.

What to do now

Interested in stronger customer engagement and benefits like simplified lead nurturing? Then the next step is to generate the right content. Marketing automation is followed by a content strategy that is capable of expressing your expert knowledge without being intrusive or disruptive. It is important to differentiate between different phases in which your customers are looking for different information. If he repeatedly receives qualified answers to his questions from you, he will automatically associate your company with the solution to his problem. From there, it's just a small step to the sale. The formats you can choose for your content strategy couldn't be more different. Depending on what works well for your media, you can choose from the following alternatives:
  • Infographics
  • User stories
  • Explanatory films
  • E-books
  • FAQs
  • Podcasts
  • Blog articles
  • Interviews
  • Presentations
  • Newsletters

From these options, you better not choose randomly. Depending on the topic, individual formats are quite suitable for conveying information in a vivid and informative way. Looking at the reaction of the target audience will also give you an idea of which formats deliver great added value.


This is what you can expect

You can expect to significantly increase your company's retention rate with the help of these measures. Stronger customer retention is due to the higher esteem that your existing customers can now be sure of. In addition, your churn rate is expected to decrease in the foreseeable future. If the churn rate and retention rate are finally in the right proportion to each other, you have created the perfect basis for making long-term economic progress. From month to month, more new users will enrich your customer base, while only a smaller percentage will leave. Based on these factors, it's easy to see that this strategy will result in increased revenue.

Automated existing customer care

Marketing automation for existing customers will save you a lot of work once the process is in place. The potential new regular customer, who has already been able to form an impression of the services during an initial purchase, will from now on be optimally provided with information material, which further strengthens customer loyalty. You not only ensure that the information reaches him at the right time. In addition, you improve customer loyalty by taking their individual situation into account and providing them with exactly the information that is important in their situation. Nevertheless, you still have the opportunity to accompany existing customers during the purchasing process and to observe their steps. This allows you to draw conclusions about their profile, which can be refined by asking direct questions to customers. Automation tools can score hot leads through scoring. If you rely on a scoring system, the existing customer can be sent to a sales representative at a clearly defined point, which further optimizes sales opportunities. This dense network of precautionary offers makes it easy to see why marketing automation for your existing customers will bring you significantly higher customer retention.


Summary: This is what marketing automation for existing customers will bring you

The bottom line is that marketing automation for existing customers can help you get the chance to build a
  • greater engagement from your customers
  • lower churn rate
  • higher retention
  • increased sales conversion
All of these factors play an important part in profitable revenue growth. For that, you don't need quick fixes like growth hacking, which can only be a real short-term alternative. Instead, Marketing Automation provides you with a long-term concept with little effort, which you can adapt to the conditions in your company and use.