This article was originally published on CEOWorld Magazine on May 2nd, 2018.
We’ve all been there: Your team has cultivated a long-lasting relationship with a big client. It’s growing rapidly, the company is singing your praises, and everything is going great, right? Wrong. If your company’s biggest client keeps growing, chances are it could be getting ready to leave you behind.
But that change doesn’t have to hit you out of the blue. In fact, any client getting ready to move on is probably leaving you a breadcrumb trail of clues that a breakup is imminent. Your biggest client’s team members might become slow to respond to your team’s calls and emails, they might keep rescheduling in-person meetings, or they might request a copy of your contract for reference.
As awful as it feels to part ways with a long-term client — especially when it’s your biggest account — your team can bounce back. Here are three ways you can recover and fill your pipeline with new clients. Who knows? Maybe your new biggest client is on its way.
1. Make every initial sales call perfect.
If you’re going to recover from losing a large customer, your salespeople need to be prepared to ace every call they can. A joint study by Informa Engage and Chief Marketer found that 33 percent of B2B sales teams’ sales cycles take one to three months, while 24 percent take three to six months. Just 16 percent of sales teams reported taking less than a month to convert a prospect.
Reduce your average sales cycle by role-playing sales calls for every stage of the process, and try using a platform like Gong.io during training. The software reviews your team’s calls and then gives feedback based on its analysis of more than 500,000 sales calls in real time.
2. Leverage partnerships to get introductory appointments.
Lead generation can mean different things to different people, so make sure you’re focusing on the kinds of leads that your team values. Outsourcing lead generation without determining exactly what that means can be risky, so partner with a company that gets you in the room with decision makers.
Collaborating with an expert in this field can speed up the conversion process, which can be crucial when you’re recovering from the loss of a large account. In fact, in the Informa Engage and Chief Marketer survey of B2B companies, 65 percent of respondents noted that in-person meetings are the most valuable lead-nurturing technique.
3. Choose the CRM your company needs.
The CRM market is saturated, to say the least. You need to sift through the masses of software options to find the system that works best for your company. Our team has found that our partner, ProsperWorks, offers a system that works well for us. It integrates with Gmail to enter prospects and intel directly from our inboxes.
Just as my team did its research before deciding that ProsperWorks was the right fit, make sure your team has prioritized its needs for a CRM before choosing a system to work with. Keeping tabs on your company’s efforts to convert leads and your interactions with prospects is nearly impossible without a reliable CRM in place.
Losing any client is hard, but losing your team’s biggest client is a huge blow. If you suspect that a major client is halfway out the door, don’t wait to act. Take these steps to preemptively fill your sales pipeline, and you’ll recover in no time. Still worried?