This article was originally published on Business2Community on December 29, 2020.
Millions of businesses were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in declining revenue and tighter budgets. Research shows that 47% of B2B buyers were forced to hold off on purchases in 2020. While understandable, this response significantly impacted sellers’ client rosters.
Although B2B landscape projections look better for 2021, many sellers haven’t replaced the accounts they lost. Many companies are still reeling from the initial economic downturn and struggling to find new prospects for their sales pipelines. The good news is that former clients can be a source of continued business. If you can win them back, you’ll be in a better position come the new year.
Previous clients are already familiar with your processes, so recovering them is like rekindling an earlier investment. If your organization is actively trying to woo back lost business and nurture clients that disappeared at the start of the pandemic, follow these three steps:
1. Identify the reason clients “broke up” with you.
Don’t automatically blame COVID-19 for having lost clients. While the pandemic might have been the catalyst, there’s a chance that something else pushed them to that point. Take time to reflect on your previous relationships: Did a client call you about service concerns at the end of 2019? They’re probably not a good candidate for reengagement. On the other hand, if a client’s exit had nothing to do with your company’s performance, they might still come back.
Give clients a down period of at least a month before reaching back out to them. Just don’t get pushy; respect their timelines. If they tell you that they’re not buying this quarter, set a reminder to check back in next quarter. When you give B2B buyers the space they need, it tells them that you care about their individual businesses.
2. Be thoughtful about their situations.
Some companies are still recovering and their buying budgets have significantly reduced. Show empathy when dealing with those previous B2B buyers, and look for solutions to their pain points. For example, if a client churned because of price, then you can talk with your sales director about pricing specials.
At Sapper Consulting, baking flexibility into our service terms and costs allowed many of our clients to continue to see the ROI, and it created examples for our sales team to leverage when responding to concerned prospects. Plan to keep previous clients in the loop about current opportunities to let them know you want them back.
3. Design a reengagement strategy to wake up churned clients.
Sometimes, a digital nudge is all it takes to reengage lost business. Make it a team activity. Brainstorm ideas for possible talking points and connections with your team. Be sure to create a task list of which clients you want to bring back and who on your team will be responsible for reaching out.
This reengagement strategy should include omnichannel touchpoints. For example, you could set up personalized email campaigns featuring specific incentives and then share bottom-of-the-funnel content on social networks. Case studies, whitepapers, testimonials, and more can show past clients what wins they’re missing out on. When combined, these touchpoints can revive old client relationships.
Winning clients back has never been more important to the enduring success of your company. If you’re focusing on fast growth and need advice on creating a strategic sales environment, download a copy of our whitepaper. These tips were compiled from the top growth professionals at Sapper and contain strong and specific measures you can take to reach your sales goals.
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