Your sales and marketing teams have worked hard: leads were captured, scored and moved diligently through the sales funnel. Account executives hit all the key messages, made their touch points and, after weeks or months of work, closed the sale.
Great. Now what?
It is important to remember that selling doesn’t end after the sale is closed and the account executives have moved on to other leads. Retention is now the name of the game.
Whether you’re an early cycle start-up looking for funding, or perhaps a mid- to late-stage SaaS company looking to be acquired, your monthly recurring revenue, churn rate and lifetime value numbers are going to be under the microscope. These figures are all corollated to your company’s ability to retain customers.
Beyond strong pricing, great customer service and frequent product updates, what can a company do to boost retention?
Perhaps it is time to invest in a focused PR strategy. Check out these three ways PR impacts customer retention:
#1. New features and product education
Let’s be honest, people hate newsletters and, according to Convince and Convert, social media use is on the decline. Companies can count on owned channels to announce new features and product education to a lesser and lesser degree every day.
This essentially leaves paid and earned channels left to educate current customers on the latest feature updates and tips on how to best use your SaaS solution. (And, if you have a CMO keeping a close eye on win rates and the bottom line, good luck launching a paid campaign targeted toward current customers.)
However, a carefully crafted PR strategy can harness earned media to educate stakeholders on new product announcements, features and use cases with an added bonus… third-party credibility.
#2. Reinforcing your place in the market through awards
As customers come to the end of their annual contract, their eyes can start to wander toward your competitors.
Example: your customer contact has had a rough year driving ROI and they are under a great deal of pressure from their manager to start producing actionable results. Stress combined with a well-coordinated marketing strategy and aggressive pricing on behalf of your competitors can have otherwise loyal customers jumping ship faster than cats seeing cucumbers.
If you offer a premium product at a premium price, awards are a great next step to help put your customers at ease knowing they have the best solution for their needs.
For example, we helped Moogsoft identify and draft a submission for the 2018 SaaS Awards, an award they went on to win. Sales and customer success reps were then able to leverage this award to reinforce — both with current customers and prospects — that Moogsoft was a leader in the industry.
#3. Adding relevancy and exhibiting expertise
Customers want to work with innovators that truly understand their industry. Customers need to feel as though the workflows are well thought out, the software actually solves a problem (as opposed to taking the problem from a pen and paper format to a digital format) and that the developers and product managers behind the software are continuously innovating and staying abreast of new trends.
Articles we have secured, such as “Four Ways to Prevent an Enterprise Phishing Attack” and “Five Common Mistakes Companies Make With CAPA”, not only convey an understanding and expertise in the industry, they also offer solutions to problems customers are currently experiencing and keep them engaged with the brand.
(I’m not the kind of guy to skip to the end of the book, but conveying this expertise also helps lay the groundwork for the final step of the customer journey: advocacy. More on that to come.)
Retention is an overlooked aspect of the customer relationship journey, often because money is devoted to marketing and selling to prospects. Once prospects become customers, they often become the client success manager’s responsibility — but that doesn’t mean the journey is over.
I encourage you to see both new leads and existing customers as equally valuable. Through effective planning, a public relations campaign can both continue to nurture leads in the funnel and retain current customers.