They’ve already bought something from you. You’ve already jumped nine of the ten hurdles on the way to a sale (or however many there are these days). Wouldn’t it make sense to turn these internal ‘champions’ into a stealth sales force? It always surprises us how few marketing departments really take their existing customers seriously as a source of new business. Maybe they think it’s all in the hands of the sales department…
The power of existing customer relationships can be harnessed in almost any marketing campaign but it usually means thinking about them a bit differently. There are tasks you don’t need to do with them (like telling them who you are) and other things that you can’t do with prospects who have not yet bought from you (personal communication to a customer is spam to a prospect).
As with so many tech marketing challenges, the answer often starts with the right piece of content. The idea is to give your customers all the information they need, in a form that makes it easy to spread the word to colleagues throughout their company — people you often can’t reach or don’t even know about.
Case in point: one of our clients, ip.access, had made some important sales of their picocell product to major mobile operators. Now they needed to sell more.
So we created a strong piece of content – a 28-page Applications Handbook – then ran a Marketing Acceleration Campaign to get it into the hands of existing customers (and drive it into the market as well, with targeted Pay-Per-Click and email campaigns).
The Handbook isn’t just a brochure. It’s a reference and resource for network planners, designed to help them weigh their options (and maybe tip the scales a little). It includes the Pros and Cons of using picocells (yes, Cons — an important credibility builder); a look at alternative technologies and options (including ‘do nothing’ and ‘tweak the network’); a summary of nine distinct picocell applications (most customers only use them for one purpose); and a few case stories (credibility again).
As well as generating a lot of leads from prospects (hundreds to date), the Applications Handbook does some important things in relation to existing customers:
- It shows them how they can use a trusted product in new ways
- It helps them spread the word within their companies
- It positions ip.access as expert partners to consult with
- It gives the sales force something to bring along, send ahead or leave behind
- It generates orders
After the Marketing Acceleration Campaign has ended, the Handbook lives on as a web download and on the shelves of customers and prospects — it’s not an easy thing to throw away. (Let us know if you’d like a copy.)