The value of retaining customers and maximising existing accounts cannot be overstated. In fact, research published by Harvard Business School shows that increasing customer retention rates by just five percent can improve profitability by more than 25 percent. Meanwhile, Lee Resources Inc. report that attracting a new customer costs a business five times more than keeping hold of an existing one.

Yet, while many business owners appreciate the value of customer retention, many continue to focus their sales development efforts on new leads. Indeed, CSO Insights’ Mine the Gold You Already Have research paper highlights the fact that 47.3 percent of firms believe they need to improve their efforts when it comes to farming new business from existing customers. Here, we take a look at how you can do so to boost sales revenue quickly.

Deliver Excellent Customer Service

One of the single most important aspects of account management is delivering good customer service both pre and post sale. After all, 91 percent of unhappy customers are unwilling to do business with the company that made them unhappy ever again, according to Glance. For this reason, it is imperative that all members of your organisation, and not simply the customer service department, deliver a great experience.

What this means is that in addition to training your customer service team, there should be a customer service component to any sales training courses you enrol staff in as well. In terms of what customers want, it is important to focus on product knowledge and personalisation, because customers want to know that the people they speak to are competent, but also see them as an individual, with unique needs and concerns.

Formalise Your Account Management

Next, you need to make account management compulsory and formalise the process. With modern CRM 2.0 technology, this is now easier than ever, as these systems allow businesses to take a more holistic approach. For example, during the account scoring process, sales teams can move beyond simply categorising customers or clients based on past interactions and can instead consider the potential future value as well.

Your account management process should also include stakeholder analysis, where you consider which stakeholders you will need to engage with. For instance, if you look at past deals in detail, you should be able to find out whether the key decision makers were based in sales, marketing, IT, etc. In each case, try to identify everyone with buying authority and consider what their motivations are and how you can appeal to those motives.

Through sales training courses and effective coaching, your reps can also be taught how to cultivate relationships with key allies and attempt to bypass any obstacles to future deals.

Try to Generate Additional Business

Finally, it is important that you do not limit yourself by trying to generate the exact same business from customers time and time again. While this does demonstrate your ability to retain customers, your aim is to maximise existing accounts and this means generating additional business from those customers. To do this, think: what additional products or services could a buyer get from you? Why aren’t they? Where are they getting them from instead?

“Implement a program for growing customers as aggressively as if it were a prospecting effort,” says Ken Dooley, writing for Customer Experience Insight. Essentially, you should treat this like any other sales development process by doing your homework, matching your products or services up to their needs and providing value. That value could be a superior product, faster delivery times, greater support, unique features, and so forth.


Most companies could financially benefit from placing a focus on maximising their existing customer accounts. By providing top quality customer service, managing accounts to identify the best prospects and aggressively pursuing additional business from them, customer retention rates and overall profitability can be significantly increased.

The 2017 EMEA Sales and Service Summit Series from Miller Heiman Group will focus on a number of these topics, including opportunity management and how to connect customers with value that matters. For more information, click here.

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