New Webinar: How to Automate Your Win-back Strategies
As you build and maintain your lead generation, follow-up, and marketing side of your business, do you think about win-backs? If you’re not considering your past customers in your quest for new business, you’re missing out. Previous customers are an excellent source of new business, and in this presentation, we’ll share some key tips about how to work your win-backs.
In our newest podcast and video offering, we share some research and ideas based around using automation to handle your win-backs. Now in three mediums, you can watch the video, listen to the audio, or read the transcript below.
Win-back Strategies in Automation Transcript:
What can I do to automate my win-back process? If you’re asking that question, stick around. We’re covering win-back strategies in automation. We’ll be looking at the concepts of Churn, Winbacks, and Automation.
If you don’t know much about Blitz, it is a web-based sales follow-up and CRM platform you can use to manage leads, improve sales tracking, build better relationships with customers, manage your hiring process, and automate any of those processes I just listed. If you want to look deeper into the platform itself, you are invited to check us out at NowBlitz.com.
Today we’re going to share some win-back strategies sourced from the industry, and then, near the end, apply what we’ve learned with some key features on the Blitz platform. Before we get to the strategies though, I want to start with an important concept: Churn.
“Churn: Attrition or turnover of customers of a business or users of a service. In the new economy (which provides unprecedented choice, and instant and global access to products and information) churn rate determines business earnings and growth. A firm has to earn and re-earn every day the loyalty of its customers.” – Business Dictionary
That same definition page cited that “Sometimes your business will feel like it is in a constant state of churn and that is fine as long as new customers keep coming.” This approach, while it seems sound at first glance, might actually be a tougher practice over time, depending on how you see your customer pool. We can use the “fish in the sea” adage for this example. If you look at your customer pool as an ever-renewable resource, all you need to do is keep selling more than you lose, and there’s plenty of fish in the sea. If you see your customer pool as a limited resource, there will likely be slower sales seasons where the customers just aren’t as plentiful. That sea could be having some trouble keeping up with the demand.
Whether you believe in the plenty of fish or the limited fish line of thinking, today’s topic is aimed at approaching those fish that got away. Those chummed fish. NO! Those CHURNED fish. Today’s topic is win-back strategies and how to automate them.
So… why are we talking about Churn?
Churn is a plague to the insurance, wireless phone carrier, gym, and online streaming service industries, as well as many others. A Harvard Business Review article from March 2016 called “Winning Back Lost Customers” cited that some wireless carriers lose 3% of subscribers each month.
I wanted to look at churn because it feeds into our win-back topic. Let’s talk a little bit about win-backs.
What is a Win-back?
Depending on who you ask, a win-back might be either a lead who used to buy from you, or simply a customer who hasn’t purchased from you in a while, who’s come back to do so. The definition may vary based on your business type. If you’re in a business where you work with chasing down leads, you’ll likely be treating win-backs differently than if you are a more lean back and let the marketing do its job style.
We’ll be focusing on the lead-style win-backs for today.
Why are Win-backs important?
Win-backs are important to every business that has customers, especially those that rely on sales team members who work leads.
This next quote is from that “Winning Back Lost Customers” article I mentioned earlier:
“V. Kumar, a marketing professor at Georgia State University who studies win-back strategies, cites three reasons companies should focus more energy on lapsed customers. First, these people have demonstrated a need for the service, making them far better prospects than random names on a cold-call list. Second, they are familiar with the company, eliminating the need to create brand awareness and educate them about the offering and thus reducing the cost of marketing to them. Third and most important, recent technology, particularly more-sophisticated customer databases, allows companies to draw on information about how people used their service the first time around to craft more-successful win-back offers and to identify and go after the most profitable defectors.”
In that quote, Professor Kumar has outlined that win-backs are some of the best candidates for marketing. The only thing they didn’t mention in that specific section was a possible drawback based on WHY those customers left in the first place. They do spend time in the article discussing this, however, and I’ll share a bit about these points when we talk about which win-backs are beneficial to focus on.
What is Popular in the Industry
While we’re considering some of the challenges facing our win-back campaign setups, let’s take a look at some ideas floating around in the industry recently.
An article from Braze magazine in September 2016 called, “7 Essentials for a Winning Win-Back Campaign,” suggested we ask what the problem is and offer to solve it. They recommend that we take the time to understand why a customer has lapsed. When you’re looking at why that person has stepped away from your client base, you’ll be able to target the specific pain points that you can overcome to entice their return. I’ll be sharing about which types of former customers may be more worth spending your time and resources on re-engaging later on.
In “11 Strategies to Win Back Lapsed Customers” from email marketing company Pure360.com, Lee Davies suggested some simple tips like laying off the hard sell to keep people feeling better about coming back to your resource. This article was based more on retaining customers, but even there, we can find wisdom in recognizing that some people don’t want to buy from you all the time. Depending on your business type, they might be interested in you for education, entertainment, or help with a specific subject that isn’t necessarily grounds for a purchase. If every interaction with that potential customer or former customer is a push for the sale, that’s going to make the relationship less sturdy. That person may be less likely to trust your resource in the long run if they feel like they’re just a dollar sign to you.
The article also suggested that asking for customer feedback was a great tool to learn about what motivates those contacts. Again, that article is more focused on winning back lapsed customers, but the principle is the same. If you know what motivated a customer to step away from your business, you can use that information to build on the weaknesses that customer saw. If you reapproach that customer later and share that the issue they had has been resolved on a small or large scale, you’re going to be more enticing to that person.
What Can We Learn from Popular Industry Strategies?
So what are we learning from this research? Is anything standing out from the different sources I’ve shared? Is there something there that can help us build a stronger win-back strategy? The connection I am seeing is information. So if we know who it is we lost and why we lost them, we can improve our win-back strategy.
Now that we have considered the importance of win-backs and some industry strategies and attitudes toward them, let’s also consider who we should be focusing on.
Win-backs to Focus on
The Winning Back Lost Customers article we’ve referenced had some great recommendations for what types of former customers are worth your time and investments
- Customers who have referred others were clearly so happy with your services that they actually recommended you to someone they knew.
- Customers who never complained are also likely to be recaptured as they didn’t find a need to tell you if they thought something was going badly.
- Customers who had complaints satisfactorily resolved are another excellent group of win-backs to focus on because they can likely look back, perhaps if your sales team reminds them of this, at a scenario where they reached out to you for assistance and got the help they needed.
Also, If a customer left because of a price change, they will be more likely to return to you than someone who left because of poor service. Though, if a customer cited both price issues AND poor service upon their departure from your customer base, they are much less likely to come back to you. It may be best to let those specific fish go.
Applying What We Learned
So how do we apply what we learned in these articles to automation? After the gather information step, it’s important to make sure you’re labeling your win-back contacts appropriately. When you have your win-backs labeled, you can construct some automated processes to go after each type of win-back. Let’s look at this example with some of the tools provided by Blitz Sales Software.
- Gather Info
- Make a Plan
- Customize Based on Labels
- Automate the Plan
How Does Blitz Help with Win-backs?
Blitz is a system that’s made for a task like following up with win-back leads. Let’s take a look at these different steps we developed in the “applying what we learned” section and break it down to what you might do in Blitz to complete them.
Gather Information. As you are losing a customer to the win-back pile, it’s important to take notes and update what’s happening with that contact. You’ll want to make sure you keep any feedback you can get from them, and save that information to build from later. That’s what Blitz history notes are for.
Label. Labeling your win-back leads is another key step to applying automation to your follow-up process. With Blitz’s automated workflow, you’ll be running automation based on customizable dispositions, so you can set up your account to illustrate win-backs as their own section to be marketed to. For those new to Blitz, dispositions are made up of two factors: A Milestone and a Status. Milestones are used to determine the current step in the sales process and might include examples like Contacted, Quoted, Sold, Customer or Lost Customer. A status is used to elaborate on the milestone and provide additional context like interest level. Some common statuses might be Attempted Contact, Hot, Requote, and Not Interested.
I might suggest adding some milestones and statuses that tie to your lost customer information. That way, you could set up a win-back Milestone and connect that milestone with a status like Cost, Service Complaint, or Using Competitor. This gives you a lot of power for our next step, making a plan.
Make a Plan. Now we have our information on these win-back leads and we’ve got them labeled with their objections, we can create a follow-up plan for how to market to them. This is where your Blitz Workflow skills come into play. You get to decide a timeline for when to contact them and choose how you’ll be reaching out within that timeline. Those are the most basic decisions you can make when building a workflow. Let’s go into JUST a little more detail on the things you can do with workflow:
- Start with an overall idea of how you want to follow up with your win-back leads. That could be a statement like “2 touches a week for 4 weeks.”
- Then, break down how you want those touches to go. Let’s say you want to get some phone calls, emails, and even postal mail going there.
That might end up with a schedule that looks something like this: You can see we’ve built a calendar that’s got phone calls, emails, and a postcard offer set up. That’s basically how you make a workflow outline. The last chunk of work for this plan is to decide on some specifics.
Is this a general win-back plan, so the emails and postcard are going to have a generic “we want you back” style message? That might be helpful to some former customers, but we can probably do better by getting more specific and making sure the customer’s unique needs are addressed.
Customize Based on Labels. This is where you can use the power of customizable email templates and the specific win-back labels you made to really shine. When you’re planning a workflow outline, you can get your ideas together for when you want to get emails going out, and before you finalize, you can get extra specific on those emails. If you have win-back customers labeled with a cost issue, you can write specific emails promoting your value for the pricing. If you have customers labeled with a competitor connection, you can write emails promoting the benefits of your system over that competitor. Get specific, meet customer needs, and get reactions.
Automate the Plan. Now that you’ve customized the workflow plan, you can reach out to the support team at Blitz to help you put that workflow into practice and let the automation run the process for you. Workflow will automatically send out emails, and it will give your staff reminders and appointments to make their calls and drop specific marketing materials in the mail. It’s so easy. Another big workflow win-back strategy is that you don’t actually have to train people on the procedures of said workflow process. Sales staff see it hit their Blitz schedules and they react accordingly. The days of keeping a sheet stapled to the cubicle wall for how we handle each type of contact or hoping that your sales staff just know what to do on instinct are gone. By taking the procedure out of people’s hands, you give them the freedom to react to automatic appointments and use their brain power on engaging your win-back leads.
So, What’s Next?
I would encourage everyone to look at your past customers’ list. If you’re currently on Blitz, make sure your dispositions are consistent. Keeping dispositions up to date will make sure you are organized.
If you’re not using Blitz Workflow, I recommend looking at the Blitz Help Desk and watching a few videos on there called Workflow 101 and Workflow 102. They’ll get you started, and you can get any other help from your account manager and the support team. We want to make sure you’re well equipped with this powerful tool. Your success is our success.
If you aren’t on Blitz, and want more information about the system, head over to nowblitz.com and check us out.