Improve Lead Generation with Help from Unhappy Customers


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“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison

Do you consider grumpy customers a blessing or a curse? Thomas Edison brings up a good point that even B2B marketers struggle with today. When dissatisfied customers come knocking, do you shy away from the work it takes to not just resolve the situation but to make lemonade from those lemons, or do you look the other way and hope for a bucketful of new leads to even out the playing field?

There are few things more disheartening than grumpy customers. After the effort and time you put into generating sales leads and closing them, it’s only impactful to the bottom line if the customer remains a customer. Not only can a cranky customer puncture a hole in your enthusiasm, if the point of contention isn’t resolved they can quickly move from an un-happy customer to an ex-customer.

The silver lining is that there are great lessons to be learned from grumpy customers to better serve those in the revenue cycle now and in the future. So, when happy sales turn into grumpy customers, consider these 3 upsides that can turn opportunity – combined with a little work – into improved lead generation and marketing ROI:

  1. Adapt Future Marketing Messages.

    You thought you had informed potential customers about everything your product offers, but customers are showing that you missed some essential facts. We would all like to pretend that our customers are never frustrated with products or services. But that’s likely untrue and sticking your head in the mud isn’t an option.

    Leverage the questions/frustrations your customers have to modify your marketing offering. If that’s not an option, then revisit your existing customer information to address common concerns and help avoid frustration in the future. Think about all the messaging tools at your disposal. Are you leveraging white papers and webinars? Have you integrated repurposed video from company archives? Can you create a quarterly update that offers quality content for your customer?

    A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page may seem like an old idea, but with well though-out content, categories and search options it may be just the thing that helps answer a customer question and avoids a grumpy situation.

  2. Listen to the Revenue Cycle Take heart.

    Those opportunities dressed in overalls can lead to better sales and marketing alignment. Are you noticing too many leads dropping from the cycle? When leads are falling off, you typically don’t have the information as to ‘why’ unless you are engaging in activities to understand the revenue cycle.If customers have indicated frustration over response time, take this opportunity to assess response time throughout the revenue cycle for both prospects and customers. It may be that as a customer, they now feel less important and less followed-up with compared to when they were a prospect, i.e. when your sales team was actively following up after every email click and website visit. Now, as a customer they are feeling less taken care of.

    Ward off opportunities for customers to feel cast away with timely follow up after the sale, to ensure everything is going well. In addition, post-sale is the perfect time to assess what made them choose your company. Was it your case studies and webinars? Was it customer testimonials or a real connection to their sales rep? The more you can find out from newly-minted customers and circle back to the marketing team, the more likely you are to close more deals in the future.

  3. Don’t ignore the silent grumps

    The marketplace is teeming with eyes reading your content that you may never hear from. If you have a contingent of crabby customers who are more willing to give you a “thumbs down” with others than to tell you how they feel directly, find an avenue with which they can speak directly to you, rather than about you.

    In an online marketplace, this is where it’s crucial to have communication vehicles such as a blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Being able to monitor such networks for instances of your brand name mixed with negative words is crucial to maintaining a positive brand presence. Remember that one of the most important tools that buyers use to make decisions are recommendations from other consumers. In fact, a 2010 Nielsen Global Consumer Report found that 57% of online respondents considered reviews prior to buying.

    If there is a collection of negative feedback online about your brand or a particular product/service, review the information to see if there are any similarities across criticism. Perhaps multiple customers cite poor customer service or a concerns about quality. Knowing such information is crucial to responding to the customer and providing a solution, helping turn them into a positive purveyor and informing necessary departments to make adjustments. If your customers aren’t telling you directly and aren’t venting online, we wouldn’t recommend jumping to the conclusion that all is well.

    There are still more customers who likely will go on being unhappy for an extended period of time without saying a word. To tap into this segment of grumpy customers, try creating quarterly or annual surveys to give them a chance to tell you what they would like to see in the future. Many people will shy away from being honest when speaking to someone directly but an anonymous survey can help you find nuggets of info you wouldn’t otherwise have.

While dissatisfied buyers can be daunting, take a hint from Thomas Edison – view them as opportunities rather than obstacles. Find the advantages those individuals offer and use their feedback to improve your future efforts. When you see your lead generation improve, you’ll thank them for it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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