Keeping the Romance Alive

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz around the marketing blog-o-sphere about the importance of quality customer service. Many of these discuss how the customer service department is gaining rank and the sales department is losing it. This could hold true when you consider that it’s widely believed that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers – you have to keep your core clients satisfied.

The way I see it is that everyone in your company should be focused on providing excellent customer service – before, during and after the sales cycle. A helpful, customer-focused approach should start with the sales staff and continues every time you touch a prospect or customer throughout the product (or service) life-cycle.

Additionally, while it’s much easier for us all to relate to B2C service horror stories (who doesn’t hate sitting on hold while your computer displays the “blue screen of death?!”), it’s just as important for B2B companies to focus on great customer support. Building your reputation and harvesting relationships in your target industries will ensure more business is headed your way. This is even more important for companies like software as a service (SaaS) providers, who often operate on a subscription basis and will want customers to renew. Companies should be prepared to offer resources such as online user guides and easy-access email or phone support just as you’d expect from your own service providers.

Check out these musings on the importance of keeping your customers happy from around the web:

Meet “the Other Half” of Your Marketing Spend

Why is it that in the marketing world, business to consumer (B2C) advertising should get the lion’s share of the glory? Why should most marketing tools be designed for B2C application? Why should B2C companies pick up new interactive trends (Web 2.0 anyone?) faster than business to business (B2B) companies?

The short answer is that B2C marketing shouldn’t be any sexier or more fun than B2B marketing. Sure B2C has the Super Bowl ads and other such fluff, but B2B marketing gives us cold, hard numbers to play with and prove our worth to the CEO. We can actually peg a hard ROI to everything we do… assuming we know what we’re doing.

John Wannamaker, owner of the first major department store once said, I know that half of all my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half.” In this day and age, there is no reason why we can’t save the other half as well. We have the best practices. We have the technology. Let’s put them together.

I started my marketing career on the B2C side doing a mix of branding and direct response for brands such as BMW, Verizon Wireless, Holiday Inn, and more, and eventually found myself transitioning to B2B. Proving a hard return on investment (ROI) in spite of a complex sales cycle has been a wonderful challenge. My goal with this blog is to share what I have picked up along the way and foster a dialog in the B2B marketing space. You can expect a couple of posts a week covering the following:

  • Marketing best practices
  • B2B technologies
  • Industry news

On a side note, to my surprise, I recently discovered that I am somewhat of a “gray hair” at my current company when the following episode took place. A few of my summer interns were discussing this year’s rout of Ohio State by Florida in college basketball. Hoping to show how hip I was, I pointed out that the 2002 NCAA finals was one of the worst games I had ever seen, as Maryland destroyed a hopelessly out-gunned Indiana. The interns each sported a confused look and one of them cautiously explained, “Dude, in 2002, I was still in junior high.” So much for hipness.