Whether or not you were dedicating more resources to customer retention and expansion before the global pandemic, the need to engage existing customers probably accelerated that focus when net-new business slowed in many sectors.

And if it’s only occurred to you lately — or not at all — that care and feeding of your customers is critical to the growth and profitability of your B2B organization, read on.

Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey shows that post-sale customer engagement is top of mind for CMOs: 56% of marketing leaders say improving the experience of customers will be a top priority for supporting their company’s business strategy during the next two years. Rightfully so: Existing customers account for more than three-quarters of annual revenue for B2B organizations, on average, according to Forrester data.

Our B2B Customer Engagement: Planning Assumptions 2022 report will help you develop more successful and valuable customer relationships next year. Among the key takeaways:

  • Decide what “healthy” looks like. Teams responsible for adoption, retention, and expansion need a reliable view of account health. Customer success, sales, marketing, portfolio marketing, and product management all have a stake in developing healthy customers and ensuring that they derive value from what they buy. Marshaling the data and analysis needed to produce an actionable view of customer health may seem daunting, so start by producing a basic health score. Use just a few reliable data points that map to the right business outcomes, and leave the guesswork behind.
  • Pinpoint where advocates are made. Basic customer health scores should include key post-sale milestones, such as achieving a specific product usage goal, expanding participation in account reviews, or attending a customer-specific best practices session. Be sure to measure these value indicators individually and accountwide, because they also serve as origin stories for advocates. Develop new data collection and analysis processes to help teams understand and manage the points in the journey, such as the successful adoption of a new feature, the achievement of a positive ROI, or the celebration of a personal accomplishment such as a promotion. These might serve as good occasions to identify and nurture customer advocates.
  • Act on, rather than react to, insights. Rather than use insights — such as Net Promoter Score℠, customer satisfaction metrics, and in-product surveys — only to fix or prevent issues, customer engagement practitioners should use these insights proactively to increase the value of post-sale engagement. Analyze data from a variety of channels — including surveys, advisory boards, customer events, website content consumption, and community activity — and analyze it to find new ways to make proactive improvements in the post-sale experience. According to data from The State Of Customer Obsession 2021, 100% of customer-obsessed organizations report that they have an effective approach to identifying and pursuing innovative ideas, while only 10% of less-mature customer-aware organizations indicate the same. Where will you fall on that continuum in 2022?

For more assumptions and further details, check out our B2B Customer Engagement: Planning Assumptions 2022 report, available now.