The B2B Retention Handbook

Growth is a keyword that both motivates and frustrates leaders today. Where does most revenue growth come from? How can it be maintained sustainably? What happens when growth slows? Today, most leaders agree the lion’s share of growth and profitability comes from existing customers and statistics back this up:

Paper with bullet points that read "• Almost 65% of revenue comes from repeat customers. • The probability of selling to existing customers is 60-70%. • There's a 5-20% chance of landing a new customer. • Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new product and are 31% more likely to boost order spend."

While new customer acquisition is top-of-mind for most, according to HBR, it's 5-25X more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Additionally, a 5% increase in retention can increase revenue by 25-95%. Said another way, happy customers and their referrals are your most important driver of sustainable revenue growth.

There appears to be agreement on the overall importance of retention and account expansion, but there’s a growing debate about “how” to build a churn-free, steady-growth customer experience. What’s missing is a consolidated resource for navigating how to grow your company - enter the B2B Retention Handbook.

Below, you’ll find resources to help you understand the what, why, and how of building a better customer experience that increases retention and revenue. We tackle this by breaking down a series of challenges (or symptoms) commonly faced by teams, explaining them, offering specific solutions, and citing resources to learn more. Click on the plus signs below to dig in; we hope you enjoy it.

Why retention matters

The art and science of customer retention drives much of B2B SaaS growth. It starts with a company-wide culture and mission to find and sell to best-fit customers and to provide a highly customized and responsive experience that builds trust between your teams and your customers. 

At every stage of the customer journey, your customers should be treated with respect and empathy, regardless of their individual responsibilities or tasks. Through effective execution of your customer success strategy, processes, data, and technology, you should be able to continuously monitor customer happiness and strive to improve it with every engagement. You should be able to gather feedback and use it to improve both products and services. Your ultimate goal is to build trust and develop brand loyalty and advocacy well beyond initial acquisition.

Retention should be a logical next step, not a big decision by your customers. It should be obvious that your product and teams are essential resources for their sustainable growth and development. By following the steps and recommendations in this Handbook, you'll be well on your way to consistently delivering an outstanding customer experience, retaining them, and expanding your impact together.

Go-To-Market Challenges
Challenge 1: You're attracting and closing the wrong customers.

From a poorly outlined opportunity to missing budget or buy-in, you might be going after the wrong companies.

How do you know which are the best fit for you? We'll explore how to make your data work for you.

Read more →

Challenge 2: Your customer team doesn’t seem to know your customers and their unique histories or status with your product.

Customers may receive conflicting messages or even false promises from Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success teams without proper coordination and sharing customer data.

Uncover how to unite data to get everyone the same context and other solutions.

Read more →

Challenge 3: You’re not sure if you have a retention problem.

You likely know if you're losing some of your biggest accounts, but how does your team start to uncover if retention is a more subtle issue?

If PLG is a big part of your strategy or you don't have a process for renewal, you might have bigger problems than you know.

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Challenge 4: You’re not sure what’s behind your retention problem.

Maybe you have lots of challenges to address and don't know where to start or you don't quite trust your data to tell you what you need to know.

Here are some thoughts for how to look deeper and start prioritizing projects for a solution.

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Challenge 5: You don't (or can't) deliver on your promises.

If your team isn’t aligned on what’s the most important work and how to talk about that throughout the journey, your customers might feel like they’ve gotten a bad deal and will be encouraged to look elsewhere to solve their problems.

Take a look at how your team is communicating and how your company can put the customer at the center.

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Product Challenges
Challenge 6: Your product has bugs customers believe you can’t fix.

If you're missing internal processes for communicating feedback from or messages back to customers, it can seem like your product is lacking.

Here are some issues and resources on how to support your customers.

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Challenge 7: Your product isn’t evolving fast enough to meet customer needs.

When the market seems to be moving faster than your product, you're likely to struggle to retain customers.

Consider strategies to support and involve customers.

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Challenge 8: Every update or new feature requires an upgrade.

Trust can erode with customers quickly when transparency is missing about available features or the onboarding process.

Take a look at what you can do to support great communication for your product and set expectations accordingly.

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Customer Experience Challenges
Challenge 9: Your customer onboarding is more of a tour than a tutorial.

Introducing new users to your tool is a critical time that shouldn’t be all about you, but showing how your product will make their lives better.

Explore how to offer a great experience that anticipates customer needs and shows you care.

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Challenge 10: It’s too hard for customers to get answers and provide feedback.

When customers feel left without support from your team or they're missing important product updates, they’re likely to start looking for a different solution.

By working to implement communication plans for different situations, your team will be ready for anything. Check out the resources for recommendations on how to get started.

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Challenge 11: Your response to customer questions is slow and ineffective.

It’s not just about having the channels of communication but responding in a way that makes your customers feel supported when they need help.

Optimize your response time with quantitative and qualitative data.

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Challenge 12: You don’t know how customers feel or what they want.

Getting to customer satisfaction is so much more than your Net Promoter Score.

How can you dig into the interactions to uncover helpful insights your team can use to better serve the market? Check out how to find the answers in your data.

Read more →

Challenge 13: Your customers aren’t achieving their desired goals and outcomes.

Your efforts with customers shouldn’t change simply because they signed a contract with you.

Knowing what to do after getting the signatures can help ensure your team is delivering the results that will make renewal a no-brainer.

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Challenge 14: Your customers think that it’s time for a change.

With the cost of replacing software, change for the sake of it isn’t a great business choice that your customers are taking for the fun of it.

Here are some ideas about how to avoid this happening and make sure your customers stay happy.

Read more →

We’d love to hear from you about what helped your team since we’ll be updating this resource and keeping it fresh with ideas from B2B professionals just like you.

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