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November 17, 2020

Your Sales & Marketing Focus Is All Wrong!

current clients

When you think about sales & marketing, what comes to mind? For most business people… it’s about acquiring new clients – about building awareness in the markets or industries they serve, then generating sales leads that lead to new business.

And that’s wrong!

The fact is, when you think about sales & marketing, your first priority – the primary focus of your strategies and planning – should be to maintain and grow your current client base.

You can’t build a business on new clients only. The key to long-term success and growth is to maintain and grow your current client base, then supplement that with some new additions.

Why you should focus on current clients:

  • Dollars! According to a number of recent studies, it’s 5-25X more expensive to acquire a new client than to keep and grow an existing one. So, if you have limited staff and limited resources – and who doesn’t – then focusing on current clients makes smart financial sense.
  • It’s easier! In order for a buyer to get to the point that they will actually buy from you, they first have to get to know you, then like you, then trust It’s a long process that can take a new sales prospect a while to get through. Well guess what? Your current clients are already there! You’ve won that hard-fought relationship. Now all you need to do is leverage it.
  • Your work. Finally, unlike new prospects, current clients have actually had a chance to work with you… to see how good your work is and how talented your staff is. Prospects have to take your word for it.

How to focus on current clients:

  • Start with your largest clients. All clients matter… but big clients matter more. For each of your very largest clients, you should create a customized Key Account Plan. Develop customized plans and activities to broaden and deepen your relationship with each one of them.
  • Meet more people. One of the big risks with any client, but especially with the larger ones, is that your relationship is often dependent on just one person. And if that person leaves – which happens all too often – you lose that account. So, start now [literally] creating org charts of every client… your key contact, who they report to, who reports to them and who they work with in other departments. Then, go about getting to know as many of those people as possible and cultivating additional ‘champions,’ so that when your key contact does leave, the chance of you losing that client is dramatically diminished.
  • Cross-sell/upsell opportunities. By definition, the only opportunities for cross-selling and upselling are with current clients. And here’s the thing… doing it can actually enhance your relationship with the client. Here’s why… if you make a cross-sell or upsell recommendation to a client – and you do it because it will improve the outcome of the project – you’re showing the client that you care about his or her business… that you want what’s best for them. And your client will love you for it.
  • Selling help. Finally, with a strong current client base, you can leverage them to help you sell to new buyers. Current clients are the source for testimonials, referrals, references and case studies. And the more [happy] current clients you have, the more of these proof sources you can develop.

Looking ahead to 2021:

It’s almost the end of 2020 (Woo-Hoo!) and about time to start thinking ahead to next year. So, as you gather together your team to begin your sales & marketing planning for 2021, make sure the focus on current clients is your #1 priority. Once you have that strong, secure, core base of clients, you’ll have the ability – and the resources – to then go after new ones. Talk about a win-win!


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