Successful companies know the importance of attracting and recruiting new customers, retaining existing customers, and growing their relationships for long-term sustainability. A focus on customer expansion must be part of any successful growth marketing strategy in order to provide additional customer value and grow revenue.
What Is Customer Expansion?
Customer expansion is a way to get additional value from your existing customers, generate more revenue, and produce greater customer lifetime value (CLV).
In fact, it’s the most cost-effective way to generate additional revenue. You’ve already done the hardest part: customer acquisition. You’ve won the customers and established trust. Current customers have already invested in your products or solutions and accepted your value proposition. Getting your customer base to buy new products, upsells, or add-ons produces new opportunities to make a sale at a significantly more cost-effective price point for your marketing campaigns.
Customer expansion may be your biggest opportunity area in a volatile or down market. And whether or not we’re truly headed into a recession, expansion should always be a top-of-mind B2B marketing strategy. When you already have a relationship with a B2B customer, they’ll be more open to discussing additional opportunities, especially if your customer success team has done a good job of servicing them and maintaining contact.
The reality is, B2B marketing is inherently volatile, so mastering the craft of account expansion as a revenue generator can help maintain and grow your market share regardless of market conditions.
The Benefits of Customer Expansion
Customer acquisition costs (CAC) are among the biggest expenses for marketing teams. A customer expansion strategy reduces this expense by focusing on current customers rather than new customers. Acquiring new customers costs as much as five to 10 times more than selling to a current customer.
While you still need to tap new markets and attract potential customers, you should also have a marketing strategy that focuses on expansion revenue.
When you can get customers to buy additional features, products, or add-ons, your sales team can improve the growth potential by improving:
- Customer loyalty
- Customer retention
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer relationships
When you can get current customers to return and buy again, they also tend to spend more. On average, current customers spend 67% more than new ones.
Types of Customer Expansion
There are three main types of customer expansion:
Upselling is a customer expansion strategy designed to get customers to spend more or upgrade to higher levels of service on a product they already have, or have shown interest in. It might include higher tiers, more robust support packages, additional perks, or additional products. You might bundle services together or provide a higher level of service at an increased price.
Fast food and quick-serve restaurants have mastered this art: Would you like to supersize your order?
In B2B sales, demonstrating that other products or services you provide can better meet their needs or generate greater ROI can increase the average order value (AOV) and likely improve the overall customer experience.
Cross-selling focuses on getting customers to purchase related products. This might include products or services that complement or augment what they’re already buying.
Amazon’s recommendation engine generates nearly a third of the company’s retail revenue through its suggestions and “People also buy” product listings. In the fast-food world, it’s asking: would you like fries with that?
The same logic applies in B2B sales,and looking at the other products or services your customer bought can help you suggest additional items that may be of value as cross-sells.
Add-ons are similar to upselling and cross-selling but typically feature a specific related product. For example, an extended warranty on a piece of hardware presents an opportunity to increase revenue. In most cases, add-ons enhance the deal for the customer.
Challenges and Opportunities for Expansion
The biggest challenge in customer expansion is getting your customers to spend more. If you’re not careful, you can come off as pushy or focused on your needs rather than what the customer needs. The ultimate goal in any expansion strategy is to create additional customer demand and tighten the relationship so you can build long-term revenue opportunities.
It’s not so much about pushing your customers to spend more, and it’s important to keep your customer’s perspective in mind. It’s about creating additional value for the customer, which in turn generates more revenue. Expansion selling can broaden the relationship with your customer and open up different markets or new target markets, and create net new business opportunities as well.
Best Practices: Strategies for Customer Expansion
Here are some best practices and strategies for effective customer expansion.
1. Understand Your Customer
Whether you’re selling to small businesses or large enterprises, you must have a deep understanding of your target audience and their needs. While you would take different approaches depending on the customer, industry, and size, one thing remains the same. When you know their industry, you know their challenges on a daily basis. When you can present solutions and personalize the customer journey by focusing on solving your customer problems, you can significantly increase your odds of success.
Successful marketing campaigns focus on solving customer challenges and problems. It’s all about the benefits you can bring to the table and not the features your product includes.
2. Timing Is Crucial
A key for successful sales teams is to know when to ask for the sale. With customer expansion, it’s even more important. If you push too hard or too soon, it can be perceived as a cash grab, especially if customers haven’t been fully convinced of the value of your products or services.
Before you suggest upsells, or cross-sells, or add-ons, make sure you’ve sold them on the value.
3. Listening for Buying Signals
Marketing and sales teams must be adept at active listening throughout the buyer’s journey to recognize buying signals. This helps frame conversations and nurture prospects to move them to the next stage in the sales funnel. That comes from active listening and understanding the triggers that indicate customers are ready to move deeper into the funnel.
This also works in customer expansion strategies. While sales teams should always be seeding the pot by discussing the advantages of higher-tier products or complementary services, active listening can help determine when it’s the right time to try to close the deal.
4. Build Customer Expansion into Pricing Models
If you want to succeed at customer expansion, you’ll want to build it into your pricing models. For example, SaaS platforms may want to build pricing tiers based on users or usage. For example, an email marketing or texting platform might base prices on the number of emails or SMS texts sent each month.
This can be an especially effective approach because it allows customers to expand their relationship as their needs grow.
5. Leverage Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great tool for customer expansion because you know what customers need and how they are using your product. You can suggest compatible products or base expansion requests on customers’ usage.
Customer success managers can also use email marketing as a tool for renewals, reminding customers of the value of your products or services, and how they can make more effective use of them. For example, you might analyze a customer’s current results and suggest upsells or add-ons that can enhance what they’re doing.
6. Customer Segmentation and Personalization
Segmenting customers that have similar goals or behaviors can help create more customized expansion opportunities. You may find that certain customers in certain industries have different needs. This provides you with a value proposition for targeting expansion opportunities.
Understanding the customer lifecycle can also help. Using data to better understand how customers mature in using your products or services is key to providing the information you need to hit them at the right time with potential expansion offers.
Personalization is key to more effective B2B sales. The more you can segment your customers and personalize your approach, the more effective your marketing efforts will be. B2B companies that deliver a personalized experience across the entire buyer’s journey see 10% to 20% greater top-line growth, according to McKinsey. Thegreater the personalization, the more market share gains companies see.
Use Marketing and Sales Automation, Sales Orchestration
McKinsey also says it’s essential that you “personalize everything” you do during the buyer’s journey. However, it’s exceptionally difficult to personalize at scale if you’re not using the right marketing and sales automation and sales orchestration platform.
A report from Folloze and Demand Gen Report revealed that only a quarter of marketers felt they could drive growth at scale at each phase of the buyer’s journey.
Ask for Feedback
You should always be tracking customer opinions about your products and services, but one effective technique in customer expansion is to solicit specific feedback. When you find areas where customers think you can improve, you may be able to create additional feature sets or innovate new products that can be used as upsells, cross-sells, or add-ons.
Many SaaS platforms will select a group of customers to test out a new solution and provide an incentive for them to participate in exchange for feedback. This can be an effective way to introduce someone to a new product or feature before asking them to pay for it.
Land and Expand
Another strategy for customer expansion is called land and expand. You effectively land a customer with a low-priced introductory product. Over time, you build a relationship and then expand it with upsells, cross-sells, or add-ons.
Many B2B software companies offer free trials or freemium models to get customers to try out their offerings. Then, they work on expanding the relationship to generate more revenue.
Powering Your Customer Expansion Strategies
If you want to use customer expansion strategies effectively to grow your revenue, you need to engage and convert B2B buyers at the right time in the buyer’s journey. You need an easy way to segment your target audience and personalize your content at scale.
The Folloze Buyer Experience Platform empowers you to create rich, relevant, and data-driven campaigns that get results. Learn more about how Folloze can power your expansion strategies today by requesting a demo.