The positive side of economic downturns is that they remind our companies to focus on what matters. A big part of that is your existing customer base. But too often, the reaction to economic hard times is to cling to our best customers and fight against churn.
Preventing churn is essential. Absolutely. But reacting to churn is about as conservative an approach as a revenue team can have. By being proactive to recognize churn—and actually emphasizing account expansion over simple account retention—you can take advantage of the current economic climate to continue mattering to your current customers.
(Going even further than account expansion to create new revenue streams also opens up opportunity in a downturn. Read about that in this twin article.)
This tough economic climate is your organization’s chance to re-evaluate how you build ICPs. Adopting new strategies now enables you to equip your revenue teams with the best targets for expansion and the best tools to stay ahead of churn, streamlining their efforts and maximizing your results.
Exegraphics build a better ICP.
Too often, an ICP fits in four or five bullets on a PowerPoint slide. These are usually firmographic indicators of a prospect’s industry, size, location or revenue—and are often ineffective ways of describing your actual best targets.
That’s why we at Rev developed exegraphics: pieces of information or characteristics that describe not only how a company looks, but also how it behaves. Our Sales Development Platform builds AI-driven ICPs that are complex and dynamic models of what makes your current best customers your best. Using our platform, you could build an aiCP that uncovers the exegraphic traits your past successful expansions share, in order to identify your best prospects for future growth within your existing customer base.
(Read our in-depth explorations of how exegraphics and aiCPs work.)
These cutting-edge tools equip B2B sales teams with more than gut feel and superficial information. In a downturn, you can’t afford to waste efforts on unlikely candidates. Identifying and analyzing companies that share exegraphic traits uncovers the most likely roster of current customers primed for expansion, and which ones need particular attention just to retain.
Optimize your approach to account expansion.
In tough times, customers are often tightening their belts, and upselling is not always a strategic move. But exegraphic data can demonstrate the trends for the accounts that have already expanded, looking behind the curtain at information that may not be apparent to human eyes.
For instance: an account manager can see a new CTO as an opportunity for that organization to adopt some new technology. But that account manager likely won’t know what’s happening with staffing at other levels, and it may be that a tech team scaling more rapidly than the rest of the organization is a much better predictor for adopting new tech than a recent executive hire.
A natural tendency for account expansion is to simply target accounts that are “most friendly,” “highest spending” or “high activity,” but those labels don’t address whether the customer has other problems that your product suite can solve. (Many customers don’t even know what all your offerings are!) Identifying exegraphic predictors for adopting new tech among your current customer base is far more likely to bear fruit than these more superficial indicators.
It also makes sense to create an aiCP for each one of your products or services. Getting granular about not only who is ripe for expansion, but who is ripe for expansion in which direction, keeps your aim centered and results in more successful targeting.
Depending on the size of your customer base, it might also be important to segment existing accounts into 1:1, 1:few or 1:many engagement plans, according to their exegraphic matches. This segmentation enables account managers to spend the most time with customers that are high-fit for expansion opportunities.
No matter the scale and complexity of your offerings, the granular insights provided by exegraphic data are wildly useful for identifying which current accounts are ripe for upsells and expansion—because on an operational level, your product will address a need that your current customers are likely already experiencing, whether they realize it or not.
Identify early signals to stay ahead of churn.
Likewise, it’s critical to stay alert for the inverse—changing exegraphics that signal a company’s likelihood of moving away from your product or service.
Churn happens for a whole plethora of reasons. Companies downsize in tough economic times; they also pivot in new directions and evaluate what products and services to keep on board as they scale.
Unless your company is a real unicorn, you have experienced churn. Use that experience to your advantage! Examine the customers you’ve lost before. This exegraphic data, which inherently changes as a company evolves, can reveal traits common to your lost accounts—as well as early signals that you can now anticipate in your current account base.
Of course, you cannot keep every account forever. But imagine the power of your revenue team being able to connect with changing companies and address their needs and pain points before they even consider shifting away from your products. Perhaps they need expansion; perhaps they need to convert to a different offering, or to turn particular features on and off.
At the very least, these accounts experience your team engaging with them as they grow, responding to both internal and external changes, attempting to tailor their engagement with their product to reflect their current reality. That alone can retain certain businesses, and it also makes them more likely to trust in your ongoing responsiveness.
Being proactive in this way is a powerful approach for reducing churn and sticking with companies as they transition.
Final thoughts: Play offense.
Economic tough times often inspire revenue teams to get picky. It’s a defensive approach: save resources, exert sparingly. But getting smart about resources can also mean getting ever more efficient in their use to hone and sharpen your revenue ops.
So many competitors are playing defense that you can go on the offense. It’s a matter of being responsive instead of reactive. You recognize that resources are tighter for everyone right now, so offer the expansions that make sense to your customers (whether they realize it or not), and provide value for the customers you want to retain.
After all, every dollar matters in this and other hard times—so make yourself count now, for the benefit of your customers, and you’ll still matter to them when times turn around again.
Get a view into the exegrachics behind your best customers. Contact us and we’ll show you what your aiCP looks like.