The sales and marketing funnel is considered a one-way street for too many companies. Get in front of a prospect, convert them to a lead, qualify the opportunity, and close the deal. The marketing and sales teams are equally guilty of this one direction thinking. Acquisition is all that matters, retention will be left to later.

If your marketing funnel has a start and finish, you’re missing the real revenue opportunity.

Everyone needs to acquire new customers to grow their business. However, you’re missing significant revenue opportunities if you forget to include your current customers in your communications strategy.

Extending the traditional sales and marketing funnel

Typically, marketers think about what it will take to engage a prospect as they’re researching a new purchase. The marketing team will look at how to help the prospect answer their key questions and convert that prospect into a new customer.

Great, you have a new customer but now what? If you don’t keep your customers engaged, then you’ve put all of this effort in for nothing.

The number one thing missing:
Including loyalty and renewal in your communications strategy

Did I make the right decision?
– your Customer

In their article “It’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Em,” Inc. Magazine talked about the issues that many companies face as they grow. As they build up their customer base, their acquisition costs also tend to increase. This means these companies need to retain these customers longer to recoup the acquisition costs to be profitable. So the old adage ‘it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one’ still rings true.

How to build retention into your sales and marketing funnel

Think about your lead nurturing as a process to acquire a new customer and help you retain and upsell existing customers. This means you must develop a long-term communications strategy integrated with the entire customer lifecycle from prospective buyers to new business to loyal customers.

The New Marketing Funnel

Check out these easy steps to engage customers in your marketing funnel while leveraging content you’re developing for your prospects:

1 Create a “best of the blog” customer communication

Newsletters can be time-consuming to create, so leverage the work you’re already doing by sharing your great blog content in summary format. If your customers find it interesting, they can click through to read the full articles.

2Give them your latest and greatest

Give your customers easy access to your new premium content pieces as you release them. If you’re using a marketing automation system like HubSpot, you can use the “Smart Tools” to give your customers access without requiring a form completion.

3 Invite them to join you

Many companies understand the importance of creating content and developing their thought leadership. If you’re holding a webinar, speaking at a conference or teaching a seminar, let your customers know. They may be interested in attending as well.

These combined activities will keep your customers engaged in the value you create and the new offerings you’re releasing. You’ll find that more than a few of your current customers will be interested in looking at that new demo.

So remember your current customers are actually the most likely to buy again, so nurture them as well.