Have you made personal and professional New Year resolutions yet, in the spirit of the season? I’ll leave the personal ones to you. Professionally, New Year resolutions—or at least specific and measurable goals for 2012—are of critical importance, especially in today’s dynamic and often disconcerting business environment. Here are a few suggestions you might want to take into consideration.
- Are you making the most of your existing customer base? Common wisdom says that mining existing customers for more business costs six times less than acquiring a new customer, yet many businesses place an undue amount of focus on customer acquisition, letting customer retention/expansion efforts fall to the back burner. Do the research on your best customers. What are they doing differently these days? What are the key trends in their respective industries? Who are you working with inside each company, and how can you best expand beyond those group(s)? Don’t let valuable existing customer relationships languish. Make sure they know about the full range of your offerings, and don’t be shy about asking your best contacts for internal references.
- Another way to grow revenues is to work on growing the average revenue per sale for your business. Make sure your customers and prospects know about all the great things you do. Perhaps they are using someone else for non-print work that you could handle to provide them with an integrated cross-media source. Or perhaps they haven’t moved into cross-media in a big way, leaving a big opportunity door open for you. Customers aren’t mind readers, and they don’t sit in your strategy meetings. If you don’t aggressively reach out and touch someone at those accounts, how will they know who to call when new projects pop up? Make sure you have the right cross-media tools in your 2012 toolkit that can add significant revenue—and margin—to print-only customer deals you might be doing today.
- Related to the suggestions above is the idea of building ongoing relationships that deliver recurring revenues. These solutions-based (rather than transactional) relationships deliver a huge benefit to your business, not the least of which is a reduced cost of sales. Take the hunter/farmer approach—your best sales people should be uncovering new opportunities and working them into an annuity revenue perspective. Much of the ongoing touch points can then be handled by your customer support team, leaving the sales “hunters” to move on to the next target. Don’t forget, though—those hunters still need to retain at least a modicum of a relationship with existing customers! While they may not be the primary contact anymore, they can’t abandon them. They should show up periodically to see how things are going and to “hunt” for even more projects!
These are just a few ideas for those 2012 New Year resolutions to keep your business strong and healthy this year and beyond. If you haven’t already done so, sit down with your team and flesh out your growth plan, building on these ideas with the great ideas your team can surely come up with. Make 2012 your best cross-media year ever!
For more great ideas and discussion about how to have a successful 2012 as a print and/or marketing services provider, tune in to the joint PODi/MindFireInc webinar on January 18th. You might also want to check out this Industry Week article: New Year’s Resolutions for Every Manager: Six suggestions guaranteed to improve performance in almost any workplace. While not cross-media specific, they are great teambuilding suggestions that can only enhance your ability to delight your customers.