Have you heard of the quote “it takes months to find a customer… and seconds to lose one” by Vince Lombardi?

What about “building a good customer relationship doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by design” by Clare Muscett?

If not, we’re sure you’ve heard a similar sentiment before. And it’s all down to one reason… it’s absolutely true.

Customers should ultimately be at the forefront of any approach you take to your product marketing strategy. Without customers, you’d have no sales, and without sales, you’d have no business.

So, it’s incredibly important to continually think about your customers when marketing your product, and build relationships with them to improve your overall company reputation and success.

In this article, we’re focusing on an approach that prioritizes this idea: Customer relationship marketing (CRM*). We’re going to be looking at:

*CRM is an acronym also used for Customer Relationship Management.

What is customer relationship marketing?

Pretty much what it says on the tin, customer relationship marketing is a strategy that companies use to center their business and product marketing efforts around customer relationships and customer loyalty.

The approach focuses on using customer feedback and data to optimize product marketing. It ensures that the customer experience is the best it can be to strengthen and lengthen these relationships, to draw in the most sales and increase retention rates.

Why is customer relationship marketing important?

Customer relationship marketing not only develops these long-term relationships with their customers, but establishes a good brand reputation for businesses to attract even more customers.

Improve customer retention

By making an obvious effort to strengthen your relationships with your current customers, you’re showing them that you value and appreciate their continued patronage. With this, it’s more likely that they’ll feel loyal to your business and stay a customer.

But why is this so beneficial?

Gareth Watkins wrote an awesome article for us on how to retain more customers. In the article, he says “increasing customer retention by 5% could increase your profits by anywhere from 25% to 95%. Retaining customers is significantly cheaper than finding new ones and your accountant will be glad of the consistent, often predictable income.”

Increase the chance of referrals/recommendations

Nowadays, your consumers have a much bigger influence on how your brand is perceived, with the rise of social media, internet forums, and review sites. So, if your current customers are happy with their experience with your product and your business, they’re more likely to tell others about it, which can then drive sales and increase your customer base.

Reduce marketing spend

Encouraging reviews and recommendations can be referred to as “buzz marketing” and is about relying on your customers to give positive recommendations and do their own marketing for your product and brand. This can be really handy in helping you to reduce your marketing and advertising costs.

Increase the customer lifetime value

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a metric used to measure the overall revenue a company can expect from a customer throughout their entire relationship. If more customers feel loyal to your brand and make repeat purchases, your CLV will increase.

How to optimize your customer relationships

There are many ways in which you can improve your customer relationship marketing strategy.

Be authentic and accessible

When asked if he had any tips for building strong customer relationships, Esben Friis-Jensen, Co-Founder and CGO at Userflow said simply, “I think the main thing is to be authentic and act with integrity.”

Be dedicated to improving your customer experience by addressing and acting on customer issues, including any shortcomings they may find with your product. This helps strengthen the relationship with your customer because they’ll then know your company wants your product to be accessible, that their experience with it is important to you, and that you’re not looking purely for that first purchase.

Collaborate and communicate with your customer success team

Collaborating and communicating with internal teams is vital in running a successful company because different teams are going to have different experiences and knowledge over certain areas.

Your customer success and support teams are constantly working on the frontline and engaging with your customers on a daily basis. So, they’re going to have a lot of information that’ll be necessary for you to improve your customer relationship marketing strategy.

Susanna Bogardus, a Product Marketer at 360Learning said it best:

“Your customer success or support team can likely point you toward customers that already have a good relationship with the company. From there, knowing as much as you can about the customer's history when you engage with them will build a lot of trust.”

Holding regular meetings and workshops with your customer success and support teams is a great way to ensure that you’re gathering the right information, and will also improve your relationship with them knowing that you’re taking time out of your day to talk and improve your organization together.

Gather customer feedback

What better way to garner a positive relationship with your customers by simply going to them for first-hand knowledge and opinions on your product and services

Gathering customer feedback through surveys, polls, and phone calls is a must for any company looking to improve their customer experience, and creating better products and services in general. Plus, by actively researching and going to your customers first hand, you’re showing that their opinions are valuable, which will only improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and relationship.

There are many different methods of gathering customer feedback, and each have their own benefits and drawbacks. It’s up to you to know your customers and which they’d prefer. Here are a few examples:

  • Long form surveys
  • Short in-app surveys
  • Customer satisfaction score surveys (CSAT)
  • Website feedback popup widgets
  • Customer interviews

Create customer advocacy boards

Customer advocacy boards (CABs) have many advantages but in this instance they help you to ensure that your customers’ experiences are validated. They’ll also help you create your own customer advocates who’ll become champions for your company/product and help to market your product to target audiences.

Enroll in our CABs Certified: Masters course, taught by leading expert and Head of Global Customer Marketing at Dropbox Bree Bunzel, to build successful customer advocacy boards, understand key CABs metrics, and plenty more.

Invest in employee training

Equipping others within your organization with the knowledge and tools to improve their own relationships with your customers will ultimately benefit how your customers view your entire company - it’s a team effort after all!

At Product Marketing Alliance, we have plenty of different courses and certifications that you can take to further improve your strategies around customer relationships - we also do team rates so your whole department can get involved and increase their knowledge, too.

Improve first call resolution rate

A first call resolution rate (FCR) is a metric used to measure a company’s ability to resolve a customer’s issue, question etc. A successful FCR would mean that the customer was happy with the answer or solution you provided, and that no follow up was necessary.

One of the ways you can ensure that the call was successful is by ending with the question “have I fully resolved your issue?” This way, you can gauge whether the customer is satisfied with the help you or a team member provided, and ultimately goes towards improving the FCR rate, and your relationship with the customer.

Offer discounts or bonuses to long-time or repeat customers

Offering discounts or bonuses as a kind of “thank you” to long time or repeat customers will show them how much you value their patronage, and encourage them to return again. It also increases the likelihood that they’ll share this show of gratitude with prospective customers, which then increases the likelihood that you’ll gain a larger, loyal customer base.

Leverage software to increase efficiency

There are many different CRM software tools that you can use to build your customer relationships further. They have different approaches for effectively the same outcome: strengthening your relationships with your customers.

Here’s a list of some of the tools you can leverage to help optimize your customer relationships:

  • Salesforce
  • Hubspot
  • Microsoft dynamics 365
  • Zoho
  • Pipeline
  • Sage
  • Sugar CRM
  • SAP
  • Creatio

Want to learn more?

Product marketing is and always will be a customer-centric role. A core part of your job is to value the voice of the customer and advocate for their wants, needs, and pain points. It’s your responsibility to make them feel heard. As such, customer marketing is an integral part of what you need to do to stay true to this.

The Customer Marketing Certified: Core course has been designed to give you invaluable, practical insights into streamlining your customer marketing approach so that you can ensure that:

😄 Your customers are happy,

💪 Your products are the best they truly can be,

🙌 Your brand reputation is consistently positive, and

📈 That you bring in increased revenue for your organization.

Get Customer Marketing Certified