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Only about 1 in 8 marketers (13%) believe that they’re realizing the full revenue potential of their existing customers, according to a study from the CMO Council and Sendwithus [download page]. The report, which is based on a survey of 179 senior marketing leaders, primarily at B2B and hybrid B2B and B2C companies, delves into the strategies respondents are using to realize greater revenue and profitability from existing customers.

There are two strategies that stand out in the results:

  • Delivering more personalized and relevant customer communications across all points of interaction (as cited by 64%); and
  • Finding new ways to upsell and cross-sell to existing customers (also cited by 64%).

As relates to the first result, the analysts point out that marketers should employ the same data-driven engagement strategies used for acquisition to also reach and interact with their existing customers.

Meanwhile, as relates to the second result, a collaborative approach may help. In research released last year, one of the main best practices identified for B2B revenue growth was coordinated upsell efforts involving marketing and sales collaboration after the initial sale. The research results indicated that only a bare majority (55%) of B2B marketing decision-makers were using both teams in a collaborative manner to grow revenues.

This latest study suggests that it may be difficult for marketing leaders to behave in such a collaborative manner: just 13% reported that their current state of communication collaboration is a centralized platform that allows for creation, iteration and enhancement. In other words, while communication is a central strategy for upselling existing customers, the collaboration needed to produce such communication is lacking.

Considering that only a minority of B2B marketers and salespeople feel that they’re maximizing the revenue potential of their major accounts, stakeholder alignment appears to be an important factor.

Other Study Highlights

  • Many marketers are having difficulty leveraging transactional emails, whether that’s because they’re developed outside of marketing (22%) or because they’re struggling to connect and align with teams deploying them (12%). Another 30% aren’t using transactional emails to further relationships, instead only using them to affirm choices.
  • When asked how they segment customers, marketers were most likely to say they did so based on propensity to purchase (63%), while almost as many said they use behavioral data (61%). A majority also turn to geographic data (54%) and transactional requests (51%).
  • Marketers believe they’ll make the greatest impact on their businesses by optimizing customer retention and loyalty (66%) and by boosting upsell and cross-sell engagements and revenue (56%).

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 179 senior marketing leaders across a range of industries, the majority (59%) of whom are located in North America. Some 55% come from companies with more than $250 million revenues, including 34% from companies with more than $1 billion in revenue. Respondents came primarily from B2B (43%) and hybrid (43%) companies, with the remaining 14% being B2C-focused.

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