How to generate new business from your existing base

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Of course, this relates to your active, loyal customer base – that vital 20% on which your business relies on to stay buoyant and fluid. Often these customers take up most of your working day – and necessarily so – which often doesn’t leave much time to ‘up or cross-sell’. And on average it costs 5 times more to attract a new customer, than to retain an existing one. It makes commercial sense to generate more business from what customers you already have.

How much business are you leaving on the table?

I’d like to offer some ideas to increase revenue from your existing customer base.

I can almost say with certainty that your customers are being targeted as ‘prospects’ by your competitors – especially those with active marketing teams! The technology solution spectrum is so vast now – from the telecoms, to core network infrastructure and workspace solutions – and plenty of vendors and IT companies are in the mix selling a broad range of solutions.

Are you actively protecting your accounts?

Do your customers know what else they could be buying from you? You can’t assume they do. Existing customers will rarely check out your website to find out! This means you must tell them! So, how would we do this

  1. Know who you sell to and what they buy.
    As the very start we create a customer solution matrix – to understand where the gaps are, i.e. what you sell and what you could be selling to each customer. A relatively simple exercise – especially if you’re using a CRM that’s regularly updated.You need to understand your customer to know what else you can offer. How much value do you add to the customer, or are you in a ‘transactional’ relationship? How important are you to them? Do you have regular planning and brainstorming sessions with your customers to flesh out new ideas and potential solutions that address their business challenges? Can they live without you?
  2. Understand your value to your customer
    We’ve interviewed numerous end-users on behalf of our clients (for case study projects) – what a fantastic opportunity to gain insight. Time and again, what we hear when we ask the question “so, why do you work with X’” is that it’s because they add real value to their business. That they provide the technical expertise that enhances and enriches those in their team. That they take the time to research the very best solution fit, which they get right because they understand their business – both from a technology standpoint but also where they want to take it.Imagine what more you can sell if you have multiple contact touch-points throughout their organisation – and that you have ‘become an extension of my IT team”. That’s real account management.Now let’s integrate this with your marketing plan. A sales and marketing campaign that focuses on your existing customers.
  3. How marketing can help you increase business
    You have your customer matrix completed, so now we know exactly where to focus our efforts and to make your customer more loyal and, to turn a marketing phrase, make them more ‘sticky’.

    Build out campaigns that focus on the gaps identified – it could be that you added new skills and solutions to your portfolio since you first started working with your customer.

  • Send a regular customer newsletter – snappy, interesting updates about your business and vendors that you work with.
  • Run high ‘value’ educational events – (without the heavy sales patter). Discuss the latest innovations, technology updates from vendors, industry speakers and analysts. If you mix the attendees (customer and prospects) you will benefit from brand endorsement (if they are happy with you of course).
  • Show your appreciation. Invite customers to experience some corporate hospitality which is little more relaxed. You can even take advantage of the hospitality offered by the technology vendors such as Cisco, who for example sponsor a suite at the O2, which keeps the cost down.

And now what about those 80%? Maybe lapsed? Or only generate a small amount of revenue?


You can follow a similar campaign – there are obvious tweaks – however the start point is the same. You need to know who they are, what they bought/ or are buying and work through which organisations, which with some love and attention could become a valued revenue/deal generator for your business.

Look out for my next blog where I’ll discuss how to generate business from your social network.

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