Understanding Your Customer Lifecycle
It costs as much to keep a sick horse as it does a healthy one.
I was told that years ago, working for a former A-Circuit rider now running an equestrian stable. At the time I understood the logic and thought process behind it, but of course it pulled at my soul and heart strings, thinking an older horse (in this case, quite literally) was being replaced with a younger, more healthy one. I get it, I understand, but the human part was missing.
Years later, in the business setting, that phrase keeps coming back to mind, with with a completely different perspective.
We talk a lot about age of leads, customers, repeat buyers, and customer funnel. But what happens once the customers have completed the initial cycle? Do you have a process and funnel for them after that?
If you’re like most companies, you likely have a process to follow up after the initial purchase (or whatever your converted engagement looks like), and a continued, likely automated process, to re-engage.
But do you really have a process? Do they remain in your cycle forever? If they get so far into your funnel but don’t convert, how long do they stay in your re-engagement loop?
It’s Time for an Intervention
Chances are you need an intervention, because you’re hoarding. Sure, you paid a lot for the lead, worked to get the customer to engage and hopefully convert, but then the interaction process ended, either successfully or less so.
Do you know what those inactive contacts are costing you? Time and resources, follow up, management, even storage costs, all these drain productivity from your organization.
Focus on What Works
You know about the 80/20, where 20% of your customers represent 80% of your business. Find that balance. Figure out who those customers are and when those customers purchase. Chance are, it’s not the mix you thought. Once you find that, focus 80% of your efforts on those customers, and the timing. Do NOT ignore the other 20%, just be sure to dedicate the right resources and effort to them.
And put an end to your process. It is ok to let go of non-producing leads. Chances are they will NOT one day come to life, and if they did, do they really need to already be in your system? They’ve probably forgotten about you, you say, so you want to stay in touch, just to remind them. But you found each other before. You’ll find each other again. So you paid $50 in advertising costs to get them the first time, and may have to pay another $50 to get them again when they’re ready. But that first $50, was wasted. It didn’t return anything beyond costs to your business. Let them go.
Then, and only then, will you be able to really do an ROI assessment on your marketing efforts, and make those work harder up front, to get better qualified leads.
An Interested Lead is not a Qualified Lead
And by the way, that horse …. despite being older and not of optimum health, the owner, despite her cold exterior, kept her in her stable and doted on her, because she was more than a product, she was a family member.
Just be sure you keep your sentiments in check in business.