What to do if you lose your biggest customer - and how digital marketing can help

For many SMEs and larger enterprises, losing a contract can change your business quite quickly.

We have been speaking with a large company lately who has a number of high value contracts that they rely on. They’ve recently lost one of these contracts and it’s clear that this has caused some damage to the stability of their revenue and their business.

You may have found yourself in a similar situation, where you have lost a high value contract you won a few years ago, perhaps with outdated sales techniques, and now you need to replace this contract but with the ‘new rules of selling’ in mind.

Many businesses struggle to switch their mindset to acquire new business, but making sure your business adapts and retains revenue is highly important for continued growth.

So how can you make sure you replace lost contracts with the ‘modern buyer’ in mind?


Understand how buyers use digital to find new suppliers

Buyers have changed.

New Suppliers

They may have changed since your last significant client acquisition, and so understanding how the modern buyer behaves and how they find suppliers can be really beneficial for you when you’re looking to replace a lost contract.

We’ve written a piece on the modern buyer but in short:

  • Buyers are consuming more content online
  • Buyers are conducting 74% of research (usually online) before making initial contact with a company
  • Buyers are not making decisions alone - they delegate research to office managers and colleagues (who are, in turn, conducting research online)
  • Buyers are becoming younger and may be more accustomed to the digital landscape

This may not fit the profile of the buyer that you expect, but shifting your sales techniques to accommodate for this change in behaviour will ensure that your process of acquiring new contracts puts the buyer’s needs first - and ultimately gives you a better chance of winning new business.


Use content and helpful guides to push prospects down the sales pipeline

Buyers are researching potential suppliers significantly more than they did a few years ago - and that’s mainly due to how accessible content is online.

Content & Guides

If a buyer has a question about a particular service or a potential supplier, they will usually carry out a quick Google search.

If your business provides an answer to a question that a buyer is asking online, they are going to be more likely to consider you as a supplier when the time comes to put together a shortlist.

Use content to influence potential buyers and you’ll be in a much better position to replace lost contracts.

We’ve written a content piece about how businesses can use content - along with a case study about how YTL, a telecommunications provider, use guides and downloads to enrich their sales process.


Personalise your sales outreach using data (and automate this) to secure new contracts

Use tools available online, like we do within our Active Websites package, that allow you to gather data about your prospects and understand what their needs are.

Use data

If a certain prospect has downloaded a guide on one niche service area that you provide, you know that this is area is what they are interested in - even before they make that initial enquiry.

This means that you can use insights to inform how you approach potential buyers - so that the advice you offer is relevant to them and customised around their specific needs.

You can also use a level of automation in this process so that you can spend your time on other areas of sales outreach and let technology do the initial qualification and nurturing stages.

If there is a lead on your email marketing list, you can send triggered emails depending on certain actions that your leads undertake.

For example, you can set an automated task that, when a lead downloads a guide on your website about data protection, you can automatically send another email promoting a guide on the Data Protection Act - which they may be interested in.

This is a basic level of automation and there are technologies available that allow for more advanced personalisation, but as long as your approach is relevant to the buyer, you can be sure you’ll have a better chance at securing new contracts.


Have you experienced the challenge of securing new contracts to replace lost ones?

This is a challenge for many businesses, across all sectors, but using modern tools available to you will give you an advantage over other businesses competing for the same contract.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the approach we undertake with our clients at finding new contracts, feel free to get in touch and a member of our team will be more than happy to have a chat with you.

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