Client expansion is the bird-in-the-hand approach to B2B enterprise growth. Just as the proverb implies, there is a lot of potential in the assets you already influence. The digitization of business has changed the way SaaS and subscription enterprises derive value from their customers and given rise to a mutually beneficial model. Your ability to grow revenue is dependent in part on your ability to discover new successes for your existing clients, retain their business, and maximize their customer lifetime value.
The best B2B client expansion strategies achieve this by creating more value for customers—value that they will be willing to pay for. To do this, your business will need to:
- Show Value Quickly
- Leverage Voice of Customer Feedback
- Review and Enhance Features
- Create Personalized Offers
- Provide Your Team with the Right Data
- Invest in the Right Software
The goal is to help your customers realize their full potential by giving them the right solutions and guidance to succeed.
What Is Client Expansion?
Client expansion is a way of maximizing your existing assets. Rather than—or along with—increasing your revenue base by pursuing new customers, you encourage current customers to expand their license agreement, purchase additional features, renew at a higher rate, or extend the use of your platform across their enterprise.
In a customer-centric world, this expansion functions as a natural progression of your relationship. You generate additional resources by proactively providing your customers with additional value. The challenge is to provide the kind of service and value your customers will want and need more of.
Always Be Ready for Opportunity
The opportunity for expansion can arise at any time throughout the customer journey. Proactively providing value is dependent on a clear understanding of your customer’s goals and the solutions they’re expecting from your product.
Understanding customer behavior is vital to the process because your customer will be more responsive to potential expansion when that action truly adds value by supporting a logical progression. You cannot schedule an upsell engagement at a predetermined time in the customer journey. Instead, you have to watch for a need to arise and then proactively fill it.
6 Ways to Drive Client Expansion
The right customer success software will alert you to the opportunity to drive client expansion, but you need to act quickly in order to capitalize when the circumstances are right.
The following best practices will let you prime your customers for expansion and then help them make the leap to a better way of working.
1. Show Value Quickly
You can give your customer their first glimpse of value as they are being introduced to your product. A good onboarding process provides a practical demonstration of how your product will help your customers achieve their business goals. Onboarding should be smooth and easy and get customers using your product the way it was meant to be used as quickly as possible. The sooner you can teach customers to integrate your offering into their daily workflows, the sooner they will start to realize that value for themselves.
One way to get customers to value quickly is to follow the “freemium” model, offering limited access to a free version of your product. Customers who have success with the product will come to the limits of its capacity and ability and will seek more space, licenses, and features to expand on their positive results.
2. Leverage Voice of Customer Feedback
Gathering Voice of the Customer (VoC) feedback is important, and acting on that information is equally important. Customers who feel their feedback is actively being used to increase the value they gain from your product are more likely to invest in that product.
Giving your customers the opportunity and means to communicate directly with you improves your product and their use of it. Their feedback can tell you what support they need to progress with their product use. That support could take the form of additional training or materials such as webinars, or it could be an in-product solution that doubles as a ready upsell. VoC data can also tell you who your strongest advocates are, giving you the opportunity to target them for an online review, feature them in a case study, or ask them to take a call with a prospect.
3. Review and Enhance Features
In addition to listening to what your customers have to say, you can also learn about their needs by observing their behavior. The right customer success metrics will reveal how a customer is using your product and provide an opportunity for you to proactively increase the value of your product.
To make the data you need to understand product usage easily accessible, you’ll need a customer data platform that collects information from multiple sources, brings it together in a hub, and provides context for that data. Your customer data platform should make it easy for anyone, whether on your Customer Success team or your Product team, to access customer data. Remaining agile lets you move in whichever direction best suits your customer amid changing market conditions, unexpected growth opportunities, or a surge in demand.
4. Create Personalized Offers
Customers will only be interested in expanding if the opportunity offers them the right kind of solution for their needs. The same agility that helps you rapidly respond to customer behaviors and market conditions can also allow you to create the perfect offering for each expansion situation. Growth will drive some customers in search of extra license seats, for example, while others will need more storage capacity, and still others might want to pursue additional features as they seek to expand their customer base.
The customer knowledge you gain from data collection should help you create an expansion solution before your customer even knows they are in need of one.
5. Provide Your Team with the Right Data
Every company deploys responsibility for customer expansion differently. Some prefer to have it fall to their customer success managers, while at other businesses, expansion is taken care of by the sales team. What really matters is that the person charged with capitalizing on expansion opportunities has an intimate knowledge of the customer.
A customer-centric team is one that shares customer information across the enterprise. Everyone who engages with a customer, whether the Customer Success team or sales, needs to know their demographics, their goals, and the state of customer health and engagement. Expansion is the result of a positive customer experience, and your enterprise should speak with one voice and carry on one seamless conversation by having the data they need at their fingertips at all times.
6. Invest in the Right Software
It’s impossible to maintain a continuity of experience for the customer unless your entire enterprise has access to the same comprehensive information. Your customer success software forms the backbone of your expansion efforts by collecting and analyzing customer information from a wide range of sources and then turning it into actionable alerts and suggestions for next steps for your CS team. With the right solution, your team can deliver business outcomes at every stage of the customer journey so that you are constantly providing additional value.
Customer success software provides the environment within which all of the client expansion best practices above thrive. It helps you prepare your customer for expansion by guiding their progress and then lets you capitalize on the opportunity by identifying and initiating responses to customer needs quickly.
Client Expansion Is a Better Future
The strategies above help your Customer Success team focus not just on retaining customers, but on ensuring that they take advantage of additional opportunities that support their success. Client expansion works when you can use a customer’s history to tell a new story about their future. Begin by building on what they have achieved to date and demonstrate how that potential can be maximized through the usage of your product and your expertise.
It is not about convincing a customer to spend more resources, it is about showing them a practical path to a more successful future.
In these challenging times, you can’t afford to buy before you try. Get started for free today. Totango’s customer success platform gives you the ability to spot expansion opportunities and easily capitalize on them.