For many organizations, the customer life cycle is only limited to purchasing, when the reality is much more complex. And it is this complexity that makes it possible to identify various opportunities that, if exploited, will increase the chances of repeating the cycle consistently. Therefore, knowing and taking advantage of the stages of the customer life cycle should be a goal of any organization. Jorge Zuñiga Blanco, an entrepreneur and sales expert from Costa Rica, explains the different stages of the sales cycle and how to make them work best.
The customer sales lifecycle includes stages or phases that describe the relationship of a client with a company. They are divided into six sections, knowledge, acquisition, conversion, growth, retention and reactivation. Knowledge, also known as awareness, is the first contact of a potential customer with the brand. Although it seems simple, it is a challenge for starting companies, so they must rely on multichannel actions to generate that encounter. Traditional advertising, blogs, email marketing and content marketing will be some strategies to implement in this first phase.
In the acquisition stage of the customer’s lifecycle, the company must promote actions that invite testing of the product or service. Here, the communication effort is greater, and the message must be more forceful, emphasizing its added value. Free trials are one of the most common strategies in this phase.
In the conversion phase, the customer already knows the product, but has not yet bought it, so the actions are aimed at selling, either under the traditional paradigm (seller in a physical store or telemarketing), or under a digital scheme (landing pages, actions in social networks, etc.)
The next stage is growth. Explains Zuñiga, “In this phase of the customer’s lifecycle, the sale has already been finalized. Now, the actions are aimed at deepening the relationship with the customer to better understand their needs. Segmentation is key in this phase to develop strategies tailored to the needs of each client, and offer products and services designed for them.”
For many companies, the customer life cycle ends with retention. Your needs have already been met, and therefore, you stop shopping. Or you have found a new alternative that offers more value to your purchase and is leaving the relationship with the brand.
To prevent this from happening, it is key to work on identifying the customer with the brand beyond a commercial transaction. Loyalty programs and exclusive promotions are some strategies at this stage.
The objective of the reactivation phase is to recover those who were once clients of the company. To achieve this, it is vital to understand the reasons why they stopped buying. From there, strategies can be generated that improve the previous conditions so that they are attractive for the client in the present.
It’s possible to extend its life cycle and retain it longer, with four strategies helping achieve this objective. The first is to always be present. Says Zuñiga, “Your goal is to always be in the mind of the consumer. Maybe he is not going to buy from you today, but when he needs a product, he will go to the last one he had in mind, no matter how satisfied he is with yours.”
Being always present is important, but it is also important to know what customers want; listen. If you are able to detect their needs and desires, you will be able to approach the customer in the most successful way possible, which can bring many more benefits beyond the purchase: loyalty and falling in love.
As we have already seen, getting new customers is much more expensive than keeping existing ones. That is why you, as an organization, are interested in creating strong links that, later, can turn into sales. Make your customers feel special by personalizing your communications or giving them the opportunity of a new product first, for example.
Finally, a good way to be present, to listen and to create strong bonds is through loyalty programs. Thank your customers for buying from you and reward them for their loyalty with promotions and access to exclusives. That will provoke, even more, a feeling of belonging and that they want to continue choosing you. You have to make them feel like an exclusive customer. The key is to create added value at all times.