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How To Use Market Research To Upsell To Your Existing Account

James Crowder | 23 November 2021


Despite the fact that acquiring new customers costs five times as much as retaining current customers, 44% of companies focus their efforts on attracting new business, compared to 18% that focus on customer retention. That says a lot about what businesses think is the better way to generate leads. Looking at the statistics, it’s surprising that marketing departments don’t focus more on upselling to existing accounts. Especially given that increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25-95%! Market research is another activity more commonly associated with prospect profiling than gathering data about your existing clients. Combine the data you already have about your client base with account-based marketing (ABM), and you’ve got a winning lead generation recipe.


Existing customers are also potential leads – and should be treated as such by marketing

Previously, everything that happened just before a sale and after a lead became a customer was the responsibility of the sales team. Account managers would be appointed to look after the interests of clients, while marketing focused on bringing new business in. But this paradigm is based on the assumption that existing customers are no longer leads. When, in fact, they are. Not only do their needs change over time, but if you keep them engaged, you’ve got the chance to market your other products or services to them.


ABM is the ideal strategy to apply to existing customers, as long as marketing and sales are aligned

ABM is the ideal strategy with which to upsell to these existing customers. You’ve already formed a relationship with them, and you have access to the kind of data (that’ll shape marketing messages) you simply can’t get from new leads. Instead of the sales team governing this process, marketing takes over – until the point that the customer is ready to buy again. This new spread of responsibility requires alignment between the sales and marketing teams to be effective.


Marketing data underpins the potential of an ABM strategy

Market research generates the data that’s so necessary for the success of ABM. Before a strategy is created for a specific account, relevant data must be gathered about that account. This includes everything from data about the company (turnover, number of employees, industry growth), the technology they use that might compete with your product, and how that account has previously interacted with your company. The more detailed the data, the better you can segment and personalise your strategy. Through market research and predictive analytics, you can get a sense of which account is most valuable, and which decision-makers in an account are most likely to control the buying decision, based on previous sales.


Analyse previous and current data about your target account to determine the best way to market to them

Once you’ve identified which existing account to focus on, conduct market research into the account itself. An understanding of the company and the account’s organisational structure and how each key decision-maker interplays with each other are important for crafting the relevant content and marketing messages that’ll nurture these accounts into repeat customers. You’ll already have information to draw on, but make sure this is updated to take into account changes that might influence your approach. For example, whether any key decision-makers have joined or left the account.


Analysing data collected about an account will elucidate cross or up-selling opportunities

Find out what problems the business is currently facing (this might have changed drastically since you first sold to them), whether they have any tenders up for renewal and what their competitors are doing – this will indicate any cross or up-selling opportunities. Based on your market research, you might also decide to target another department or sub-division of the company.


For an in-depth analysis of how account-based marketing can help your business generate more leads and conversions, download our guide:

ABM guide