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The Exact Time to Focus on Retention

Over the millennia of recorded history, numerous philosophers have pontificated on the importance of doing the right thing at the right time. For example, the Greek poet Hesiod advised, “Bring a wife home to your house when you are of the right age, not far short of 30 years, nor much above. This is the right time for marriage.”

The ancient philosopher Apollonius of Tyana believed, “As soldiers need not only courage but tactics also, so does a philosopher need not only courage and philosophy but discernment also, to tell what his right time of dying is—so that he neither seek it nor flee it.”

Then there was musician Pete Seeger, who said, “If I’ve got a talent, it’s for picking the right song at the right time for the right audience.”

And of course, the famous modern philosopher Taylor Swift pronounced, “I think every girl’s dream is to find a bad boy at the right time, when he wants to not be bad anymore.”

Clearly, timing is everything, whether you are talking about marriage, death, music, or dating.

B2B sales managers have a lot of timing struggles of their own. Most of them have far too much to do, and they have to balance a myriad of competing tasks. They have to find the right time to train the sales team. The right time to refresh the sales strategy. The right time to write account plans. The right time to update their technology. The right time to expand their team. The list goes on and on.

For most of these tasks, the “right time” will depend on individual circumstances. However, there is one task where it’s easy to define the “right time.” In fact, we’re so sure that we have the timing nailed for this particular task, that we’d like to add a quote of our own to the pantheon of accumulated human wisdom. Here it is:

The right time to focus on customer retention is before the customer leaves.

Obvious, right? But all too often, sales teams don’t think about customer retention until after the customer has left. And at that point, all they can do is shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, there’s not much we can do now.”

Sometimes B2B firms will excuse poor retention by telling themselves they couldn’t have known that customers were thinking of switching to a competing vendor. In fact, the reality is that most customers telegraph their intentions long before they defect.

But you won’t see it unless you are paying attention.

Do you have customers thinking about defecting? If you’re not sure (or if you think the answer might be yes), right now is the time to focus on customer retention.

If you’re just getting started learning about customer retention, listen to the express guide on Identifying Three Types of Customer Defection. You might also want to check out our research on How to Prevent Customer Defection and the webinar on How to Retain Your Key Customers.

In closing, we’ll leave you with just one more quote about good timing, this time from businessman Arnold H. Glasow: “Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.”

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