The Benefits of Marketing to Your Existing Customers

Sales professionals put a ton of effort into lead generation. Nurturing leads by marketing, selling and closing customers is the bread and butter. Often, we’re missing out on opportunities by ignoring the customers we already have. There is plenty to gain by marketing to existing customers. In fact, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, whereas the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5 to 20 percent.

Not only are the numbers in your favor but your history with the client is also on your side. By knowing the ins and outs of the customer’s needs you have that ability to propose a really tailored solution to meet their needs.

“By delivering additional value with complimentary products or services, we receive more profit. We are in the business of solving people’s problems for profit,” says Vendasta Chief Customer Officer George Leith.

Studies show 65 percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers, but most only spend 21 percent of their marketing budgets on customers they already have. So where do we need to focus our efforts when it comes to marketing the customers we already have? Here are some foundational points in the customer journey to zero in on. 

Table of Contents

Before marketing to existing customers, re-discover 

Before you market to existing customers, re-evaluate who it is you’re marketing to. Ask questions like:

  • What do they buy? When? 
  • How much do they spend? 
  • Are they motivated by discount, do they willingly pay full price or a combination of both?
  • What might be the unconsidered need?


Don’t be afraid to get critical and present something that your customer might not want to hear. By avoiding unconsidered need, Leith suggests sales professionals can put that relationship at risk.

I find a lot of sales professionals don’t want to upset that apple cart, and just stick with maintaining the status quo with their clients as it sits. What happens then is you leave the door open for them to find a solution you already offer from one of your competitors.

George Leith

Chief Customer Officer, Vendasta

“A competitor will appear more innovative, because you’re still selling the same package to your client that you sold to them 14 months ago. There’s no progress in that approach and you haven’t provided any additional value.”

Marketing to existing customers in the retention stage 

The post-sale period is the most critical test of the customer’s relationship with your brand. You’ve sold them, but now you have to keep them. If you don’t roll out the red carpet and wow them, that relationship can go south.

It’s all about their interactions with your product or service that will either turn them into advocates or walking examples of why someone else shouldn’t buy from you. 92 percent of people trust recommendations from someone they know as well as trust warnings to avoid wasting time on a business if the experience was lacking. 

Tactics for marketing to existing customers in the retention stage:

  • Plenty of follow-up calls and emails offering customer support
  • Ensure your customer is added onto a predefined series of onboarding emails
  • Sharing product-focused, tutorial style blogs, videos, webinars to add value
  • Get feedback, send surveys and lean on the front-line staff to keep a pulse on opportunity
It’s not always about the upsell, and it’s not always about more commission, but it is about making sure that that client is able to compete. And what you’re doing is you’re protecting the base revenue that you have.
George Leith

Chief Customer Officer, Vendasta

Marketing to existing customers in the advocacy stage 

Advocacy is when you’ve reached the stage where your customer loves you, your product and they’re ready to tell the world.

“I believe that you have a moral obligation to that customer to continue to help grow their business, to continue to offer them new solutions so that they can win the battle that they have against their competitors.

“Being a trusted consultant is like landing a plane. The first thing a flying instructor will teach you is how to land. You don’t look at the ground because you will crash, you look at the horizon. And that’s what outcome-based selling is all about. Looking down the road at the horizon and selling an outcome rather than keeping your eyes locks on the pavement. That is how you can bring value,” Leith says.

Final Thoughts

According to Leith it’s the continued and focused attention to your existing book of business that will help you overcome many of the obstacles we face in today’s fiercely competitive landscape.

“We are all collectively doing business in one of the most competitive environments we have ever faced in the history of entrepreneurialism.

“To be that trusted expert, you can’t just be in it to get the sale and then disappear into the ether. Be the trusted expert every single minute and for each interaction you have with your clients long term.”

About the Author

Nicole Lauzon is a Content Marketing Manager at Vendasta and has spent the last decade of her career helping local businesses tell their stories. Kickstarting her professional journey as a writer and producer for a major Canadian television network, Nicole would later spend five years as a PR Agency Creative Director, managing brand journalism, social media, blog and video content for corporate, non-profit and local business clients. Whether Nicole is marinating over her next piece of writing or enjoying some down time with her family, she likes doing it in floral print.

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