Successfully Growing your clients- The ‘How’ behind growing your clients.

bhaskar Bose- Managing director, Meltwater India

Part 1 of this two-part series, ‘Successfully managing your clients’ highlighted the concept of client growth and its metrics. As discussed previously, client growth in any business is a result of client acquisition and client retention. This part focuses more on the ‘how to’ of client retention.

Understanding your customer and their expectations

Managing portfolios requires an executive to be sensitive to customer needs, understand intently to client requirements and execute and deliver those requests in a timely manner. Executives must also be able to listen-not just nod along thinking of the next response, but really listen, absorb, understand and then advise. Managing expectations of clients is key- Promise only what can be delivered, lighting their candles with the sun when only a matchstick could do will only lead to a fall into the classic “empty vessel makes much noise” syndrome. Doing so can hamper the reputation and credibility of the team and the company.

Increasing the client Portfolio

Understanding the client and their business needs can win this battle. Many companies such as Meltwater, a media intelligence firm thrives on trust and personalized relationships with their clients that help them in serving their clients by providing expert consultancy besides the usual services. They ensure great service by having their most seasoned executives play this quintessential role of portfolio growth. There are ways of achieving this kind of account expansion namely upselling and cross selling.

Upselling- When a growth executive approaches existing clients with an 80% of the service suite that they haven’t bought and explores the opportunity of expanding the relationship. They can sell either higher value products or a new product range that can help their business processes.

Cross Selling- A concept where subsidiaries and different departments within an existing client can take up independent customized licenses. The business should be dynamic enough to be able to cater to multiple avenues and provide multi-layered business solutions.

Making product/service as a part of the workflow

Building long-term associations is fundamental for client growth. Think about your regular day. What products do you use on a daily basis? Or rather what products can you not live without? Skype? Whatsapp? Google? Netflix? Take a moment and think why? Why are these products invaluable? Amongst other reasons, the primary one is just that they are a part of our daily lifestyle. If the service/product can be made a part of the client’s daily workflow, then there will be no issues in shaking hands on a long-term partnership. For example, at Meltwater, we provide a solution called Newsfeed that allows streaming relevant media mentions onto the clients media room, enhancing SEO and drawing in customers. Once live, a client can be rest assured for inflow of online traffic. Most Meltwater clients rely on and value the solution; they incorporate it in their regular communication processes making it a part of their routine.

Adapting your business to your client needs

Genuine client care requires businesses to adapt. Over the last 4 years, a personal observation has been that, the landscape of client consultation has changed drastically. From simple media monitoring and analysis, clients now expect insight reports and influencer mapping. Keeping these changes in mind, at Meltwater the SaaS platform has evolved from media intelligence to big data. Social media monitoring evolved into social ORM and simple journalist databases were evolved into influencer contacts outreach. By adapting the solution to the changing client needs, Meltwater ensured its relevance and was able to grow its business by acquiring new clients and retaining its existing clients.

As the Managing Director of Client Success at Meltwater India, I encourage my team to treat all our clients like partners as they might forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. This is the crux to sustaining and growing your client relationships and hence your business.

Authored by: Bhaskar Bose, Managing Director, Meltwater India 

Successfully growing your client portfolio- The Main Metric that matters

Bhaskar Bose expressing views on acquiring customersEvery business varies and its growth is often dependent on characteristics such as the nature of business, organizational structure, management styles, internal and external environment etc. Acquiring customers is one of the most challenging aspects of running a business. It is essential to retain and satisfy them for continuous business momentum.

A customer wants to experience an organization that delivers a seamless journey across all touch points from inquiry right through to post sales support. The company needs to ensure the quality of experience is positive at each of these points to create a positive moment. This is the first step in building a relationship and gaining consumer trust. A customer buys a product/service mainly due to need, convenience or due to ROI. It is essential to keep all these elements in mind when acquiring your customers to be able to convert them into long lasting relationships. Therefore, Client growth in any business is a result of client acquisition and client retention with a minimum churn rate.

Being a veteran of the SaaS industry let me share two metrics that matter from a client growth perspective.

  1. Gross Churn: The number of dollars the company loses without regard for new, reactivated or expansion revenue for a time period refers to a gross churn. A low churn ensures more customers with a higher customer lifetime value and lower cost of servicing. A high churn rate on the other side can lead to negative revenue growth. Churn rate is the percentage of customers who leave the company in a given time frame, therefore making churn a pivotal number in evaluating the business.
  2. Negative Net Churn: In simple terms, negative net churn is net revenue lost post upgrades and cross sales. Negative net churn is an attractive characteristic of a SaaS company because it means that customer accounts are like high-yield saving accounts. A customer can create negative net churn if the spending of that customer increases dramatically. Higher the negative net churn, higher is the portfolio growth percentage of the client base.

Client growth can be measured by two extrapolations, a waterfall of new clients minus the lost clients and downgrades (reduced subscriptions) or on the basis of the businesses negative net churn.

To ensure client retention and negative net churns, a client success team becomes an indispensable part of the business process. Today every industry is burdened with newer businesses/start-ups entering the space leading to constant product innovation and increased competition therefore a strong client success team is a distinguishing factor when evaluating a business. With years of experience as the managing director of the client success division, we at Meltwater have recognized that “Client success is a delicate balance between managing portfolios effectively, growing client accounts while ensuring long term partnerships are forged through trust, relationship and value, leading to a final outcome of low churn and hence client growth”.

Last but not the least, a strong personal recommendation would be to always be to treat your clients like your partners. With care, patience and a bit of zing, relationships can flourish. And once relationships flourish, with the right team in place, your client portfolio is bound to grow irrespective of the size of your business. Keeping these metrics in mind will help you measure the growth of your client portfolio and hence can turn your business into a personalized and profitable enterprise.

Authored by: Bhaskar Bose, Managing Director, Meltwater India

Consumer Interest within the online shopping space during Diwali Season

With every passing year, marketing and social media campaigns are becoming better and more innovative especially around the festive season. As the competition in digital and social increases for not only creating awareness but also in generating revenues, brands often save the best for last and in India for the most awaited Diwali season. There were some exceptional campaigns and strategies- with Snapdeal’s re-branding to ‘Unbox Zindagi’ and ‘Unbox Diwali Sale’ to Flipkart’s #BigBillionsale to Amazon’s #GreatIndianShopping festival. Besides elaborate campaigns we came across some innovative adverts especially from the upcoming and growing e-commerce players such as Jabong, Pepperfry , Urban Ladder, Myntra  that became the talk of the town.

Looking at the buzz around innovation and the upward trend in online purchases, we analysed and populated consumer interests during this Diwali season. Some of the most insightful findings are shared in the infographic compiled by a media intelligence company Meltwater.On monitoring what people were talking about Diwali on social media, it was noted that the three most popular themes associated with Diwali were E-commerce followed by sales, discounts and shopping. Even cars, jewellery and to our surprise crackers were a part of the social chatter. In-depth analysis into the conversations, revealed electronics, mobile phones and used cars were other popular search terms.From our analysis through the Meltwater platform, we found that almost 50% of the conversation on social were discussing experiences and purchases through Flipkart versus Amazon or Snapdeal.

E-commerce being a preferred shopping choice this Diwali, the infographic benchmarks thee three dominant players in the start of the sale season for the initial months of October to derive on a census related to the industry trends and consumer preferences. All three brands have seen exceptional growth patterns in the Indian market with flipkart recently reaching its 100 million customers to Amazon revealing a 5X growth in new customer base to 2015 and Snapdeal going in for a total brand re-vamp.

The big three marked the start of the Diwali sale season by launching creative campaigns to derive a generous ROI of more than 1000 CR within the first few days. Each platform offered distinctive value propositions like 24X7 customer service and 1 day installation of gadgets by Snapdeal, The prime account by amazon ensuring that 1 in 3 sales was by a prime consumer, Flipkart focussing attention on Mobile phones and gadgets etc. that led to huge numbers without eating into the competitors share.

In the coming years, retailers will need to understand the consumer buying patterns in the online space as this market is growing at an exponential rate. The infographic above helps us do exactly that!