Best practices are the best way to keep your best customers. The challenge of keeping them on board isn’t easy, and they’re often just a phone call away from reaching out to your competitors.

So when it comes to securing recurring revenue and moving first-time prospects to loyal brand proponents, where do you start? By heeding the following three commandments:

1. Honor Thy Customers

The customer is always right. But can the same be said of the strategies employed by your sales and marketing teams when it comes to customer retention? Maintaining a loyal base is no small feat. Rather, it involves developing a comprehensive strategy, staying on top of evolving customer trends, and remaining mindful of competitor behaviors. Consider the following tactics:

VIP Programs: Reward steady customers with something unique, like a VIP program. Give them premiere access to special discounts, new product launches, and enhanced functionalities. Solicit their input when it comes to market expansions and new value-adds. Pamper them and reap the benefits of their steadfast loyalty.

Email Marketing Campaigns: In addition to your regular newsletter that blasts to all your prospective and existing buyers, create a specific campaign for your most long-standing buyers. This particular message could contain interviews with your CEO, spotlights on some of your most recent partners, and tips and tricks for uncovering more value from their recently purchased products.

Thank You Cards: This simple gesture can go a long way in solidifying customer retention—not to mention illustrate your commitment to your buyers. Instead of spending time on cursory mass mailings, encourage your sales team to send routine thank you cards to their most loyal customers, thanking them for continued business.

2. Thou Shall Not Lie

The key to maintaining faithful buyers is to remain true to your core competencies and to never oversell your capabilities. Remember, one false sell—or upsell—can ruin trust that took weeks or months to form.

One of the best ways companies build trust is by truly understanding their target audience before making a sale. This includes knowledge of their current budgets, needs, expectations, and executive sentiments. When armed with this intelligence, companies can pitch the right products that will address their prospects’ unique pain points. This information is critical to making appropriate recommendations for upsells and cross-sells.

Moreover, companies need to be mindful of overselling products and relying on hyperbole to close a deal. Don’t promise a potential buyer the world. Rather, show decision makers how your flagship offering cuts OPEX/CAPEX spending, enhances team productivity, and bolsters collaboration. Talk in specifics and don’t be afraid to say, “No, our product will not address that pain point.”

3. Thou Shall Be the Expert

Don’t expect to capture market share if you’re not a proven thought leader. And don’t expect to keep it unless you remain a leader in your industry. Buyers don’t just want to purchase from companies offering the best products. They want to do business with companies that are experts in their field. Expertise fosters trust, which in turn reduces consumer churn. So how can you ensure your team remains the industry-leading expert?

Hold Routine Training Sessions: Don’t limit training sessions to only new products or partnerships. Rather, schedule routine meetings to make sure your sales and marketing departments fully understand your unique portfolio as well as your specific industry.

Celebrate Company Rock Stars: Is your organization lucky to have a leading sales representative who seems to understand every nuance of your complex industry? Does this person also understand your target market in a way that’s different than everyone else? Then celebrate this rock star by asking them to share their insight with the rest of the team and make this A-player a mentor.

Invest in Professional Development: Take an active role in your team’s professional development by sending sales representatives to industry conferences or support your marketing team at events. The dollars spent now cultivating their expertise will pay off when it comes to your customer retention numbers.

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