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"Win Back" Strategies - Growth Plays for 2nd Half of 2023

Do you have a strategy and account plan for your former clients? How are you utilizing this strategy today? Are you measuring the effort, resources and outcomes? How is Marketing working with your sales team to drive new ABM plays?

Your former customers aren’t motivated by the same messages as existing customers. And they also aren’t quite new prospects. Research shows that if you use the wrong strategy, you reduce your chances of winning by up to 35 percent. (CSO Insight Webinar)

As for M. Allen, I'm working with a client this week and we're attacking some key strategy elements related to growing off existing clients and developing a plan for lost customers as well. Here are ten key step-by-step strategies to win back former B2B customers:

1. Identify through objective analysis why the customers left: Understand the reasons why customers left in the first place. This will help tailor your approach to winning them back.

2. Prioritize: Rank the customers in order of importance and alignment. This will help you allocate resources accordingly.

3. Re-establish contact through an omni-channel approach (phone first): Reaching out to former customers is essential. Start with personalized emails or phone calls to show that you value their business.

4. Offer a solution: Provide a solution that addresses the reason why the customer left. Be creative in your approach.

5. Provide Value Early: Offer something of value to the customer. This could be a discount, a free trial, or a complimentary service.

6. Be transparent (with facts and data): Be honest about any changes that have taken place in your company or the industry. This will build trust and credibility.

7. Update them timely (develop a cadence): Share updates about your company, products, and services. This will show that you're still invested in their success.

8. Follow up: Stay in touch with the customer regularly. This will help you maintain a strong relationship and address any concerns.

9. Ask for feedback: Ask former customers for feedback on why they chose to return. This will help you improve your customer retention strategies.

10. Continue to deliver: Deliver on your promises and continue to provide value to the customer. This will help you retain their business long-term.

Try This Mindset Scale Exercise:

  1. Turn a piece of paper horizontally and grab something to write with. At the top of your page, write: "If this, then that."

  2. Think of 2-3 potential scenarios of things that might happen in the immediate future that would cause your business to shift gears. Write them down horizontally in a row, leaving some space between each scenario. (Be as specific as possible with the scenarios. Include events like: sales slow this quarter, or Apple features my product in the app store.)

  3. Draw an arrow down from each scenario.

  4. For each scenario, write one move you might make in response to: "IF this scenario happens, we do THAT."

  5. Keep in mind these solutions if these scenarios do occur; implement the ideas you came up with, or use them as a springboard for further conversation and brainstorming with your team.

If you saw value running the mindset scaling exercise above, then here are more step-by-step directions for our ten favorite strategy exercises we run with our clients:

1. SWOT Analysis

- Divide the group into teams and assign each team to one of the four SWOT categories

- Have each team brainstorm items that fall into their assigned category

- Create a consolidated list of all items and group them by theme

- Analyze the themes to identify key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

- Develop a strategic plan based on the identified themes

2. Customer Persona Creation

- Identify the target audience

- Research demographics, behaviors, and values of the target audience

- Develop a customer persona that captures the key characteristics of the target audience

- Use the customer persona to inform marketing and product development strategies

3. Value Proposition Design

- Identify the unique features and benefits of the business

- Identify the target audience and their needs

- Develop a value proposition that addresses the target audience's needs and differentiates the business from competitors

4. Business Model Canvas

- Identify the key components of the business model (e.g. customer segments, value proposition, revenue streams, cost structure)

- Use a large canvas or whiteboard to map out the components of the business model

- Analyze the relationships between the components and identify opportunities for improvement

5. Mind Mapping

- Start with a central idea or question related to a specific business challenge or opportunity

- Use a visual diagram to brainstorm related ideas and themes

- Expand on each idea with additional sub-ideas and themes

- Analyze the mind map to identify key themes and insights

6. Six Thinking Hats

- Assign each team member a different "thinking hat" (e.g. analytical, emotional, creative)

- Have each team member approach the problem from the perspective of their assigned thinking hat

- Encourage open discussion and sharing of ideas from all perspectives

7. Future Scenarios

- Identify potential future scenarios related to a specific business challenge or opportunity

- Analyze the potential outcomes of each scenario

- Develop a plan to address the challenges and opportunities presented by each scenario

8. Force Field Analysis

- Identify the driving and restraining forces impacting a particular business goal or initiative

- Analyze the forces to determine which are the most important and influential

- Develop a plan to address the driving and restraining forces

9. Lean Startup Methodology

- Identify a specific business assumption to test

- Develop a hypothesis and a testable experiment to validate the assumption

- Test the experiment and analyze the results

- Use the results to adjust the hypothesis and experiment for further testing

10. Design Thinking

- Identify a specific customer need or challenge

- Use empathy to understand the customer's perspective and experience

- Brainstorm creative solutions to meet the customer's needs or solve their challenges

- Develop a prototype and test it with customers to validate the solution.

Bonus Material & Insight:

There are several variables that impact your win rates, and all of them are important to buyers. The best way to evaluate your performance on these variables is to approach each one as a clear-cut question. Buyers evaluate you by considering these same questions and failing to recognize that means you may lose deals that you might have won.

Anthony goes deeper into these here:

Additional M. Allen Insights:

Making of a CRO:

CRO 2X Agenda:

Chat with us at M. Allen and see how we can help your team close more deals. Email us at

About the author:

Matt Slonaker is a revenue growth and financial services business executive, with a strong track record in generating revenue growth and leading teams. He has experience working with both startups and multibillion-dollar market leaders, and has managed over a billion dollars in revenue in the last decade. He has founded his own company, M. Allen, and served over 20 clients since 2020, and has also worked in executive roles at global companies such as Firstsource, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, and H&R Block. He is skilled in operations, revenue enablement, information technology, and other areas. Additionally, he is a US Military Combat Veteran and a career coach for military veterans in transition to the civilian sector since 2017.

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