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Winning NEW customers vs. Retaining EXISTING customers - which do you prioritize, and how do you drive your team based on that?

3 Answers
Scott Monroe
Scott Monroe
SurveyMonkey Director, Product MarketingMarch 30

The old debate of prioritizing existing customers vs. new ones...a tale as old as time. 

I think this one can depend a lot on the stage of your company or product. If you have a lot of existing customers already, consider that happy existing customers tend to spend more money with you. I saw a stat recently that showed existing customers spend 67% more than new customers. 

If your product marketing or customer marketing teams are large enough, have some people focused on new growth, and others on expansion. If you are going to focus on expansion, here are a few metrics to consider for success:

  • Customer retention rate
  • Upsell/cross-sell revenue added
  • Product adoption rates
  • Customer Satisfaction Score
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Customer Effort Score

But I don't suggest that to say you should NOT focus on new growth. if you have a brand new product, you're obviously going to focus on new customers. And to do that, you'll need to create new inbound and outbound pipeline (not a news flash, I know). 

There's no right or wrong answer to which is more important, it's just situational. Figure out where your company or product stands at the moment and build a strategy from there. 

1492 Views
Greg Gsell
Greg Gsell
Attentive VP, Product MarketingMarch 23

I have worked at two different companies and we approached it entirely differently. 

At the first company, we were far and away the market leader and defined the space. Here, we almost entirely focused on new logo acquisition for competition. If we won up front, we had the better product and were very sticky, plus the cost of switching vendors was very high, so the risk of churn was much lower. 

At my current company, we are in a highly competitive space. We are really good at new logo acquisition because we have a great trial experience and an awesome implementation team. We definitely focus on churn as much as new logo acquisition from a competitive lense. When your cost to switch is lower, businesses will often look to switch at contract renewal. It is key to make sure you are focusing on (and delivering) differentiated value and your CSMs are keeping in mind why you are better when they are speaking to their customers.  

578 Views
🤘 Dejan Gajsek
🤘 Dejan Gajsek
Grow and Scale Co-founder and CEOApril 7

Coming from a full-stack marketing background, my vote goes toward retention than acquisition. 

Why? Because even if you kill it with acquisition and get new customers for your service, if your "bucket is leaky", you're going to eventually lose them because there's something that isn't right in your client funnel. 

According to Forbes, acquiring new customers can cost five to seven times more than retaining them.

This means that until you fix the churn issue, you'll be hemorrhaging money. Only when you get to the point of healthy retention, I'd go and focus on winning new clients. 

Just based on that financial calculation and explanation you should be able to muster the team behind you and prioritize on fixing the leaky bucket syndrome. 

331 Views
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