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The Buyer Intent Playbook: How to Retain Customers and Reduce Churn

August 18, 2021

the buyer intent playbook for customer success

Congrats, you won a new customer! Don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. 

Your marketing team worked tirelessly building campaigns to attract prospects while the sales team spent hours pushing deals forward. But just because you closed a deal doesn’t mean your work is done. 

In fact, the work is just beginning. If sales and marketing are focused on creating a strong customer experience, it should continue past the prospecting and qualifying stages into the retention phase. This means you must learn to properly support your customer success reps so they can retain and grow their accounts. 

Luckily, you don’t have to guess which customers are happy and which accounts have one foot out the door. G2 Buyer Intent is the most powerful intent data on the market, providing you invaluable insights into your customers’ behavior. 

Consider your buyer’s values and see what alternatives they’re actively researching so you can proactively start to nurture the account - before it’s too late. 

Using buyer intent data for customer success

The goal of this playbook is to help you leverage buyer intent for current customers. You will learn:

  • The role of buyer intent in customer success
  • How to decode G2 Buyer Intent signals
  • Ways to support your account reps and CSMs

The role of buyer intent in customer success

Churn prevention and customer retention are hot topics in the world of B2B SaaS, and for good reason. Retention is the key to success - so much so that increasing customer retention by just 5% can boost profits by 25% to 95%. 

But here’s the issue: customer retention is becoming increasingly more difficult. Modern buyers have access to more options than ever before. They also have better access to resources, such as third-party review sites and social media chatter, that heavily influence their decisions. And on top of that, today’s buyers have much higher expectations for the businesses they support. 

Put simply, your customers are untrusting. So how do you keep them happy? 

Enter buyer intent data. Buyer intent refers to the various tools that collect research and signals about buyers’ journeys and their purchase intent. This data can then be used across all departments to achieve specific objectives, from prospecting to retention. 

Tip: Want to know more about the ins and outs of buyer intent data? Check out the first installment of The Buyer Intent Playbook series. 

Sales and marketing teams utilize buyer intent data to personalize messaging and drive revenue. For customer success teams, buyer intent is a useful tool to help prevent churn by providing insight into which customers are researching product alternatives. 

Decoding your buyer intent signals

Buyer intent signals are valuable for both customer-facing and prospect-facing functions. However, these signals can have very different implications depending on where someone is in their journey.

Retention and customer satisfaction simply cannot be ignored when dealing with today’s buyers. According to The Pareto Principle, 80% of your revenue will likely come from 20% of your customers. Solely focusing on obtaining new prospects won’t work - you need to know where your current customers are and what they’re researching. 

Unfortunately, you usually don’t know a customer is churning until it’s too late. However, G2 Buyer Intent data tells you when your current customers are actively researching competitors so you can take action and retain the account. Learning to decode G2 intent signals is crucial for customer success teams. 

Each intent signal provides valuable insight into the buyer’s mindset. Below are the different G2 intent signals and how you should decipher them for customer success.

50%

of U.S. consumers have left a brand they were loyal to for a competitor that better met their needs.

Source: HubSpot

G2 Profile Visit

G2 Profile Visit signals let you know when buyers go to G2.com and visit your profile page. Buyers at all stages of the funnel (even your current customers!) will visit your profile for an array of reasons, so it’s important to keep your profile up-to-date and utilize your intent data to be the best partner to your current and future customers. 

Let’s take a look at how you might interpret a G2 Profile Visit coming from a current customer.

A G2 Profile Visit from a customer may indicate: 

  • Your customer is deciding whether to write a review about your product. 

Sponsored Content Visit

A Sponsored Content Visit signal alerts you when a buyer views your sponsored content on a competitor profile on G2.com. These buyers are likely researching solutions - and may even be your existing customers. 

A Sponsored Content Visit signal from a customer may mean the following:

  • Your customer is evaluating alternatives during your renewal period and might have a better handle on the competitive landscape as a result. 

    • This could also indicate they have a shortlist of providers they’re considering.

Tip: Share these descriptions with your team and download our Buyer Intent Glossary reference sheet.

Category Visit

A Category Visit indicates a buyer has visited your product’s category page. If your product is included in multiple categories, this signal will let you know which category was viewed. Prospective buyers and current customers often visit category pages to see where products rank and/or get a feel for the category landscape. 

Category Visit signals from a current customer may imply:

  • Your customer is looking at where you rank within your category for validation or initial exploration.

Alternatives Visit

Alternatives Visit signals let you know when a buyer visits an Alternatives page for a product in your category where you are listed as an option. This is not a signal account reps and CS managers should ignore.

These signals can be extremely powerful for anyone who works with customers, especially if the customer is looking at a vendor’s own Alternatives page. Software buyers tend to stumble upon these pages by searching ‘vendor alternatives’ in a search engine.

Signals for Alternatives Visits may indicate: 

  • The customer could be unhappy with their current software and might be considering a switch to a new solution.

Comparison Visit

A Comparison Visit signal happens when a buyer runs a comparison between your product and up to four other products. This means the buyer understands the landscape and is actively looking to shortlist options. 

These signals are valuable for all customer-facing teams to keep a pulse on their current customers. Comparison Visit signals are also key for account managers and CSMs, especially during renewal discussions.

Comparison Visits from a customer could mean: 

  • A comparison against you and competitor(s) provides intel into who might threaten your ability to renew this account.

89%

of customers start doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.

Source: Oracle

5 ways to support account reps and CSMs

At this point, you’ve begun utilizing buyer intent data. You know what your customers are doing. You’ve aligned with other departments to create a seamless experience. Now you need to create a bank of helpful assets to support your account reps and customer success managers. 

You should equip your customer success team with: 

    • Content that reps can distribute to help educate or inform buyers about your product. 
    • Integrations to streamline processes and make data accessible through tools your reps already use and understand. 
    • Messaging reps can reference and utilize when reaching out to customers. 
    • Social proof reps can reference to influence and validate the buyer’s decision.

Intent data gives you insight into the buyer’s mindset but the next step is to ensure your team can put that information to work. 

1. Validate decisions with Best in Software Awards

Make sure you are consistently soliciting user reviews on your G2 profile. An active review collection strategy will increase your opportunity to be highlighted in a Best in Software list. 

Account managers can highlight your product’s feature in a best of software list when following up with customers who are actively researching competitors. This can help reassure the customer they’ve made the right choice and that you are continuing to prove your value to them.

2. Drive confidence with G2 Badges

G2 Trust Badges help you connect with customers and provide social proof so your customers can make confident purchases. Arm your reps with access to your leader badges from G2 so they can reference these assets in conversations. 

These assets can be leveraged during quarterly business reviews (QBR) or simply placed in email signatures to subliminally encourage confidence with customers. These actions work well together by following customers who might be exploring different pages across G2, but who are not showing a heavy indication of jumping ship quite yet.

92%

of consumers won’t make a purchase without a trust badge or logo on a website.

Source: G2

3. Simplify processes with integrations and levers

As mentioned, it’s crucial to consistently collect reviews. Customer success reps can utilize various G2 levers to easily and safely collect reviews from your existing customers. You can also integrate G2 with your sales and marketing tools to streamline your data. 

If you use an integration like LinkedIn Matched Audiences, create an audience of customers who have been looking at Alternatives pages or performing comparisons on G2. You can then target these customers with confidence-boosting messages and content. 

You can also take advantage of G2’s Gainsight integration to improve customer health scores, identify at-risk accounts, and solicit your happiest customers to leave positive reviews.

4. Personalize communication with strong messaging

Buyer intent data takes the guesswork out of account renewals. It gives account reps the power to create strong, personalized messages that speak to the concerns of specific customers and avoid churn. 

For instance, if your intent data signaled an existing customer ran a comparison against you and three other products, an account rep could send a timely email like the one below: 

Hi [First Name],

It’s been [account length] since you partnered with [Your Company]! First, I want to thank you for being our customer. I’ve enjoyed working with you and am excited to continue helping you succeed moving forward. 

Since renewal time is right around the corner, I wanted to share some recent successes with you. [Your Company] was recently ranked [position] on G2’s Best in Software list for [category]! 

We are thrilled to be recognized as a leader in our industry. [Your Company] works hard to offer our customers what others cannot: [differentiator 1], [differentiator 2], and [differentiator 3].

I’d love to connect soon and answer any questions and see how we can continue to help you meet your goals. 

This email is highly personal and provides social proof by acknowledging your inclusion on a G2 Best in Software list. It gives you the ability to explain how your product is different from the specific competitors this customer viewed. And although it calls out core competitive differentiators, the email still maintains focus on your customer relationship.

5. Provide marketing air cover

Marketing should work to create high-value assets for account reps to help validate the customer’s decision. This could take the form of educational material made in-house, such as blogs and digital pamphlets. It may also include an accessible repository of third-party assets, like G2 Badges or Best in Software rankings.

Your marketing team can create a list of customers who have been lighting up intent signals and help craft special messages to drive confidence and superiority in your category. Similarly, you can create simple nurture campaigns using existing content to remind customers of the plethora of resources available. 

Say goodbye to frequent churn

Buyer intent data lets you see what customers are researching so you can work to retain accounts and reduce churn. With G2 Buyer Intent, you can stay one step ahead of your competitors and keep your most valuable customers. 

Get inside the mind of the buyer. See which customers are actively researching competitors, so you have a chance to make it right. Learn more about G2 Buyer Intent

buyer intent data
Keep your customers.

G2 Buyer Intent data tells you when your current users are actively researching competing solutions, so you have a chance to make it right.

buyer intent data
Keep your customers.

G2 Buyer Intent data tells you when your current users are actively researching competing solutions, so you have a chance to make it right.

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