Account Planning

How to Build a Land and Expand Strategy

Posted On
August 17, 2023
Resource Type
Account Planning

Introduction:

In the dynamic landscape of B2B sales, adopting innovative strategies is essential for sustained growth and profitability. One such strategy gaining popularity among sales and customer success leaders is the “land and expand” approach with key account management software. This method focuses on acquiring new customers while simultaneously nurturing existing accounts to drive expansion and increase company revenue. In this blog, we will delve into the intricacies of building a successful land and expand strategy, complete with data-driven insights from trusted sources like Gartner and Forrester.

What is the Land and Expand Sales Strategy?

The land and expand strategy is a customer-centric approach that aims to maximize revenue by acquiring more customers and then fostering their growth over time. Unlike traditional sales methods, which often focus solely on securing new accounts, the land and expand approach recognizes the potential for exponential growth within existing customer relationships. This method not only helps companies increase their customer base but also allows them to deepen their understanding of customers’ evolving needs and preferences.

Creating an ‘Expand’ Strategy:

To drive expansion effectively, businesses need a well-crafted expand strategy. According to Gartner, companies that prioritize customer retention and expansion can achieve up to 95% higher profits compared to those that focus solely on acquisition. Here are key elements to consider while creating an effective expand strategy:

Identifying and Understanding Customers’ Evolving Needs:

Successful expansion begins with a deep understanding of customers’ changing requirements. Regularly engaging with clients, conducting surveys, and tracking usage patterns can provide valuable insights into their evolving needs, pain points, and desired outcomes.

Offering Tailored Upsells and Cross-Sells:

Leveraging existing customer relationships, businesses can offer personalized upsells and cross-sells that align with customers’ specific goals. This approach not only drives expansion but also enhances customer satisfaction by addressing their unique challenges.

Nurturing Relationships for Long-Term Loyalty:

Customer loyalty is a cornerstone of the land and expand strategy. Building strong relationships through personalized interactions, proactive customer support, and attentive account management fosters loyalty, reducing the risk of churn and increasing the likelihood of expansion.

Implementing Customer Success Programs:

By investing in customer success programs, companies can ensure that clients achieve their desired outcomes with their products or services. Customer success teams play a pivotal role in driving expansion by helping customers fully utilize their purchases and realize their ROI.

Identifying Potential Growth:

Gartner reports that by 2023, 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of its existing customers. This statistic underscores the importance of identifying the next growth engine within an existing organization. Here are methods to do just that:

Monitoring Usage Patterns and Customer Behavior:

Analyzing customer data, such as usage patterns, product adoption rates, and engagement metrics, provides valuable insights into which customers are ready for expansion opportunities.

Conducting Regular Account Reviews and Performance Assessments:

Scheduled account reviews help sales and customer success teams identify areas of improvement, address challenges, and explore opportunities for upsells or cross-sells.

Gathering Feedback Through Surveys and Customer Interactions:

Customer feedback is a goldmine for understanding their needs and expectations. Utilize surveys and interactive discussions to gain insights into customer satisfaction and potential expansion opportunities.

Identifying Gaps and Pain Points:

By proactively identifying gaps in customers’ experiences and addressing pain points, businesses can position themselves as strategic partners, increasing the likelihood of expansion.

Multi-Threading:

Forrester highlights that multi-threading can significantly impact sales success, with an 82% win rate when multiple stakeholders are involved. Multi-threading involves establishing multiple touchpoints within customer organizations, and it is crucial for successful land and expand strategies. Account mapping plays a pivotal role. Here’s why:

Increased Visibility and Understanding of Customer Needs:

Engaging with different stakeholders provides a comprehensive view of customers’ pain points and business objectives, facilitating better alignment of products or services.

Building Relationships with Different Stakeholders:

Cultivating relationships with various decision-makers and influencers reduces the risk of losing a small deal due to personnel changes or miscommunication.

Mitigating Risk of Dependency on a Single Point of Contact:

Relying solely on one point of contact can lead to a vulnerable position if that person leaves the organization. Multi-threading ensures continuity in the sales process.

Facilitating Smoother Expansion:

Involving multiple stakeholders in expansion discussions increases the chances of obtaining buy-in and support for new initiatives.

Sales Role vs. Customer Success Role:

Sales and customer success teams play distinct yet complementary roles within the land and expand strategy. It’s essential for these teams to collaborate seamlessly to drive customer success and expansion.

Sales Team:

The sales team focuses on acquiring new customers, engaging prospects, and converting leads into paying clients. Their efforts are instrumental in the initial “land” phase of the strategy.

Customer Success Team:

Customer success teams are responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction, driving product adoption, and promoting expansion. They play a crucial role in nurturing and expanding existing accounts.

Account Success Strategies:

To foster account success and achieve expansion, businesses should implement several key strategies:

Proactive Customer Support and Ongoing Communication:

Being proactive in addressing customer concerns and maintaining open lines of communication helps build trust and enhances the overall customer experience.

Regular Check-ins and Relationship-Building Activities:

Scheduling periodic check-ins and organizing relationship-building events strengthens the partnership between the entire company and its customers.

Offering Value-Added Resources, Training, and Education:

Providing customers with additional resources, training sessions, and educational materials can help them optimize their use of the products or services.

Recognizing and Rewarding Loyal Customers:

Acknowledging and rewarding customer loyalty through loyalty programs or special offers can boost retention and encourage expansion.

Leveraging Customer Testimonials and Referrals:

Positive customer testimonials and referrals can significantly impact potential prospects and attract new business.

Conclusion:

The land and expand strategy presents a potent opportunity for B2B sales and customer success leaders to unlock growth and success. By focusing on acquiring new customers and nurturing existing accounts through personalized expansion strategies, Saas companies can achieve exponential business growth and increased revenue. Data-driven insights from trusted sources like Gartner and Forrester demonstrate the significant impact of a well-executed land and expand strategy on business success in the ever-evolving B2B landscape. There’s no true cheat code when it comes to account expansion. Long term growth from current customers starts with organic growth. Ensuring that the current users in said account are seeing big results from your product. Additional features and benefits of your tool may roll out, but it’s important to always focus on solving your customer’s problems. Solving problems almost always leads to more opportunities. Embracing this customer-centric approach will undoubtedly position organizations on the path to thriving vs competitors and creating lasting relationships with customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Land and Expand Deals?

Land and expand deals refer to a powerful strategy in which a company focuses on acquiring new customers (land) and then strategically expands its presence within those customer accounts over time (expand). This approach is a customer-centric business strategy that aims to not only secure new customers but also to nurture and grow those relationships to drive long-term revenue and market expansion. Account planning will lead to new opportunities and eventually account growth.

In the initial phase of a land and expand deal, the sales team targets potential customers and endeavors to close new business. The goal is to successfully “land” the new customer by demonstrating the value of the product or service and addressing the customer’s needs and pain points. This phase of the strategy relies on effective sales techniques and positioning the company’s offerings as solutions to the customer’s challenges. A successful expansion effort is successful when both end users and executives buy-in. Enterprises focus on product adoption, a strong onboarding process, and improving net revenue retention.

Once the company has acquired the new customer, the focus shifts to the “expand” phase. In this stage, the company actively engages with the customer to understand their evolving needs and to identify opportunities for growth. This involves nurturing the customer relationship, providing excellent customer support, and continuously demonstrating the value of the product or service. By doing so, the company aims to upsell additional products or services, cross-sell complementary offerings, or expand the adoption of existing solutions within the customer’s organization.

The land and expand approach is highly effective in business-to-business (B2B) markets, where building lasting relationships with customers is crucial for sustainable growth and success. By continually engaging with customers, understanding their changing requirements, and offering tailored solutions, companies can increase their share of the customer’s wallet, expand their market presence, and drive additional revenue.

Implementing a land and expand strategy requires a customer-focused sales strategy that goes beyond one-time transactions. It involves aligning the sales team and customer success teams to work collaboratively to understand customer needs, deliver value, and drive expansion opportunities. Through this strategic approach, businesses can not only achieve short-term sales success but also establish themselves as trusted partners in their customers’ growth journey.

What is the opposite of land and expand?

The opposite of the land and expand strategy is commonly known as the “land and abandon” or “land and churn” approach. Unlike the land and expand strategy, which focuses on nurturing customer relationships and driving growth within existing accounts, the land and abandon approach centers on acquiring new customers (land) without prioritizing long-term customer success and expansion efforts (abandon).

In the land and abandon strategy, the primary objective is to secure new customers and achieve short-term sales success. However, once the initial sale is completed, the focus on customer engagement and support diminishes. There is minimal effort to build lasting relationships with customers or to understand their evolving needs.

As a result, your key account may feel neglected, experience challenges with product adoption or usage, and ultimately become dissatisfied with the company’s offerings. This can lead to higher churn rates, where customers discontinue their subscriptions or contracts, resulting in a loss of business in accounts and potential revenue.

The land and abandon strategy can be detrimental to a business in the long run. It often leads to a constant need for new customer acquisition to compensate for the churn rate, making it difficult to achieve sustained growth and profitability. Additionally, the company may miss out on valuable expansion opportunities within an existing organization, which are known to be more cost-effective than acquiring new customers.

In contrast, the land and expand strategy takes a customer-centric approach, emphasizing customer success, relationship building, and strategic expansion within the existing customer base. By focusing on nurturing and growing customer accounts, businesses can achieve a more sustainable and profitable growth trajectory.

In summary, while the land and abandon approach prioritizes short-term sales without considering long-term customer success, the land and expand strategy seeks to cultivate strong customer relationships, drive expansion, and achieve greater business success by effectively engaging and retaining existing customers while also acquiring new ones.

What is the ‘Land and Expand for Efficiency’ Principle?

The Land and Expand for Efficiency Principle is a strategic approach within the context of product and service offerings, particularly in the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry. This principle leverages the inherent advantage of SaaS products to maximize account value and revenue by optimizing both the initial deal and subsequent expansion efforts.

At its core, the principle emphasizes the importance of considering the complete customer journey right from the start. Instead of solely focusing on closing the initial deal, the Land and Expand for Efficiency Principle encourages businesses to view the first sale as the beginning of a long-term relationship. Here’s how it works:

  1. Efficient Initial Deal: In the context of SaaS or subscription-based services, the initial deal should not only cater to the immediate needs of the customer but also set the stage for future expansion. This involves understanding the customer’s potential use cases, goals, and pain points. By customizing the initial offering to align with these factors, the company increases the chances of establishing a strong foundation for a lasting partnership.
  2. Identifying Expansion Opportunities: The principle recognizes that the value of SaaS products often grows over time as customers delve deeper into their usage. By actively engaging with customers post-sale, businesses can identify opportunities to expand the use of the product or service. This can include upselling to higher-tier plans, cross-selling complementary features, or extending the solution to other departments within the customer’s organization.
  3. Maximizing Account Value: The Land and Expand for Efficiency Principle aims to maximize the overall value derived from each customer account. By consistently delivering value, addressing evolving needs, and offering tailored solutions, businesses can increase customer satisfaction and encourage long-term commitment.
  4. Sustainable Revenue Growth: Embracing this principle enables companies to achieve sustainable revenue growth without solely relying on new customer acquisition. By continuously expanding within existing accounts, businesses can tap into a more predictable and cost-effective revenue stream.
  5. Customer-Centric Approach: This principle is inherently customer-centric. It aligns the company’s growth with the success of its customers, fostering loyalty and trust. As customers experience the advantages of the product or service, they are more likely to advocate for the brand and refer it to others, further fueling growth.
Posted On
August 17, 2023
Resource Type
Account Planning