The importance of bringing in new customers in digital marketing is often discussed – a well-crafted campaign that can attract a host of new buyers for a particular product is a desirable happening in both the B2B and B2C worlds.

However, it’s equally crucial to maintain those relationships once they have been generated – particularly in B2B, where consumers will have the expertise and awareness to simply switch to a new seller or provider if they feel their needs are not being met.

But what is the best way to maintain a relationship with a customer? The days when a basket of fruit twice a year would keep them sweet are long gone, with companies keen to cut costs and looking for potential savings from every aspect of their operation.

Business consultant Maite Baron recently suggested that adding value to existing links can ensure customers stay on side, or even allow businesses to up-sell contracts if they are capable of offering additional services.

Writing for Small Business, she pointed out that gaining new business only to watch it fall away because of a lack of maintenance is not a sound business policy, particularly not in such straitened economic times.

“It’s like running a bath without the plug and constantly having to fill it up to replace what’s leaked away. That’s not only wasteful of your time, money and resources, but can eventually ‘contaminate’ your marketplace and see your reputation go down in flames,” she pointed out.

Staying in touch with customers as regularly as possible is vital when it comes to keeping track of their needs, as is being as responsive to any changes in the market that could affect your relationship.

If firms can keep adding value in this way “not only will the business become appreciated and recognised for the service level it offers, but bit by bit it can rise through the ranks to become potentially world class at what it does,” posited Ms Baron.

Customer relationship management tools are one way in which firms can keep on track of this process, ensuring they are listening and responding without having to over-spend on doing so.