Do You Really Know Your Customer?

I recently read about a Gallup study claiming 71% of your B2B customers are NOT committed to staying with you and your company. More disturbing is that they are actively looking at your competitors.

This may well be due to how we treat our customers (email blasts, one size fits all selling techniques, etc.). In spite of what you may hear, the face to face sales call in the B2B world (unless you are selling widgets or telephone systems) is not dead. Our customers expect us to understand them AND their business. Find out how they want to buy and don’t get stuck on how you want to sell them.

Think about this as a way to start 2017. Schedule a strategy call with your TOP customers. The 80/20 rule comes into play here. This is not a sales call! It can often be less than an hour and it should be focused on their challenges, even if that has nothing to do with what you sell. Here are some topics to address

  • What challenges will they face in the upcoming year?
  • What are the two or three things that could be disruptive to their plans?
  • How do they want you to interact with them?
  • What drives them professionally and personally?
  • How do they value your relationship?

Don’t let past assumptions lead you astray, particularly if you have a new contact within the customer organization. Ask the seemingly obvious questions. Plot the organization chart of your customer. Knowing more contacts than just your primary contact will be helpful. Do you know why they do business with you? That is an important point to know and understand. You may be surprised.

Every other year engage a third party to survey your top customers. Knowing their view of you and your competition is enlightening and helpful. We must stay on pace with our best customers. Recognize a shift in their culture, in their process or go to market strategy. All these impact your relationship with them.

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