Are Your Customers' Purchases Having Strategic Impact?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Let’s get personal
I last blogged about the most effective way to market and sell into IT, which is still through high touch methods. Coincidentally, Eric Kintz of HP blogged not so long ago about customer centricity and making the relationship personal, but I am not sure if he includes high-touch selling in his perspective. I suspect many enterprises believe they are addressing customer centricity with strategic customer programs, one-to-one ratios on account management, executive sponsor programs, client loyalty programs, etc. Customer centricity, making it personal, and high touch sales methods hopefully enable us to better understand how our customers feel and think and show that we understand their business, their challenges and how they want to be treated and sold to.
Face-to-face meetings, personalized communications, exceptional support, digitally touching the customer through support, chat, affinity groups and the like, are all good ideas but, let’s face it, none of these tactics are relevant if your customer’s purchases have no strategic impact to their business or if they perceive no impact.
So how do you ensure that your customer’s purchases are having strategic impact? By understanding how your customers create and get value from purchasing from you. Through this understanding, both parties (seller and buyer) are sure to derive the greatest value out of the relationship. THEY – superior return on their investment, competitiveness, better relationships with their customers, increased market share, productivity, increased profitability. YOU – the same. Your company becomes strategically relevant when you can effectively articulate, build and deliver to a model based on VALUE.
For IT investments in particular, all stakeholders—finance, technology, business buyers—are looking for and want to be able to distinguish and derive the maximum VALUE that your solution brings to their company. In order for you to communicate and demonstrate value, a deep understanding of the customer is needed by the entire organization (read “high-touch”, “intimate understanding”).
From there you can begin to build a Value Model, but it requires that you understand your customer at multiple layers:
- The Customer’s customers layer – the individuals and organizations that buy from your customer
- The Customer’s corporate value layer – the ways your customer adds value to the businesses of its customers
- The Customer’s business process layer – the business functions that enable your customer to deliver value to its customers by delivering its value proposition more productively and efficiently
- The Solution layer – the products, services and support that you offer to your customer so they can solve a business problem within one of its business processes
- The Product layer – individual products that you offer to your customer to fill an operational need.
For more on this email Debra at firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Colombana, Vice President of Client and Market Development Debra.Colombana@phelongroup.com