Building Customer Intimacy with the market and leveraging those relationships as a mechanism to grow share-of-wallet at your existing accounts and open doors at new accounts requires more than just new sales approaches and good relationships. Truly realizing a Customer Intimacy strategy as a competitive advantage takes a commitment to a new way to do … Continue reading “Customer Intimacy: A Step by Step Approach to Getting Started”
In the previous entry, we discussed solution development as a process and shed some light on the intricacies needed to create a winning portfolio. Now let’s look at the design of the portfolio itself: Think about the portfolio from a holistic point of view. What are we offering that is truly important to the executives … Continue reading “Developing a Portfolio of Offers – Part II”
Here, we will discuss the importance of establishing a beachhead – a successful safe-place to expand into a market. This is important for an early solution business and for any new market/customer segment you go after. You must focus early offers on the market exclusively – it is so easy to ignore the needs of … Continue reading “Establishing a Beachhead: Introducing Customer Intimacy to the Organization”
Since it’s so important to success, let’s talk about messaging and the sales force. You must differentiate your business with clear messaging attributes which include:
- An Idea Selling™ storyboard
- Answers to key questions like:
– “Why” they should do this
– “How” they can do this
– “With whom” should they do this
The Idea Selling™ storyboard must be complete but concise. Glean out a 2-3 minute explanation of why examining the Idea is so important for the customer group – The Idea Statement. If the story takes 15 minutes to explain, it is by definition not messaged well, too complex, or too focused on your firm’s capabilities, for this stage of your journey.
One of the first questions we get is “Where in our business would this apply?” It’s a good question – because in many corporations, multiple customer engagement models co-exist in support of various parts of the portfolio – and will continue to do so. To answer the question, it helps to think about the nature … Continue reading “Where Does Customer Intimacy Apply in Your Business?”
Linkages are pre-planned connections from one offering that pulls through the next offering. The connections are made by carefully pre-planned and executed sales activities. Of course in reality, linkages do not begin at the end of one project and end at the beginning of the next. Linkages are positioning activities that take place during the initial sales process and during projects. The positioning may not only be related to the next project in the Service Chain, but also can be made with regard to the entire Service Chain.
When developing Service Chains™ it is important to evaluate their business value and your ability to implement them in the market. At McMann & Ransford, we recommend tracking the following criteria to help foster customer intimacy:
Let’s take some time and discuss the power of ideas and their importance as the central component of a True Solutions™. Good ideas facilitate the road to true customer intimacy.
A solution is the embodiment of an idea – and how the idea can be realized. The idea is the kernel of the change in the relationship from pushing products and discussing business opportunities. Often conversations that are supposed to be about solutions are really about how to better use our products and get more bang for the buck in our relationship; these are valuable issues but not True Solutions™ discussions.
In the simplest sense, marketing has a direct role in market strategy, participation strategy, and enabling the success. Because of their unique role and perspective on the business, marketing owns or is heavily involved in the strategy of the business, and often drives the decision-making process of how to address commoditization issues.
In our line of work, we often see companies which innovate past the point that customers need or will pay for.
We have seen this phenomenon in almost every B2B product group.
The cause? A mistaken belief or assumption that companies can compete only through continuous innovation which is translated as continuous product differentiation. At a certain point this leads to product over-engineering – too many features, product bloat, unnecessary complexity, and product extensions which customers dislike. Technology replaces common sense.