The Five Things You Need to Know About Your Customers – and What to Do With Them Amelia Young, CFA Upside Consulting Group Inc. Realize the Upside in your business From vendor focus… to customer focus Who are they? • Primary decision-makers • Secondary decision-makers • Influencers What do they need? • Make sure you’re looking at it through the customer’s lens • What are the biggest challenges in their business? • Are there life cycle drivers? • Do they know what they need? Can you educate them? • Explicit vs. implicit • Short-term vs. long term When do they buy? • Routine vs. special projects • Planned vs. crisis-driven • Proactive vs. reactive • Life cycle drivers • B2B - Job change, management change, M&A, new office • B2C - Home move, marriage, kids • Equally important – when do they fail to buy? Where do they look? • SEO • Referrals • Where are there complimentary products • Where do life cycle drivers lead prospects? • Appointment notices, real estate and insurance brokers, • Do they look at all? Why You? (or your product/service) Retail Example: People buy French wine 73% of the time when French music is playing and German wine when German music is playing. Professional Services Example: The quality of the sales rep is a proxy for the quality of the service. If people trust the rep, they trust the company. Why Now? • Why is your product/service the best use of limited resources relative to competing priorities? • Frame your offering in a way Hi. It’s me again. that that solves the customer’s Buy something. immediate problems • Creates a catalyst • Allows the client to see unforeseen benefits So how do you answer these questions? • How is George likely to tackle this? • He has presided over the sales team through three years of revenue growth and margin erosion • He has relationships with corporate customers who buy simple products like golf shirts • He receives referrals from existing clients for more of the same service Process Fact Find • Talk to your people (not just in sales) • Talk to your customers • Talk to your customers’ customers • Look at their other vendors Test & Measure Analyze • Multiple channels - newsletters, • Evaluate trends in your data re: campaigns, events, DM, TM, channels, products sold, retention, email, D2D... pricing etc. • Multiple messages • If you don’t have this data – get it! Turn Information Into Insight • Differentiate between facts and interpretations • Seek unbiased feedback • Beware your own BS How Will You Deliver? “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.” David Packard Use the answers to focus your business KSF Sports Teams Corporate Solutions Who • Volunteers, coaches • Marketing coordinators, marketing executives, procurement What • Low cost, moderate quality, • Solutions to grow their business high convenience • Specific, low cost promo products When • Seasonal, planned ongoing • Blend of project-specific, seasonal, planned purchase and unplanned Where • Referrals from a relatively small • Internet search community • Referrals from numerous sources Why • Need for the product is clear • If product needs is clear, price is key driver • Vendor selection is based on • If need is unclear, creativity and relevance of relationship the solution are the primary drivers How • Execution is simple due to • Creativity and business acumen are needed to narrow and slow-changing conceive relevant solutions and manage product assortment customer relationships • Procurement and customization are challenging due to wide product scope You can’t be everything to everyone – particularly if you’re small Key Takeaways • Knowing your customer is the foundation of all marketing and sales activities • Employ a structured framework and process to get a comprehensive view • Use the information to focus on a specific segment How well do you know your target customer? • B2B – Are you targeting specific industries, geographies or functional roles? Who • B2C – Are you targeting specific demographic or psychographic segments? • Are there primary targets as well as influencers that should be considered? • Are the needs of your target segment aligned with what you’re selling? What • Do the features that differentiate your service matter to the target audience? • What do you expect those needs to be in the future? • When in the purchase cycle are services introduced to the target client? When • Are there specific catalysts that drive customers to seek you out? • Are competitors exploiting gaps in your coverage of the sales cycle? • Are you approaching customers in the manner and location that aligns with Where their decision-making processes? • Are your channels aligned with the target customer’s needs? • Is your service the best use of the client’s dollar right now relative to competing Why priorities? • Why is your company the best choice for them in this category? • Do you have unique capabilities/assets that matter to your target audience? How • Are capability gaps impairing your ability to execute? • How does your organization achieve alignment to focus on these capabilities? Use the people at your table to help you!