Too often we talk about how to get more customers and what sales and marketing strategies work best in building a companies revenue, and not enough on what your company might be doing to lose customers. SAS, a leader in business analytics software and services, recently released an e-book titled How To Lose Your Customers In Five Easy Steps that addresses five common practices that lead companies astray in their quest to drive revenue growth. They are:
1. Don’t collaborate.
Too often within companies, product houses run independently and inadvertently compete with one another. They focus on what the company should sell to its customers and not on collaborating with other business units or product houses within the organization in building holistic solutions that not only can address multiple concerns for your customers, but also create uncommon offers that help differentiate you from your competition. Collaborating internally, developing offers that have the customer in mind and being quick and responsive in making them available to them will give you the competitive advantage in the marketplace. Be seen as a trusted advisor not only to your customers, but internally to your peers as well.
2. Don’t find out what customers value.
Creating offers that are not customer-focused, but rather company-focused, will eventually alienate you from your customers. Having conversations with your customers, finding out what their concerns are and then creating an offer specific to their needs will build value in your offer.
3. Don’t consider the customer experience, just push price and product.
Selling in to the marketplace strictly on price is the fastest way to marginalize not only yourself but your company as well. Some companies thrive on this business model, such as the WalMarts of the world, but they are few and far between as their sales models are built on volume and razor thin margins with minimal room for error. Not all customers are price-sensitive and are willing to pay a premium for a service that truly addresses their business concerns and eliminates breakdowns. Develop these uncommon offers and watch their trust in you and your business grow.
4. Don’t measure anything. After all, marketing is more art than science.
Not understanding who your customers are in the marketplace is like a fighter who doesn’t understand who they’re going up against in the ring. With luck and raw skill, you might win some deals, but in the end you will eventually lose as you continue to be unprepared for what lies ahead. For businesses, it’s important to not only understand the simple analytics about your customers (location, revenue, number of employees, decisions makers, etc.), but also why they purchase from you and also from your competitors. This will help you fine-tune your current offers as well as develop future ones that more effectively address your customers' specific concerns.
5. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just focus on making this period’s targets.
Don’t just focus on this month or this quarter's revenue numbers. Focus on the long-term prosperity of your business and your customers as well. As stated further in the SAS e-book, “It’s time to adopt a comprehensive view of the customer as part of a continuum, not just a sale – and manage the holistic value of the relationship over time.”
Let your competitors focus on price and creating “solutions” that address your customers concerns today. In time they will lose, as customers won’t see the value in their offer. Create your offers to be customer-centric and specific to their needs both today and in the future and this will produce marginal value for you in the marketplace and, in turn, win you business.