When commerce was emerging in human history, there was an old path that entrepreneurs used to build networks and relationships. However, today as most leaders and managers take their wisdom from the last century, the old path seems like a new one. This new path leads to deeper levels of engagement with customers and employees, provides higher levels of performance for the business. This new path is the customer centric approach to business. (Photo Credit: George Paulides on Flickr )More ...
The Problem with Sales today.
The problems with sales today is that much of the thinking and leadership of sales teams is driven by ideas developed in the last century. These ideas mislead managers to believing a certain set of actions will lead to the numbers they need to achieve. This is why I call these the "eight great misleading sales traditions". It's descriptive of what these things do, if after reading this you have a better name for this group, let me know.
"Customer Centric" a benefit for Whole Foods in the Amazon purchase
Some of the big business news right now is the intended purchase of US Whole Foods Market grocery chain by Amazon for US$13.7b. Interesting to note that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who for many years has been a advocate for Conscious Capitalism, recently said that: "Amazon is more “customer-centric” than Whole Foods, giving the grocer an opportunity to improve in that area..." (Source Bloomberg)
Profit by design - build your business for the experience economy.
So many businesses put a huge amount of effort into the development of their products and services. Yet, when the product is ready, it's a quick hand-ball to the sales and marketing teams and "go sell it". This worked just fine during the last century. In the industrial age, the whole focus was on production at lowest cost, on mass, then distribute the product to eagerly awaiting consumers who would be converted by armies of salespeople. In this digital age many things have changed - predominately how customers buy. Today we are in an economy driven by their experiences.
Are you using personas..? The one thing you are missing.
The use of personas is fairly commonplace today. Most marketing and sales teams have worked out the general representations of the potential types of buyers their business is trying to attract with content, or bring into their fold as a customer. However, just about all personas I have seen do not have the one characteristic about why the customer buys.
You need to know what your customers value
It is often reported, for example by MHI Global or CEB, that sales people cannot communicate the value of their offerings to potential customers. It regularly seems like a criticism of sales people themselves, however the problem is more broad than that - most businesses cannot define the value they deliver for their customers, particularly their profitable promoters.
The Top Four Tips for B2B sales
I have been reminded over recent weeks how important it is not to "sell" during B2B sales discussions. Three colleagues have separately shared stories with me where someone on their team have jumped in too early with pricing discussions or what sounds like negotiations, or labouring over the features before understanding what the customer values. So here are my Top Four Tips for B2B 'sales" (or rather, customer engagement):