As a corporate executive, what keeps you awake at night? Sales and growth are surely near the top of that list, especially given the state of the global economy that is far from buoyant.
So what options do you have to improve your sales and growth? You could look to win new business, or relook at existing customers to see what additional services or goods you could sell to them. After all, what’s the value of the cliché that it’s cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones if it weren’t true?
Rather than simply retaining customers, however, what if we told you that it’s not only possible to do that but actually get them to spend more with you. And thank you for that privilege?
This is no ruse or magical marketing voodoo, nor is it a get-rich-quick scheme.
Evidence from clients using our white label business opportunity marketplace support this view that clients want to buy more from you. And that sometimes your own systems and processes may actually be hindering this.
This evidence comes by way the clients who have tapped into our extensive network of enterprises in more than 57 countries. In doing so, they’ve managed to overcome very specific challenges that actually all boil down to the same issue – a better, closer understanding of your clients and their needs.
Take, for example, the experiences of clients as diverse as a regional government, a commercial bank, a conference organiser and global consulting firm. It’s difficult to imagine that such varied organisations could possibly have similar circumstances.
But they do, and therefore the solution for each is the same – with a tweak here or there.
The common denominator across all these examples is the need to improve visibility and understanding across the organisation. This visibility is needed not only across internal resources, priorities and obstacles, but a clear view of client needs and pain points is crucial to your success.
How often, for example, have you had dealings with a different division within a company that has no knowledge that you exist, what you’ve bought and what you might be interested in buying? How often in these situations does it feel like you’re dealing with an entirely different organisation?
Would you be resistant to buying more from the same service provider if that happened to satisfy a need? Most probably not.
The ability for a supplier to meet your precise needs also sends a subliminal message: We understand you, we value your custom and you’re important to us.
Be truthful – how many times have you been able to say that about your interactions with your suppliers or service providers? We bet the answer is: not often.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and we believe that greater emphasis is going to be placed on personalisation as companies realise the value of meeting customers’ specific needs.
So, here are the top seven stumbling blocks we’ve picked up that hamper companies’ ability to create a much stronger bond between themselves and their clients:
- Very few have a holistic understanding of who their clients are and, more specifically, what their clients need. This isn’t for lack of trying, but mostly because the corporates’ attempt to extract information from their clients is often reminiscent of a visit to the dentist. With a few exceptions, corporates tend to ask questions related to what they can sell rather than what their clients’ needs are.
- No matter how sophisticated the CRM system a company uses, its usefulness is restricted by the information fed into the system by relationship managers. Unfortunately, these relationship managers are seldom incentivised to dedicate more time to understanding a client’s needs, and this process becomes little more than a box-ticking
- Clients are not – generally speaking – very trusting of big corporates. This leads to clients not sharing information as freely, which distorts the picture the corporate is building up. This is a huge opportunity for corporates to gain an advantage over competitors and is often overlooked in companies’ brand association
- Most cross-corporate initiatives are not properly publicised across the organisation, thus limiting their effectiveness. Corporates are missing a major, almost free, trick they could learn from my days in banking on the trading desk where each morning we would listen on on recommendations, events, topics and useful information to share with clients. Despite the apparent value in this process, however, we often pushed crappy trading suggestions on clients that even the bank didn’t buy into.
- Lead generation for the corporate is exceptionally costly – and I suspect most divisional heads only have a rough idea of this cost, as well as customer retention expenses / This means that most divisional heads are continuing to burn cash ineffectively and that beating the competition often ends up being a more-of-the-same exercise to see who has the bigger marketing budget. One example of how this is being done really well is SeedStars – a Swiss-based VC and business services organisation. It does so by running a global start-up competition, for which it spends almost no money by partnering with local sponsors and operating on a ridiculously lean and mean travel and accommodation allowance. This allows Seedstars to get an incredible pipeline of start-ups to choose from and to introduce to funding avenues. At the same time it offers its back office services to the start-ups, thus bringing economies of scale to the start-ups they support. Theirs is a beautiful example of a corporate doing something that serves them but that in is tremendously beneficial to the start-ups.
- Basic tools like email “Unsubscribe” links are heavily underutilis Instead of only offering recipients of corporate emails the option to unsubscribe, corporates are missing the opportunity to allow clients to give feedback to what they’re really interested in. Here a big of machine learning deployed via a clever use of bots could work wonders. Imagine if you received an irrelevant email that said something along the lines of: “We have many many services that could help you grow your business or save you money. If you give us 2 mins of your time to help us identify which services are relevant to you, we could help you achieve your business goals much faster – and as a thank you we are going to credit your account with EUR 25 that you can use for our services.”
- Corporates often push services in isolation of other service providers. I personally find this – in a sharing economy – a tad narrow-minded. In my view, a brilliant example of who is doing it right is the Standard Bank Incubator in South Africa who – though representing Standard Bank – actually helps its incubatees by introducing them to a range of non-bank related services and products that help the start-ups to solve their problems.
We have learned many many more things from our interactions with our clients and prospects – some are too industry specific to share in this article. I hope to have given you some thoughts on what corporates are struggling with and why there is often such a poor adoption of services across organisations. As with any article, there are always exceptions to the observations.
If you are interested to see how other clients and prospects are working with us get in touch with me on york@JoinTheEquation.com (hint: I respond fastest when the email comes with an invitation for coffee) 😊
In the meantime, here’s to lifting the tide for all boats!
The Chief Coffee Drinker
Written by York Zucchi – https://www.linkedin.com/in/yorkzucchi
Editing by JB – jboriginal.co.za