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Customer Centric Business

Profit by design - build your business for the experience economy.

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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.

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Are you using personas..? The one thing you are missing.

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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.

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You need to know what your customers value

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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.

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The Top Four Tips for B2B sales

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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):

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Your targets are hurting your customers - lessons from Wells Fargo and Youi

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The issue of how we use sales targets and KPIs has raised its ugly head again. Wells Fargo in the US blaming sales targets and sales managers for opening large numbers of false accounts, resulting in huge fines and mass sackings. The big issue though - they have lost the trust of their vast customer base. Also in Australia, Youi are allegedly caught up in dodgy sales practices, costing them a huge credibility issue with customers and potential customers.

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The New Path to Profitability and Engagement

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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 )

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Profit by Design

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Following a series of enthusiastically received presentations on Profit by Design, I am excited to announce a 2-day workshop in Brisbane 25-26 October. This workshop is about applying the Architecture for Customer Engagement for more about that there is a PDF available on my profile page (summary), for more about Profit by Design, read on.

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The end of The Funnel

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Yes that's right - The Funnel that is used by some of the best marking organisations on the planet - has long passed its use-by date. The Funnel that we so often use to describe leads to converts (social media, marketing and sales), has stopped being useful at all, in fact I believe it actually hinders engagement with our future customers. Let me explain.

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Let's Ban KPIs

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Or perhaps more specifically, let's ban how we are currently using KPIs. We use guess-work to identify KPIs, they don't tell us what our priorities are, we fudge the numbers and confuse improvement goals with business-as-usual.

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Customer-centricity the number one issue for Australian CEO's

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The Australian Institute of Management identified the key issue for Aussie CEOs in 2015 as "customer relationships". The research also identified that CEO were "kept awake" by "big data analytics, cyber security and the cloud". Quoting the article, "Dr Malcolm Johnson says, these data issues are linked to the number one issue, improving customer relationships".

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Competition needs to be external, not internal.

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For the sales and service leader to maintain motivation and productivity, there is one key principle: competition is external to the sales and service team/s. Competition and rivalry only belong in the market place, not within the sales or service team or teams.

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