Business to Business (B2B) enterprises both large and small are increasingly challenged to drive and sustain top and bottom line business performance. In a survey commissioned by B2B International among 226 companies across North America and Europe several challenges were identified that stand in the way of organizations optimizing performance. The following are a few of the top key elements that make it to the top of the list to drive higher levels of customer acquisition, retention and growth.
Key #1 – Define a Unique Selling Proposition
In the eyes of business decision-makers the biggest problem faced by their companies is the lack of a clear Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This lack of clearly articulated differentiation vis a vis market competitors represents the biggest roadblock to achieving improved business performance. Making an investment in quantitative primary research among customers and prospects can uncover valuable insights that point to critical features and benefits of your product/service offering and how an enterprise can leverage these points of difference in its favor
Key #2 – Understand the Key Drivers of Customer Loyalty
As a part of any primary quantitative research plan, marketers will be well-served to structure an ongoing tracking study to better understand the key drivers of customer satisfaction. Knowing what is important to customers is only one piece of the equation. Knowing HOW important each of the component drivers of satisfaction are will be helpful in bringing about change in the product/service mix and aid in the direction of future R&D for the enterprise.
Key #3 – Continuously Improve Processes & Product/Service Performance
Ongoing customer satisfaction research will provide an effective means of keeping a pulse on those factors that drive customer satisfaction and provide a scorecard for operations to constantly review to view “how we’re doing” and make operational and product changes to help ensure that the enterprise is meeting/exceeding customer expectations. Tracking studies such as these are critical to providing management with accurate and comprehensive information on how the business is performing from a customer perspective and what needs to be done to keep the business on course to continuously improve business performance.
Key #4 – Understand Your Product/Service Appeal to Every Customer Segment
Successful businesses recognize that their customer base is not a homogeneous mix of B2B companies, and depending on your company’s product/service mix the diversity of the customer base beyond company size can be significant. If your enterprise has not yet initiated a customer segmentation research study, it would be a prudent investment. Understanding the make-up of your customer base will be valuable in defining customer segments on many dimensions not just economic. Such segmentations will provide the company with insight and a means to speak to each segment that is both meaningful and relevant.
Key #5 – Hire and Retain Quality People
Although this 5th key may seem obvious, few elements in the process of product/service development and delivery are more important than for an enterprise to attract and retain quality people. Jim Collins, author of Built to Last and Good to Great quantified those elements that drove companies to achieve greatness. No factor was any more critical than “getting the right people on the bus” and then “getting those people in the right seats on the bus”. Your employees are more than the face of your enterprise, they collectively represent all the vital organs that drive your organization forward to achieve success year over year.
Success in business isn’t easy. There is no one simple formula that leads to success. What is well-documented is that if management fails to adopt a Unique Selling Proposition (USP); fails to understand just what it takes to retain customers, and fails to put in place mechanisms to continuously monitor what’s important to each of its customer segments while hiring and retaining quality people, the likelihood of business success is greatly diminished.
Parisien & Associates is a strategic marketing services agency equipped to assist our clients to profitably achieve their business goals. For more information on how your organization can benefit from our experience and expertise across multiple industries from financial services to manufacturing, please contact us at Parisien & Associates for a free consultation.