Monday, August 09, 2010

Do you deliver more Customer Bottom-line Impact than the Competition?

A visionary CMO presenting to other leading marketers recently asked the question: "Do you deliver more customer bottom-line impact than the competition?" According to D. Kieth Piques, author and CMO, presenting at the Business Marketing Association's Engage conference, answering yes to this question is the foremost driver of future growth and the best measure of success.

As Frugalnomics reigns, where buyers are seeking bottom-line impact and value from every purchase and relationship, we could not agree more.

According to Mr. Piques, "The days of defining winning by considering only your own P&L are over. Leading B2B companies are focused on making their customers more money than their competitors and getting their fair share ... otherwise known as Winning with Customers."

Unfortunately most organizations are not aligned with what it takes to succeed in the face of Frugalnomics, one that demands a customer value centric environment. Best practices for b2b sellers include:
  1. Quantifying improvements in customers' bottom-line performance as a result of implemented solutions (for example how solutions helped customers drive more revenue or realizing tangible savings), 
  2. Measuring and tracking the value customers derive from the relationship both absolute and compared to competitors, and,
  3. Projecting how the seller will help drive bottom-line improvements for customers into the future.
However, few sellers have shifted to match the Frugalnomics challenges. According to those attending the BMA conference, only five of more than 600 attendees polled indicated that they have currently implemented all of these customer value-centric selling best practices The good news, however, is that there is a big opportunity for companies to create real competitive advantage by investing time and energy to understand and execute the customer value-centric winning formula.

To fight Frugalnomics, Mr. Piques recommends a customer value-centric set of best practices:

  1. Help customers make more money by having a different conversation—one that focuses on the measurable financial value you create for them today and the specific opportunities you provide to create more value in the future.
  2. Inject quantitative, outside-in information regarding what customers value into decision-making. (Yes, sometimes we don't know as much about our customers as we think we do.)
  3. Develop and execute plans with customers that deliver value, and clearly outline what is expected in return.
  4. Predict future profit growth for both you and your customers by aligning your investments with their impact on customers' profits.
  5. Build your organization's winning capability by shaping a culture that focuses on making customers more money, where every employee knows how he or she can contribute to creating value for your customers.
  6. Systematically use a “customer value creation” playbook (CVC) to keep your organization on the winning path, using training and software tools to equip and mobilize the entire organization.
"There is no silver bullet to win with customers, but there is now a proven approach with supporting tools to help companies win and win big." according to Mr. Piques.

The Bottom-Line
Buyers have fundamentally changed, demanding bottom-line proof on any purchase, and value from every vendor relationship. Leading b2b sellers realize that quantified value proof points are required to attract new prospects, convert them to new customers, and sustain strong customer relationship into the future. A customer centric value approach such as Mr. Piques describes, can help better connect with frugal buyers, drive more business now and the future and provide significant competitive advantage.

For more information on Alinean solutions to help B2B sellers battle Frugalnomics:
http://www.alinean.com/aboutalinean.asp


D. Keith Pigues, CMO of Ply Gem Industries, is co-author with Jerry D. Alderman of “Winning With Customers: A Playbook for B2B,” which will be published next month by John Wiley & Sons.
The original article can be found at: http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100712/FREE/307129980/1047/FREE

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