Make sure your company’s business planning and investments reflect your customer’s most desired deliverables.  Don’t be overly focused on new product features or things you think are important if your customers don’t value those same things.

We have seen too many companies offer innovations “because they could” when the customer didn’t value them at all.  Some companies get so product-focused that they keep investing in offerings not necessarily relevant to customers.  Profits can diminish quickly when crapshoot decisions are made about what to invest in.

  • Are you too focused on your commodity product/service rather than how you get it to your customers? Should you buy more trucks instead of adding more SKU’s?
  • Will your buyers find your investments and strategies relevant to them? For example,
    • Are you investing in a new technology phone with sound tree when your customers demand reaching a live person? Do you offer live chat if that is demanded, or do you offer live chat and no one uses it?
    • If you invest in extra salespeople to provide post sale support but only a few customers value it, are you investing wisely?
    • Should you invest in a strategic objective to add five new bells and whistles to your product when customers only care about one of the five?

When we do research for our clients, we typically test 20-25 buying attributes.  Before we reveal the research results, we ask our clients to guess which attributes will rank the highest.  Over 90% guess wrong.

For a recent client, market research found that “speed of response” ranked #1 to their customers and prospects, however, our client company’s executive team ranked that attribute #9.  The company’s safety record was found to be the #3 buying criteria, but our client ranked their safety record as #9 in  importance.  What if our client made planning and investment decisions based on their own perceptions, and not those of their customers?  Get on the same page as your customers and prospects – theirs is the opinion that matters!

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