Which Prevails in Your Company?
What kind of surprises has your company had when you lost a prospect because you didn’t know what was most important to them, and you missed talking about it? This can be avoided with a disciplined approach to gaining and/or acting on the customer perspective.
How organizations gather customer input, especially on what customers value most, and how they use that information, has everything to do with growth rates and profitability. Yet too few companies act deliberately on acquiring this information for planning and relevant selling. This practice risks making your information reflect opinions and not facts that can be quantified and/or ranked.
Consider these talking points for an internal discussion:
__We have a defined methodology for acquiring customer perspectives on what they value. (This is NOT a customer satisfaction survey. Feedback needed here helps determine what customers value not how well you do certain things.)
__We obtain customer feedback at least once a year, whether formal or informal (see Chapters 9 and 10 in Relevant Selling for options). More often is better.
__We have a central location for storing and analyzing customer intelligence; it might start with a good CRM.
__We know specifically who (names and positions) were asked for feedback and how questions were posed.
__Intelligence gathered makes it to the front line, e.g., sales people are clear on data obtained and they know how to maximize that knowledge.
__Disciplined gathering of feedback has resulted in operational changes internally as dictated by customer needs.
You may miss the opportunity to sell relevant differentiation for want of these disciplines.