Microsoft Dynamics CRM and The High Value of Customers in Today’s Market

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Thought-provoking post by Ron Volper, “Up Your Sales in a Down Market”, in Friday March 2's

According to the post, the buying patterns of today’s customers have changed, and overall they’re less loyal than they were in the past. To combat this change in behavior, B2B companies need to update their marketing/selling strategies not only by “selling up” in the organization, but also by providing up-front tangible ROI on the solutions being sold.

While I agree with the post, B2B companies need to take this one step further: namely we need not only to demonstrate that we understand the target/prospect’s business, but that we’re able to translate the business need into a tangible technology solution that benefits the organization.

I may be stating the obvious, but B2B companies have all been guilty at one time or another of taking the “inward vs. outward” approach to marketing and sales; i.e. focusing on a strict product push in order to drive sales. Either we’re pressured by hitting a target quota, or we’re simply defaulting to doing what we’re comfortable with.

Lest anyone think that I’m innocent of this, I recently took a look at Green Beacon Solutions website, and realized that the positioning text for our solutions was nothing more than “boilerplate” product content. It didn’t adequately demonstrate our understanding of our targets' business challenges or highlight the unique and insightful solutions that we’ve developed throughout our 10+ year history for our broad portfolio of clients.

While I’m proud to say that many of our current clients have been with us since the company’s founding in 2001, our website doesn’t articulate this or detail the reasons why they’re still clients. I can argue that I’m too busy multi-tasking on a variety of time-sensitive projects to take the time to do this, but isn’t my role to position the company according to the needs of clients?

Last weekend I went shopping for new appliances at a well-known “super store” retailer, but quickly became frustrated and left the store without buying anything. Why? Rather than gathering information about what my needs were, the salesperson handed me a directory of appliances to look through because I had mentioned that I had a small space in which to fit a new refrigerator. Granted, my options became limited, but why not engage me first in a discussion re: how many family members lived in the home, what style was I looking for, whether I had considered energy efficient models etc. before expecting me to find the right product?

I quickly realized that the appliance salesperson is no different from me regarding how I demonstrate our understanding of the client’s needs when I position the value of our organization. This became even more apparent as I read through the “Up Your Sales In a Down Market” post in; the article concludes by stating that the “….firm’s recent analysis of 125 companies indicate(d) that customers today are less loyal and switch vendors 20 percent more frequently than they did 10 years ago. (And) it is also more difficult and more expensive to acquire new customers. However, the likelihood is 25 times greater that an existing customer will buy additional products or services from your company than that a prospect will buy anything from you.”  

In a nutshell, why not ensure that existing customers continue to be satisfied clients AND improve our chance for prospects to purchase from us by demonstrating from the outset that we understand their business needs and have the expertise to translate this into technology solutions that address/resolve these issues. Simple, or is it? Thoughts?

by Green Beacon, New York Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

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