TOOLS FOR SUCCESS — LEADERSHIP IN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
If developing an organization’s market differentiation were ever important, it is critically and strategically important today. “Elevated perceived customer value” tends to drive predictability of future work and margins. Customers who fit your preferred customer profile, based on your ability to deliver elevated value, can be invaluable from many perspectives in hard times.
2) Capture and frequent review of all customer complaints. This is an organizational issue, and not just a sales team issue. Customer complaints may be voiced to delivery drivers, accounting, prepress—and even suppliers, to name but four areas, in addition to your sales reps, CSRs, receptionists and estimators. A monthly, summary review of complaints can be revealing to where there are recurring problems and limitations that are holding other resources back from performing at their best.
Organizations that prefer to avoid this frequent, critical review can be counted on to be giving up several points of increased revenues and margin.
3) Capture and review of all requests from customers that were not positively responded to. Several weeks ago I visited a company that’s near the upper quartile of bottom-line performance. I asked, individually, their sales reps, CSRs and estimators, “How often do we receive customer requests that have to be returned for lack of our ability to produce?” One of the sales reps reached in and showed me three significant orders being returned that day. Further investigation revealed that this was not unusual, and the president didn’t have a clue of the frequency, while wondering why his company wasn’t growing more than about 10 percent a year in revenues.
4) Improved personalization of all customer communications. Improved communications requires improved understanding and documentation. From e-mails to quote letters, we too often work to do more faster, and end up producing less. Too many quote letters look like they were produced by the same software our competitors use. It’s the rare supplier who takes the time to understand and then effectively communicate (a) what’s most important, (b) what’s critical, and (c) what should and should not happen—and includes those types of information on important correspondence, such as quote letters.