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12 Critical Components of Great B2B Customer Strategy – Part 3

In my two blogs on this subject I have covered the four “What are we trying to achieve?” and four “Who are we engaging with and when?” components of great B2B customer strategy.

Customer Strategy
The next step of strategy development addresses “How are we going to do it?”

These final four components are:

Propositions & Contact Plans.

There is often confusion within businesses about exactly what “the proposition” is. This is partly because there are several levels of proposition in operation: the Brand Proposition, which is primarily aimed at attracting new clients; the Client Value Proposition(s) – CVPs, which are primarily about converting sales to new and existing clients (these also ‘wrap’ product propositions); and the Service Proposition, which covers the client experience / service promises that we make and keep regarding day-to-day interactions, transactions, complaints, etc. i.e. primarily about retention. Clarity and definition around these is vital to the customer strategy, which must then direct how the propositions and offers are to be made to customers via marketing initiatives and account teams

Capability Enhancement.

Strategies, programmes and initiatives will only be successful if the organisation and its people have the capabilities to enact them. The principles of good customer management are not taught in depth at school like an academic subject. These capabilities must therefore be raised systemically (i.e. across the Customer Attuned business system) and trained vocationally. The customer strategy should contain a clear agreed definition of the capabilities required to deliver its experience and value objectives, and to quality manage all the ‘basics’ of service delivery – responsiveness, turn-around times, first-contact resolution, etc.

Data & Technology.

Good management of customer information and the systems that store and share it is fundamental to good customer management and the delivery of an appropriate, intelligent customer experience. Good people can cover up poor data & systems, but good systems can’t cover up poorly managed & motivated people! It is vital that the organisation delivers appropriate data to the account teams that need it to deliver the right customer experience and value-enhancing initiatives

Voice of the Customer.

“Customer satisfaction surveys” have moved on significantly in recent years, and it is questionable if B2C-derived methodologies are appropriate in complex B2B relationships. The customer strategy needs to set out how the organisation will clearly hear multi-layered feedback from everybody who deals with you, and track the elements of the experience that actually drive loyalty and value. The Deep Customer Insight methodology is the best approach that we have encountered, which is why we have partnered with this company in the UK.

Peter Lavers

Peter Lavers is a co-founder and Director of Customer Attuned Ltd.

An expert in CRM and customer experience management and recognised as a top influencer in the subject e.g. IBM Futurist Roundtable member; Satmetrix Top 50 & SAP Top 60 Customer Experience influencers; Huffington Post Top 100 Customer Service professionals; MindTouch Top 50 Customer Success influencers; and Business Coach Top 100 Management Experts.

Peter's early career was with Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motors, where he trained as an engineer and went on to hold senior roles in commercial and logistics, market analysis, customer satisfaction, regional marketing and in his last client-side position as head of relationship marketing.