Trust Ladder Part 1: High Performing Customer Management Organisations

What are the key characteristics of high performing Customer Management organisations on the Trust Ladder?

Data from our B2B assessments show marked differences between organisations at the top and bottom of the Trust Ladder.

We highlight key characteristics of top performers:


High scorers consider knowledge the lifeblood of the organisation. They focus on its quality to drive insight into strategy development, and review often to ensure they remain on fertile ground. Insights are used strategically to create added-value with key customers and build relational dependence. Knowledge is shared within the organisation.


The best have a clear sense of strategic direction flowing through the business. They identify key customers, share and align strategy with opportunities for mutual development at solution, category, channel, sector and market level.


They use simple transparent planning internally with clear links to strategy and action. Planning is extended into the customer base, and manifests itself as: joint planning on specific initiatives, demand planning, inventory controls, etc. It also appears on ‘wiring’ plans – people across the organisation know who to contact, when and why.


Top organisations offer excellent customer service. What is promised happens! A culture of improvement is created. There’s a clear ‘one way of working’ providing customers with consistency across all touch points. They work closely with customers on process and procedures to measure cost-release, and ease of doing business. The account team tend to be well respected, expert and empowered.


High scoring Customer Management organisations look beyond standard metrics into outcomes which measure the quality of relationships – indicators of trust levels. They focus internally on capability development, deliver high quality customer relationships and mutual value.


High levels of internal trust exist within organisations that perform well, along with collaborative working. They build trust systematically at an organisational, group, divisional and interpersonal level.
Caveat: The scores of the top B2B organisations on the Trust Ladder still fall short of Customer Management ‘good practice.’ We still have lots to do!

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