Austria’s Prince Clemens von Metternich is said to have made the quote “When France sneezes, Europe catches a cold” when commenting on the impact of the French Revolution. In the world of B2B, this statement is undeniably true – when big business sneezes, their suppliers catch the cold.
The premise behind the statement works for all types and sizes of B2B organisation – particularly in sectors badly affected by the economic squeeze, where client companies are asking/demanding their suppliers to “share in the pain”. Even in thriving sectors, clients leverage that success to demand “more for less” or “more for the same”.
We would therefore argue that it has never been more important for B2B companies to shift their customer management from product & price-driven (commoditised) commercial operations to longer-term value-driven relationships (what we’re calling “attuned”).
“Nice theory – heard it a thousand times” I hear you say! And you’re right – the market forces that drive commoditisation in B2B are indeed so strong that many companies have put customer-centricity into the ‘too difficult’ box (with a few exceptions).
However, the world is changing. Other forces are at work that will consign companies to the scrap yard that are unresponsive to changing markets, channels, media and client needs.
I’d like to propose a practical way to unlock the ‘too difficult’ box and place/keep your business on a customer-centred journey to sustained success.
We call it being “customer attuned”, which we define as: “Attuning your business to proven practices of interdependent and trust-building B2B customer management that will deliver equitable shareholder value”.
We passionately believe that there are three vital underpinning drivers of success that must be valued, protected, managed and invested in to make a competitive difference in B2B, which we’ll be blogging about regularly:
- Trust – never undermining your trustworthiness in business
- Interdependence – building mutual dependence / rectifying dependency imbalance
- Equitable – ensuring that the relationship works commercially over time for all parties involved
We’ve developed a unique, innovative approach to attune your business, which involves the systematic orientation of customer knowledge, strategy, planning, implementation & results to your market, B2B relationship management and organisational design.