By Sergio Corbo
Customers today have the option to purchase products and services in countless different ways, to a degree that can make the process quite confusing.. It is wonderful to be able to provide customers with the option to purchase 24/7 through a variety of different channels, but how do companies ensure that customers choose their brand? How can organizations break through the clutter and beat out the competition?
At the heart of this timeless question, marketers must consider the Point of Customer Decision (PCD), which we will define as the intersection of place and time when the customer chooses one offer over another. Every commercial leader knows how critical it is to reach the customer at this crucial tipping point.
For companies with multiple channels to market through and complex offers that require a strategic and consultative sale process, the PCD can reside in many places, oftentimes hidden from plain sight. A thoroughbred sales leader sifting through the many available opportunities to engage with the customer can often feel like a lifeguard on the lookout for which swimmer may call out for help.
“This approach once helped my team identify $400 million of revenue that had been hidden in plain sight.”
Throughout my career, I have found myself in this position many times, pushing me to learn and develop a methodology to consistently identify the PCD independently from how customer, channels and offers evolve. The methodology provides leverage for lifeguards, enabling them to identify and respond as soon as the customer is in need.
The methodology can be defined in six steps:
- Behavioral research at the customer experience level
- Identification of key customer classes (I.e. distinctively grouping customers so that the company can address them in a way that differentiates the approach from the industry convention &competitors
- Development of a compelling value proposition based on what keeps the customer up at nightrather than competitive comparison
- Development of tools and programs to deliver a superior customer experience, uniquely tailored to each customer class
- Development of metrics based on revenue and profit that ultimately drive shareholder value
- Observation and adaptation of the processes as customers evolve
Although the work can be incredibly resource and time intensive, the output must be simple, easily understood, and embraced and executed by the sales force. A great tool to ensure execution is a one-page cheat sheet with a simple matrix containing four to five columns that represent the key customer classes and the following rows:
- Customer class names (these need to be memorable and stand the test of time)
- A brief description of the relevant identifiers for each class
- Key drivers for each class (what keeps customers up at night)
- A list of tools necessary to activate each class
- A list of metrics that can be used to measure the effectiveness of each tool
Any sales associate that meets a new customer should be able to ask few questions, allocate the customer to a class and immediately find the right tools to engage, and keep the conversation alive until the PCD is reached.
It’s that simple. This approach once helped my team identify $400 million of revenue that had been hidden in plain sight.
Sergio Corbo is a commercial senior executive who helps fortune 500 corporations serve the Customer and deliver measurable results to investors. You can follow his thought leadership at www.linkedin.com/in/sergiocorbo