While working on the positioning of a B2B service provider, we came across an interesting conundrum. The firm was unable to cross a sales threshold in spite of a differentiated product, frequent customer interactions and adequate marketing spends.
On discussion they mentioned the key challenges were awareness, category perceptions and current business processes. However the independent customer feedback we put together indicated they were not completely correct. So why did they miss the wood for the trees?
Perhaps while struggling to meet sales targets – they ended up being subject matter experts without a good grasp of the person who was the customer? They appeared unaware of the customer’s general background, his role in the company and key deliverables beyond category involvement. So they were unable to state how our brand provides a business solution that could make his job easier – in a relevant and believable manner.
This level of customer insight is critical in today’s competitive world. It can lift the conversation from the transactional (delayed deliveries) to the strategic (future partnership opportunities).
And this is where the impartial observer comes in. Only an outsider can ask ‘long distance’ questions without the baggage of past performance. Plus clients and employees can speak freely to them without the fear of spoiling relationships.
Often the next big growth initiative comes from understanding how the brand can work in an allied category. Or figuring out areas where the brand cannot enter – due to existing perceptions. So mapping the customer profile, understanding our competitive context and estimating brand perceptions is critical. Specially for firms who want to grow faster than the competition.
Tell me what you think.