How can you collaborate to develop a loyal and retained midmarket customer base? IBM recently published insights from their global 2013 Midmarket C-Suite Study titled: “The Customer-Activated Enterprise.”
The message from this important study comes through loud and clear: today’s midmarket C-Suite must be open to paying more than lip-service to impact and leverage customer influence. Your customers drive revenue generation and your midmarket business’s sustainability.
Those of you in the B2C business ecosystem have long been aware of the huge role customer experience plays in driving revenue and customer loyalty. Certainly Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore’s seminal work, The Experience Economy, set the table for how successful businesses are joined at the hip with their customers.
However, most of you are not involved in running Disneyland®. What are the implications for small businesses, startup businesses and midmarket enterprises – the types of businesses you run?
The implications are tremendous.
The study, which incorporated insights from 4183 leaders in 70 countries, surveyed a cross-section of the C-Suite in more than 20 countries. Three key findings emerged from this survey:
1) Today’s C-Suite must open up to customer influence, which eclipse’s the role of your Board of Directors.
2) Today’s C-Suite must pioneer digital as well as physical innovations for midmarket viability and sustainability.
3) Today’s C-Suite must craft engaging customer experiences focused on more than new customer acquisition.
For those of you who innovate and manufacture jet engines or manifold systems, you don’t get a free pass out of reading this study. There are specific B2B implications for you, as well. Many of you may never have considered the total customer experience of doing business with your midmarket manufacturing company. You are working on highly intricate technical and engineering issues with and for customers, aren’t you?
Whenever people get together with other people around virtual platforms and actual business tables, an experience is created.
Customer experience is that “after all is said and done” part of your midmarket business development strategy. The end result may translate into whether your engineering consulting contract will be renewed for the subsequent year – or not.
That got your attention, didn’t it? What is the value of your customer’s experience with your organization as you deliver throughput via your solutions?
Before you rush off to engage and collaborate with your customers, take the time to focus on your own houses. How well do you collaborate internally?
How well does your midmarket corporate culture, complete with existing silos, collaborate across departmental mindset and discipline-driven status quo? Perhaps your first engagement initiative should focus on creating collaborative throughput across your own organization’s silos.
Start with one, cross-functional project at a time. Determine common linguistics. Engage in one-page thinking. Celebrate outcomes, even if they are failures. Take a page out of the world of startups.
Take the time to have coffee with each other!
Once your internal teams become adept and comfortable collaborating across cross-functional silos, you will be ready to tackle engaging your customers. Lead by example: collaboration starts with your C-Suite team.
Babette N. Ten Haken, catalyzes collaborative business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers, engineers, small and midmarket manufacturers, and technical startups. Her book on collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? Technical / Non-Technical Collaboration, Business Development and YOU, is available on Amazon.com.