What is your blueprint for customer expansion?
Like any blueprint, your customer expansion plan becomes the structural underpinning for through-putting strategy and innovation.
Shaky strategy = shaky foundation. What type of customer would buy into that?
Let’s consider what’s involved in building that structural foundation for customer expansion.
Business development focuses on creating, testing, implementing, measuring and improving those processes and practices involved in creating business outcomes for your customers. Until and unless you have a solid understanding of what it took to get you to where you are today, you may be on shaky ground to expand your customer base tomorrow.
Different factors are involved.
There’s a large social component involved in customer expansion. I’m not talking about utilizing social platforms to tell the world you are open for new business. Let’s once again separate the concept of the social business from various social platform tools commonly equated with “social” business (social selling, social sharing, social marketing, social-social, you get it).
Here are five customer expansion tips to create forward momentum for your social business.
1) Customer expansion involves more than blasting your move into new markets or verticals via social media platforms. Customer expansion strategies are developed from your information arsenal, including cloud-based business analytics. Customer expansion strategies assess and weigh the value of your communication strategies to new markets and verticals, ranging from in-person to mobile. Additionally, customer expansion strategies are proactive about your security needs once your marketplace expands.
2) Your social business strategy is founded on the mindset, skillsets, processes and practices required to discover, disseminate, share and collaborate. Those core capabilities are, at the very least, two-way or multi-tier. They focus on mission-critical information required to move your business forward and create a sustainable economic footprint.
3) Customer expansion is built upon your business’s capabilities to deliver high-quality, cost effective solutions that enhance your customers’ own competitiveness. It’s not only about how many customers you have on your books, or what your net profit is (although the two are inextricably related). Your current track record is the fulcrum leveraging your future track record for expanding your customer base into new markets and industry verticals.
4) Customer expansion for your social business is built upon your own success in building a base of loyal and retained customers. Loyal customers are your best resource for referrals. If you are expanding your business into new markets or industry verticals, your loyal customers become your vanguard, clearing your pathway to first customers.
5) Customer expansion for your social business is built upon your track record of acquiring and retaining loyal employees and peer colleagues. When you expand into new waters, will your very visible core group of internal partners flinch and consider jumping ship? Will they stay the course with you, and invest their sweat equity, personal brand and professional futures in you? If so, their actions speak volumes for the quality of your collective leadership, teamwork and implementation strategy.
Depending on where we sit around the business table, we see the same things differently. Expand your use of the term “social” to mean how you communicate and collaborate, day in and day out, with your colleagues and customers. The differences that pivot makes are in your business outcome.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes collaborative business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers, engineers, small and midmarket manufacturers, and technical startups.