It is one business scenario to win new customers, crush your quarterly sales quota and make your numbers. It is another business scenario to retain your customers once you have won them.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to yesterday’s customer retention strategy is the Internet of Things (IoT). Today’s business cultures wrestle with how to upgrade and revamp yesterday’s processes and mindset as business DNA literally is re-written on a daily basis by the tsunami of Big Data and analytics we collect.
Currently, customer retention DNA lags behind the unrelenting pace of tech advances of the IoT.
Sales teams still are leaving the care and feeding of customers, once won, up to everyone else in the organization. You know, all the folks who were not involved in winning the sale in the first place.
If I have just described your own organization, it is time to upgrade your customer retention DNA. That upgrade aligns how you sell and how you retain customers.
When you upgrade your customer retention DNA, your organization becomes proactive and anticipatory about trends, strategy, workforce hiring practices and team dynamics. You are ahead of the game, instead of woefully lagging behind competitors.
In my Playbook, the Internet of Things is the next paradigm shift, particularly for those of you dwelling in the manufacturing sector.
There are still folks out there who are unaware of what the Internet of Things is all about. The IoT ecosystem describes the entirety of sensor-enabled, connected devices which permeate how we live, work and communicate.
Tech advances drive the unrelenting pace not only of information gathering but types of analyses on the data being gathered. If you have resisted jumping into the Big Data and analytics water, you are already behind your competition.
If you do not specify the types of data analyses which are critical-to-outcome for your organization, and your customers’, you move too slowly, my friends. If you are uncomfortable working with data and translating implications for your customers (as many sales folks are), you are overdue for upgrading your customer retention DNA.
Upgrading customer retention DNA hybridizes your sales and technical/engineering perspective.
A customer retention DNA upgrade leverages how well your business folks collaborate and communicate with the non-technical folks in your organization. After all, those non-biz folks tend to be the people to whom you relegate the care and feeding of customers, post-sale.
Yesterday’s sales tactics involve hunting down the prey (aka, selling) and dumping the kill (aka, securing a signed contract) off at the door of your engineering and customer care folks for execution and implementation of sales strategy.
Hmmm. You may be a business Neanderthal. You do your thing, they do their thing, and nobody collaborates with each other on a regular basis. Standard operating procedure.
You know what happened to those Neanderthals, don’t you? Upgrading your customer retention DNA is a matter of evolutionary business genetics, courtesy of the industrial Internet of Things.
When you upgrade your customer retention DNA, you cross-pollinate your mindset and corporate culture genetics. Instead of perpetuating the status quo “Us versus Them” gap between technical and non-technical folks, everyone actually consults with each other before, during and after the sale.
How refreshing – and essential to sustaining not only your organization, but your customers’ as well!
When you create continuity of not only strategy but implementation of strategy post-sale, customers are happy campers. What your sales team promises actually is delivered, and then some. Why? Because the folks designing and implementing the products, services and systems are in on the deal from Day 1 – instead of after the fact.
The Internet of Things requires a cross-functional approach to doing business.
The days of doing “business as usual” are over. Data is the common denominator running across your entire organization.
The fine art of retaining customers leverages how all of your people, sales as well as support, translate data, analyses and customer insights into not only making your products, services and equipment “as good as” the day you bought them.
Is this approach part of your current customer retention strategy?
In his seminal book, “Helping”, Edgar Schein discusses how sales practically is the only profession where individuals are compensated NOT to collaborate with one another. Think about it: everyone on a so-called “sales team” competes against each other to make their numbers, crush quotas and win prizes.
That single factor is the most significant reason why your organization needs to seriously upgrade its customer retention DNA in order to remain competitive in the industrial Internet of Things business and manufacturing ecosystem.
Everyone else in your organization is compensated based on their ability to perform tasks and get along well with other in order to create desirable outcomes (aka “collaborate”). These are the folks responsible for retaining your customers.
Think about how collaboration can enhance those crushed quotas and numbers made. That is the first step of upgrading your organization’s customer retention DNA.
Have you been thinking about why you are having difficulty retaining customers, once you close the sale? What steps have you taken to improve your rate of customer retention? What questions are still unanswered?
Babette Ten Haken is a writes, speaks and coaches about customer success for customer retention. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical teams. She serves manufacturing, IT and engineering intensive companies. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Image author: ibreakstock Image source: Fotolia