Are you are a large enterprise, a startup, or one of many micro- and small businesses serving the IIoT space? Regardless of the size of your company, I have a question for you.
Are you transacting business or transforming your clients’ businesses?
How you choose to respond to my question about business targets and IIoT strategies is telling.
Minimum transactional table stakes include outcomes which enhance operational performance, optimization, efficiency and decrease downtime. That is why your company is even being considered as a vendor partner, in the first place.
If you have been listening to the Voice of Your Customers, you understand just what these specifications involve. On the other hand, if your company is busy order-taking without understanding customer context, you become vulnerable to customer defection.
Here’s the thing, though. Context is everything. And customer context is your target.
Minimum viable customer expectations are not differentiators. Rather, they simply describe the performance outcomes customers anticipate receiving from everyone competing in your industry or market niche.
Why bother meeting the minimum? All you do is commoditize yourself. Think about it.
Determining transactional table stakes for IIoT business is about What’s in It for You.
More than a few companies doing business within high-stakes industrial environments perceive winning long-term companies as a way of stabilizing their own client base. After all, contracts for capital investment for equipment and service contracts are lengthy. The dynamics of upsell and cross sell on repeat orders for parts and services are lucrative.
The pursuit of the contract becomes obsessive. Customer acquisition sales and sales engineering processes are intense, time-consuming, mentally exhausting and complex. However, if your organization figures “case closed” once the contract is signed, all that is accomplished is the IIoT version of transacting business.
A company’s self-focus fuels transactional customer acquisition, upselling and cross selling processes and practices.
When a company focuses on their customers, the key to acquiring and retaining business becomes determining continuous ROI.
Consequently, the critical pre-sale and especially post-sale time periods are when many organizations take their eyes off customer context. Once minimum viable transactional table stakes are defined, everyone gets busy “doing” rather than continuing to observe and analyze.
Organizational self-focus perpetuates delivering on transactional table stakes alone.
For starters, industrial Internet of Things environments are dynamic. Within dynamic industrial Internet of Things environments, customer context changes daily.
As a result, clients anticipate more from your products, services and partnership. The table stakes of your relationship start with the expectation that all deliverables become better and better over the duration of your relationship with them.
Pre-sale becomes the optimum time to determine performance baseline, operational environment and strategic planning initiatives for clients. However, what is the life expectancy of pre-sale customer context?
How do you plan on continuously providing translational and transformational value to customers?
To continuously answer that question, become translational rather than transactional. Otherwise you are prone to customer unretention syndrome and perpetuating transacting business.
Capturing and defining the ROI of solutions within the dynamic industrial IoT ecosystem is like trying to hit a constantly moving target. Far too often, traditional methods for customer acquisition and retention continue to be applied to meet customers’ needs.
The industrial IoT has disrupted every aspect of how we conduct business. The pace and cadence of the new business playing field impacts everyone’s ability to deliver better and better outcomes on behalf of customers.
What are your next steps? Because inaction no longer may be a viable option.
Take the next step! Is your startup or business is ready to move forward from what’s holding you back? For practical and feasible improvements, contact me. Let’s discuss your important business case.
Babette Ten Haken is a STEM-trained catalyst, corporate strategist, storyteller and facilitator. Her focus? How collaboration revolutionizes and humanizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain. The results? Increased customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention.
Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of IIoT team collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Do you know the Top 5 Negative Customer Retention Scenarios? Find out here.