How to create a healthy, profitable, and sustainable business
Why does your organization exist?
What is the higher purpose of your business? To do what you are passionate about? To contribute with something great to the world? To generate profit? Or do you have a cause that is more important than the profit you generate?
Do you help hearing-impaired people improve their life quality, or do you simply sell hearing aid devices?
Do you inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, or do you merely sell plastic brick blocks for kids to play with?
Do you help medical staff make life-saving decisions, or do you just sell analytical equipment?
True Customer Value
If the higher purpose of your business – your cause – is to create real and true value for your customers,
you need first and foremost to have quality products and services for the customers to buy, and you need the right people with the right skills and the right mindset to facilitate the sales process.
But you don’t have to sell everything to everybody. You need to sell the right solutions to the right customers in a way that creates real and true value for these customers. This way, you get loyal and satisfied customers, who are willing to pay the right price for your products and services.
You may even get customers, who are so enthusiastic and excited with the products and services, they buy from you, that they will start – without prompting – to talk positively about you and refer new customers in their network to you, this way becoming your most powerful “sales and marketing associates”. When this happens, it is evident that you have created something of lasting value to the customers. We call these ultra-satisfied customers your Positive Activists.
This will only occur, if your sales professionals and your leaders have the same mindsets – if they are also positive activists on behalf of your company and the products and services, you offer. Customer Positive Activism and employee Positive Activism are mindsets that go hand in hand, and so does customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. When your customers start to become Positive Activists, you will also see greater employee satisfaction and loyalty, because there is nothing that gives us as humans greater satisfaction than helping others optimally.
How do you compete?
If your competitive strategy is product leadership, i.e., if your product is so unique and excellent that it practically sells itself, and you have a culture in your company that enables you to bring superior products to the market continuously, then it is probably the product itself that turns your customers into positive activists and not so much the way, you interact with them.
If, on the other hand, your competitive strategy is operational excellence, i.e., your aim is always to be cheapest in the market, then it is probably the low price itself that creates the awareness, interest, and desire to buy your products, but it is unlikely that your customers will ever become Positive Activists, because their loyalty always comes with a price tag.
Only few companies can claim that they compete exclusively on either the best product (product leadership) or the best total cost (operational excellence), which leaves most companies competing on customer intimacy – creating real and true value for the customers with the best total customer solution. Or in other words, if you want to transform your customers into positive activists, then product + price + interaction must add up to an optimal perceived value for them.
The Customer Development Strategy
Still, customers turning into positive activists does not happen overnight. One of our key models, The Customer Development Strategy describes the journey that you and your customers undergo in this process, when customer intimacy is your competitive strategy.
The Customer Development Strategy is a meta-strategic tool for choosing your customers wisely, engaging with them intimately, and developing them from plain shoppers – those who have bought from you once – to clients – those who show the commitment and loyalty to come back for more and buy from you again – to positive activists – those customers who are so satisfied with your products and services that they simply cannot imagine not buying from you.
Predictable business growth
With quality products and services, the right people, and The Customer Development Strategy, you can generate true value and obtain the right prices from your customers. However, building a truly healthy, profitable, and sustainable business also requires that you can grow your business in a predictable way.
Predictability ensures that your company has the capacity to deliver what the customers want, when they want it, and at the same time, predictability ensures that you can maintain a trustworthy communication of company results and expectations to the stock market and other shareholders.
This predictability is typically addressed through a CRM and Customer Pipeline Management system. For such a system to work properly, it is important that the customer pipeline system is designed to reflect the way that your customers want to buy, rather than the way that your company wants to sell.
And it is equally important that your sales professionals have the sensory acuity to get the right data from the customers to feed into the system as well as the Personal Communication skills to deliver the right output in the interaction with the customers.
How to create a healthy, profitable, and sustainable business.
When all these parts play together in an optimal way, you have the formula for creating a healthy, profitable, and sustainable business.