While last week, we sought to increase customer value, lets look at ways in which we can redefine customer value. What are the ways we can grow by rethinking the jobs customers are trying to accomplish and use this to create new value, then enhancing their current value, or increasing their ability to derive value from your offerings.
An important frontier in B2B sales is redefining what we consider to be customer value itself. New means are emerging to reframe customer value, alter our customer perceptions of value, and even influence the emotions attached to it. These create, in turn, greater opportunities to expand the value delivered to customers.
My reading and research into emerging B2B sales practices to go beyond the traditional bounds of customer value revolve around making sales:
Advanced analytics and the widespread availability of data sets of correlating information make it easier to match customers with products and services that fit their true, objectively assessed needs. In the same way that Amazon suggests interesting items based on cumulative purchasing and browsing data, linking it to how you have searched on their site, B2B sales organizations are starting to use customer intelligence to create value beyond what customers are able to articulate or envision themselves, even when guided by experts.
New players in the banking sector use algorithms to intelligently track the data points their clients leave in various digital platforms such as Amazon, eBay, or Facebook. They create a comprehensive profile of a potential banking customer and allow institutions to decide whether to offer banking services—fully digitally enabled and within seconds.
Educating customers is gaining new meaning through virtual experiences, augmented reality, and simulated environments that help customers to truly absorb the potential value of your augmented offering.
An example of this is GE’s new customer experience center, for example, showcases power grid control centers and functionalities on an interactive 18-meter video wall.
P&G since 2004 has used a room with 360-degree video screens to simulate how a customer’s store would look with the changes P&G suggests; what can you do to mirror this?
Sales without selling.
B2B sales have always been the more functional and rational brother of B2C sales, with Consumer focussed powerful brands and “sophisticated” marketing. Although this continues to be true, technology and connectivity make it possible to meaningfully interact with larger numbers of B2B buyers and sales influencers at an acceptable cost—for example, by reaching out to end users within organisations directly through the internet and youtube, or Linkedin rather than their direct customers.
IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative and campaign is a highly visible example of connecting beyond the direct customer base. And, on a smaller yet very powerful scale, building equipment providers are providing information and support measures to architects and design agencies, which can influence their customers’ specifications and product choices.