With the availability of increasingly robust CRM systems, we're hearing a lot lately about "360 degree" customer programs, which involve developing one complete and cohesive view of a company's most important customers.
The goal behind such programs is to serve priority customers holistically through thoughtful and strategic account planning.
The end game is to increase share of wallet with these customers by offering suites of solutions designed to drive their business initiatives, as opposed to selling them a bunch of point products.
To win at this game, you need two things:
1. A clear understanding of the company, its strategy, the key players and CXO priorities--all of these are foundational elements of any strategic account plan.
2. Relationships throughout the organization, from the middle managers to the C-suite.
Yet most 360 programs we have seen focus less on these two essential elements and more on all the internal "clutter" that tends to build up in the CRM. Info about pipeline, products, past deployments, etc. While this is all important, it doesn't address these two foundational elements, above. Customer intelligence should be focused on CXO priorities, real executive intelligence.
Case in point: Recently we had the opportunity to review a strategic account plan with one of our customers. It was rich with information about the customer and had pages upon pages of detail about which products had been deployed and which ones they wanted to sell to the customer next. What it lacked was that view into the people leading the company's strategy and making the decisions--who they are, where they came from and what they care about.
Plus, the account lead confessed, "we put this together once a year and then we really don't look at it again."
Bottom line: your customer doesn't care about your pipeline or your products. They care about the strategy and priorities established by their executive team and how they can best execute against that. Demonstrating how you can support and drive these priorities opens doors and gets you on your way to building trusted relationships.
As one CIO told us recently, "If you are relevant to what I care about, I won't wait for you to call me. I'll call you."
So as you embark on your 360 planning, don't forget the two most essential ingredients: CXO priorities and relationships.
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