I recently attended a most interesting event hosted by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. The topic was Digital Transformation Trends in the Middle Market.
First of all, I was surprised to learn how many Mid-Sized firms are still sitting on the fence about implementing an “All Things Digital” strategy to create competitive advantage for themselves. Inertia to keep doing what we’ve always done seems to be alive and well in the Middle Market.
But, I digress…
What I found to be more interesting, was not hearing the panelists discuss their digital transformation efforts in the context of how their transformation helped them solve their customer’s challenges.
Instead the panelists’ conversations centered around internal “cost savings,” and “driving results” which was, no doubt, guided by internal and external pressures to accelerate growth, improve margins, and increase sales.
I know what your thinking – cost savings are advantageous for our customers – which is true. I am not naïve about the indirect benefits your customers receive when you reduce waste, or make it easier for them to engage with you. I also fully understand how those efforts can potentially improve your top and bottom line results – and you should be doing all these things. But all the efficiencies in the world will not save you if you are not consistently focused on addressing your customer’s unmet needs better than your competition as your single most important strategy.
Are We Really a Customer-Centric Organization?
A good test to see if your organization focusing on your customer over your own need to sell is to listen carefully to your internal discussions – if you find yourselves talking more and more about your need to “drive sales,” “achieve quotas,” and “reduce costs” vs addressing unmet customer challenges, you are by default concentrating more on your needs than on the needs of your customers.
I apologize in stating the obvious, but your customer does not have an urgent need to solve their challenges based on you achieving your quarterly sales or cost savings objectives. And using arbitraty incentives to create an urgent purchase behavior may actually be “training” your customers to wait until you are even more desperate to make a deal.
In a world where everyone’s solution looks like every other solution, having your focus on solving your customer’s challenges, and conveying your advantages in more compelling and relevant ways than your competition must come first.
If you are in the business of offering digital transformation solutions, addressing your customer’s job to be done* by educating your customers about the advantages of making the switch, giving them a plan to ease into your solution based on their timeline, showing them how you will help them every step of the way, and how you will be there for them when they have challenges after the sale will possibly be the compelling messages those “fence-sitting” Middle Market firms need to hear to make the leap.
* “Know Your Customer’s Job to Be Done,” by Clayton Christensen, is a revealing HBR article that will help change your thinking on what it really means to be to a customer-centric organization.
About Downing Goliath
Downing Goliath is a marketing and sales process strategy consulting practice formed to help enterprises [large and small] think beyond traditional ways of engaging with your customers.
To further explore these ideas and learn how Downing Goliath can help you change the narratives inside your company, download our white papers on customer-focused engagement, and then contact us about our workshops on Go-To-Market Planning and consulting services on Customer Engagement Modeling Strategies.