About this episode
In this episode, Michael Haynes, a B2B customer, and marketing strategy specialist and author of the book Listen Innovate and Grow shares the best ways to drive growth with a buyer-driven B2B sales approach. Insights he shares include:
- How to gain the right understanding of the customer and the market
- Why businesses often struggle with sharing of customer information
- How to get to the heart of what the buyer and user is experiencing
- How to identify with buyers and users in your market or industry
- How to address the needs of the dual customer experience
- How to target B2B corporate customers and cater to influencers in those organizations
- How to make sure that your content is on point, and leads to a better set of expectations and user experience?
- Why digital is not everything and how to best incorporate face to face meetings to create better customer experiences
- How to focus on creating experiences, then emotions which deepen relationships
- The critical component to creating customer experiences that resonate
- How to ensure you have the right growth framework
- How the listen innovate grow framework can help
- How to use customer journey maps to provide the inputs we need
- Why understanding your own business is critical to the sales process
- How to strengthen your value proposition
- How to nurture customers in their respective buyer journeys
Subscribe to the Predictable B2B Success Podcast
- About this episode
- How to gain the right understanding of the customer and the market
- Why businesses often struggle with sharing customer information
- 1. Research
- 2. Ask
- How to use customer journey maps to provide the inputs you need
- Capture customer feedback in real-time
- Analyze your business mission and processes
- Work backward from the experience you want to deliver
- How to get to the heart of what the buyer and user is experiencing
- What to do if you cannot get customers to talk to you
- Invest in resources to deliver the experience
- 3. Listen
- Focus on creating experiences—with emotions that deepen relationships—to eliminate bad design early on
- Attend to customer needs and use feedback loops
- How can you assess your brand’s value and determine your customers’ needs without asking?
- Complement digital with face-to-face interactions
- How to nurture customers in their respective customer journeys
- Understand your customer experience metrics
- 4. Teach
- 5. Qualify
- 6. Close
- How the Listen Innovate Grow framework can help
- Implementing the Listen Innovate Grow framework to your B2B sales approach
In a world where a traditional vendor-centric sales approach is no longer effective, successful organizations are realizing that a buyer-driven B2B sales approach or a sales enablement strategy is required.
Why? Because research has proven it. According to Seismic, organizations with sales enablement tools or platforms experience:
- 350% increase in content usage
- 275% boost in conversions
- 65% more revenue generated by sellers
Aberdeen reports that organizations with a buyer-driven B2B sales approach have:
- 32% higher team sales quota attainment
- 24% better individual quota achievement
- 23% higher lead conversion rate
- 25% higher growth
How to gain the right understanding of the customer and the market
To have that in-depth understanding, you really need to take a step back and see:
- Where are you winning?
- What are the kinds of customers you’re getting?
- What are their needs?
- What are their requirements?
And as the different parts of your business—the customer success teams and the product team and the account team—are interacting and getting feedback from customers, make sure that the information is being shared and utilized across your business.
Often, you’ll find that valuable insights and feedback captured by one part of the organization are not being shared across the organization.
To drive growth with a buyer-driven B2B approach, you really need everyone to work together and spread the information about customers’ needs, preferences and requirements across the various departments so they can use it.
It’s about making sure you have that depth of understanding and making sure you’re pulling it in from all the parts of your organization. So, sharing that information means you can make sure you’re developing and delivering the right kinds of products and services, the support that the customers and clients are going to be looking for
Why businesses often struggle with sharing customer information
Michael says that he finds that the reluctance to share information tends to occur in large organizations that have become more sophisticated. And they do have mechanisms to engage and understand their customers.
When information is captured but not being shared in smaller organizations or smaller SMEs and your startup, it is often because they do not have enough information about the market. They are not reading industry reports, not listening to what influencers are saying, not going to conferences and understanding what’s happening in those industries. They are not talking to customers and prospects and understanding what they need. So, they’re not getting that external market, that customer point of view. They are not capturing that information and bringing it into the organization. They’re often jumping to the product and making a lot of assumptions about what customers need without really understanding or not interacting with members of the industry.
To take a buyer-driven B2B sales approach, you’ll need to focus on six key areas.
To acquire customers, you must be strategic in your approach. This requires research on your part and a common understanding across the company about who your ideal clients are and how best to create an emotional connection with them. This phase is foundational to the areas that follow so let’s explore this some more.
Understand your audience
Do you know: Who is your audience and what are their motivations?
To get this information, you need to:
- Profile the types of customers your customer service team deals with every day.
- Once you have enough information, create buyer personas.
Take the example of a persona that Referral Saasquatch shares. You’ll notice it includes a face to the persona, includes information about purchasing decisions, who influences his purchasing choices and the key people who impact the persona’s purchasing decisions within the organization.
Create an emotional connection with your audience
The Journal of Consumer Research has found that more than 50% of an experience is based on emotion because emotions shape the attitudes that drive decisions. This is similar to the findings of a Google-backed study.
Customers become fully connected with a brand (like Apple products) because they remember how they feel when they use a product or service.
According to the Harvard Business Review study titled “The New Science of Customer Emotions,” emotionally engaged customers are:
- At least three times more likely to recommend your product or service
- Three times more likely to re-purchase
- Less likely to shop around
- Less price sensitive
An example of this is Microsoft’s mini-documentary on virtual care rooms.
In Sweden, Microsoft created a mini-documentary about Anna Lisa Lirell, a diabetic lady who was visiting the first virtual care room in a small Swedish village called Slussfors. The mini-documentary centers around the story of Anna Lisa and her experience of a revolutionary approach to healthcare, and it definitely shows you why you should care.
The video received more than 34,000 views on YouTube, and Microsoft has since been asked to present on digital transformation at several Swedish Country Councils and is being viewed as an option to provide rural healthcare in Africa.
How to guard against disruptions in industries
You can’t really guard against disruption. It is going to happen because of what’s happening with technology. This along with new ways of working and new ways of doing things are changing customer expectations. It’s really about keeping abreast of those disruptions and then trying to understand how you’re going to respond to them.
So, it is more about understanding disruption rather than guarding against it. Then asking – How are we going to respond to it by taking the market view and a customer view.
This could mean reevaluating who your true customers or ideal customers are and deciding whether to pursue them or not. You may still want to pursue them—perhaps there is an opportunity to provide them new products and services, or maybe they’re a channel. If so, the manner in which you deliver to them might change. Steps to take would be:
- Identify the disruption that’s occurring.
- Then identify the impact that the disruption has on your brand in terms of customer market opportunity and customer market needs.
Research your competitors
Analyzing market trends can be very useful in helping to identify new opportunities in terms of new offerings and/or new customers to be served. Analyzing your competition as defined by your buyers (the alternatives they consider to meet their priorities, challenges, and objectives–these could be either direct or indirect competitors) can also be useful.
Once you have identified areas where improvements must be made, you can have your research about the competition inform how you develop strategic goals and objectives and how you implement a successful CX (customer experience) strategy. This, in turn, can tell you what needs to be done first.
Continuing on from the research phase, the more information you can acquire the more you can help specific customers, add value and differentiate your brand from the competition. Asking questions is, therefore, an important part of your B2B sales approach, because it minimizes the dangers of making assumptions.
Here are a few ways to ensure your “ask” phase strengthens your B2B sales approach and strategy.
How to use customer journey maps to provide the inputs you need
Your sales approach in B2B needs to be buyer-driven. In other words, based on how buyers buy.
Who is involved, what information they use, people they talk to, activities they undertake as part of the buying decision process will determine the kinds of marketing/sales approach taken.
The B2B sales approach is about building trust, delivering value through information, insights, tools, and advice that will both:
- Help buyers with their priorities and challenges
- Assist them in the buying process
A study showed that 79% of B2B buyers expect them to be trusted advisors. Customer journey maps can be to understand how customers interact with you. That’s going to be one input to help you to identify areas for innovation. But it will also come as part of your listening to a customer.
Understanding your buyers means being motivated to understand what’s going on in the market and the industry that you’re serving as well. So, customer journey maps will be one component of understanding your customers. They will not be sufficient by themselves for you to remain competitive, but they are definitely very useful and can provide great input into your sales approach.
Capture customer feedback in real-time
How do you know if your customer experience strategy is working and if customers are connecting with your product or service?
Capture their feedback in as close to real-time as possible. Capturing customer feedback is important. This approach is user-oriented and the feedback will be useful for improving the user experience. Having said that, users are often influencers to buying decision-making process
How do you do this? Here are a few ways:
- Use live chat tools.
- Send every customer a post-interaction survey by email or text message.
- Call them to gain more insightful feedback.
Analyze your business mission and processes
To know what success looks like with your customer experience strategy, you need to understand your business objectives.
If your business objectives and customer’s happiness don’t align, you are likely to run into problems.
So, identify the business objectives and the challenges to achieving them.
Here are some questions to ask:
- What resources do you need to fulfill objectives through your customer experience strategy?
- What gaps exist between customer expectations and their current experiences?
- How good are your internal processes at supporting customers?
- Which tools can you use to improve customer experience?
Once you have the answers, you’ll know what steps to take.
Work backward from the experience you want to deliver
It only makes sense to work backward from the objective you want to achieve through to the technology and staff.
- Map your brand’s customer and user experience touchpoints and stages.
- identify the opportunities to make an impression and reinforce your USP.
- Ensure the experience and practical issues are addressed no matter how small.
Michael adds this note of caution –
In B2B particularly when dealing with large organizations buyers and users are often separate people. Those involved in the buying decision process may not be involved with nor use the products or services. Therefore in B2B, you need to deliver a dual CX…one for buyers and that of users. Buyers are often driven by key strategic and financial priorities while user requirements can be from a more operational perspective and really get into the detail of things eg, how to order, deliver, implement, integrate, service levels etc.
Again that is not to say that these elements may not be important. They are and they can indeed be factors impacting the purchase decision. However, buyers often have those considerations around cost, risk, strategic priorities resulting in different criteria in how they make the purchase and what they deem to be a good customer experience helping them in the decision to buy.
How to get to the heart of what the buyer and user is experiencing
To get to the heart of what any buyer or user needs, you must ask a lot of questions.
You need to understand their business, their industry. You really have to be quite informed about what’s going on in their organization, so that you can really identify and say how what you are offering will solve their issues and meet their specific requirements.
So, when you meet with your prospects, be armed and ready. You have to go in as an advisor to these organizations really knowing what’s going on in the market that they’re serving with their end customers, with their industry. You must really have a strong understanding of their business.
What to do if you cannot get customers to talk to you
If you cannot talk to customers directly, there are other ways to address the issue.
- Look at your industry publications.
- Listen to podcasts that are relevant to the industry and the market that you’re going after. Go to conferences, meet-ups or networking events,
- Use LinkedIn to leverage your business contacts—and personal network—because that’s something that you should be building and cultivating.
- Find out who are the influences—who are the bloggers and journalists—who are writing and talking about what’s going on in your industry.
It’s really about doing your research. If you can talk to customers or prospects, your current customers or your competitors’ customers, you definitely want to leverage that as well.
Invest in resources to deliver the experience
A key part of creating the right customer experience strategy and being able to implement it comes down to having the right people in the organization. They, in turn, don’t just impact the experience but can play a key role in acquiring the right set of tools and investments to further your customer experience.
Obsess over the details of your customers. Knowing customer likes and dislikes gives the chance to act on them, personalizing the experience.
Use these tips to find the right people:
- Focus on skills that matter: interpersonal skills, the ability to interact and connect with people and maintain calm in a crisis.
- Create a set of principles to follow, so customer interactions are consistently smooth.
- If you are capturing customer feedback around their experiences, then you’ll know what customers think about the quality of your service. To bridge the gap between where you stand and where you’d like the experience to be, you’ll need to identify the training needs for each member of your team.
- Many organizations assess the quality of phone and email communication. However, a quality framework goes one step further by scheduling and tracking your team’s development through coaching, eLearning and group training. Rich Rose has developed a process for radically improving customer service for business growth.
There is a lot being said about listening, but most businesses and people don’t do it effectively. To put it simply, once you ask you need to listen and do very little talking.
What does this look like when implementing a B2B sales approach? The following steps will help.
Focus on creating experiences—with emotions that deepen relationships—to eliminate bad design early on
Trying to get their needs met, your future customers can experience your brand through online channels or offline experiences. All it could take for them to turn away is one bad buyer experience. Users too can provide feedback to your potential buyers so ensuring their experience is outstanding will only support the case for your business to be the go-to solution of choice.
Therefore, it only makes sense to plan every stage of the customer experience carefully, from discovery to purchase to advocacy.
In B2B terms, helping to create those customer experiences is about having those discussions and dialogue with your clients and customers. Having your customer visits, customer meetings, where you’re meeting with various customer teams and you’re discussing their issues—what’s working, what’s not working—you’re sharing information, what you are doing. It’s quite important.
I have a legal client in Canada, a law firm. We periodically have meetings with their client teams, to discuss issues, what’s going to be happening. We have workshop meetings and dialogues, as seen in technical environments, telecommunication, for example, where we conducted strategic Customer Review class workshop sessions, where we bring in folks from product engineering sales, and we talk about product roadmaps, service levels—what are the issues, what’s working, what’s not working?
By having those kinds of discussions, and then determining the actions that need to occur, that power. Delivering and doing what you’re saying you’re going to do. That’s how you build strong relationships. You build trust that will lead to the right kinds of feelings, the ongoing relationships so that those customers will not only buy more from you, they can also be your biggest advocates and sources of referrals.
It’s really about having that engagement, that dialogue, and then responding, communicating. Those things are quite important. That’s what builds the trust, the confidence that will lead to great experiences, what’s going to lead to advocacy, retention referrals because we can work with you. We can help drive the growth of your business.
Constant engagement with your customers by investing in communication and feedback is also important. Do what you’re saying you’re going to be doing and making sure you take that delivering, keeping in mind that dual customer experience is quite important. Because quite often when you’re dealing with large organizations, I found, as I said, there’s a tendency to focus heavily on things from a user standpoint, particularly when you’re getting into technology or complex products, and people do not keep in mind what buyers and decision-makers require. Because they’re looking for insights, advice and things to help them remain competitive and meet their strategic objectives. So, it’s really about taking both views, both lenses on the organization and trying to satisfy both.
Attend to customer needs and use feedback loops
Michael says –
Feedback loops are a good idea. However, we need to be mindful that particularly in larger organizations..your senior-level executive buyers don’t engage in the likes of surveys. So B2B product and service providers should also be open to and using other mechanisms such as Decision Maker Summits, Customer Advisory Panels, Meetings to gain feedback from a buyer perspective.
80% of businesses believe they provide a “superior experience” to customers. But only 8% of customers would describe the service they’ve received in such glowing terms.
When customers aren’t happy, the bottom line is affected, not just in the short term but in the long term as well. In fact, in the U.S. alone it is estimated that businesses collectively lose $83 billion a year due to shoddy customer service.
How can you assess your brand’s value and determine your customers’ needs without asking?
Keep an ear out for what people are saying about you, your industry, your products or services. They’ll tell you what they expect. Also, create feedback loops.
- Use post-interaction and real-time feedback surveys. Follow up with customers over the phone for more details.
- Pay attention to what is being said about you on social media. This is where customers are usually the most honest.
Complement digital with face-to-face interactions
Marketing means educating customers on what’s great about your products and services, pushing them toward purchase. Digitalization and the internet have drastically shifted customers’ decision-making processes. They have an important role because, as part of the buying process, studies have proven, people will go online to read your case studies, look at your website, get a sense of what you’re all about.
Michael says –
Digital will help you to “connect” with those buyers and influencers through the information you provide and perhaps through online correspondence. However given the costs, risks and business implications involved it is often through the F2F interactions that the sale is “brought across the line” and trust is fully solidified.
So, you have to have your online presence done right with the right kinds of tools, information, etc., to demonstrate the value of what you can provide to their organization.
At the same time, we have to be conscious that B2B is still about dealing with people, it’s big dollars, big risk. And business buyers are going to be with whom they know, like and trust. They have to feel confident that you’re going to be able to deliver what it is that they’re looking for.
How to nurture customers in their respective customer journeys
The things you want to keep in mind are, again, looking at how you’re going to grow? It could be around going after new kinds of customers. It could be around building your existing networks, your existing customers, providing new products and services, it could be about pursuing both new customers and new products and services.
So, it’s about looking at what are the different options of how you want to grow. Quite often, market expansion, going into new markets is a key consideration. And the key way to grow is to look at your growth pathway and then making sure you’re meeting all those requirements, in conjunction with having the right market knowledge, skills and capability for the growth opportunities you seek.
You can also use customer journey maps to understand how your customers or buyers interact with you and how they want to interact with you.
Make sure you’re providing the right kind of information through the right channels.
Make sure you’re easy to do business with. In all those interactions, those touchpoints, make sure it’s what they’re seeking. Make it easy, seamless.
So, everything from your website, your call centers, dealing with leads to your product specialists or accounting, making sure that the engagements, the interactions, are easy, seamless. Ask yourself: What are the habits that could support the things that you want to be doing?
Understand your customer experience metrics
You have probably heard the saying, “If it can’t be measured, it can’t be improved.” Failing to measure your customer experience would mean missing out on valuable input and not listening to your customers.
Measuring the customer experience isn’t just about tracking and measuring customer-facing team performance. That alone won’t provide the whole picture. Teams that operate behind the scenes can have a big impact on customer experience too.
Focus on quantitative insights using measures like:
NPS: Net Promoter Score shows the percentage of your customers who would/wouldn’t recommend your company to their friends, family or colleagues.
CSAT: Customer Satisfaction Score is a transactional metric showing how satisfied customers are with a recent interaction. This is often a purchase or a customer service call. It’s flexible and highly customizable.
CES: Customer Effort Score shows the effort expended by customers to accomplish a task. It could be having a support request handled or finding the product they are looking for.
Michael says –
Educating and advising is critical in B2B and is now the focus of B2B sales approach in most instances. This is where much of your sales efforts now need to be.
While actively listening to the buyer, look for teaching opportunities that can help educate them.
Because teaching helps your future customers discover that what they want might not be what they need. From a psychological point of view, a key benefit is that when a future customer learns something new, the principle of reciprocity kicks in helping build preference and loyalty. When teaching, avoid talking about your own product or services.
How to identify with buyers and users in your market or industry
The fact is today many decision-makers in a buying decision in a B2B sales process aren’t necessarily users of the service or product.
So, we need to identify with and address the needs of both groups in a buyer-driven B2B sales approach. The way to do that, according to Michael, is to deliver what he calls the dual customer experience.
This means making sure that you’re catering to the needs of users and business buyers. With larger organizations, they are really thinking about those big strategic objectives around market share, industry leadership, key financials, so you have to give them the information and advice to cater to that.
At the same time, you have to make sure you’re meeting the needs of those who are using your product or service. So, to make sure they’ve got the right kind of training and tools. You need to have a service and support process so that people know how to use your product or service, how to seek help, what restoration protocol to follow should service go down.
If, if there’s an issue. Your systems go down. Communication about the restoration has to be delivered to your customers at both levels.
Another reason that’s important is that your users will often be the influencers who provide feedback to decision-makers when it comes time to renew contracts. Decision-makers will often go to the users, the subject matter experts, and say, “Okay, we’ve got suppliers A, B, and C, which one should we go to and why?”
That’s why delivering good service support, an overall customer experience is so important. You want the users who are often alpha influencers to say your company is the one that should be considered, and hopefully selected, when it comes time for a cross-sell, upsell or contract renewal.
How to make sure that your content is on point, and that it leads to a better set of expectations and user experiences
In large organizations, it is often the case that many people are involved in purchasing decisions.
Michael says the average, according to a recent study, is around six to seven people. In IT and highly complex organizations, it goes to eight to 10.
Part of that decision-making group will not just be your senior-level executives; you will have folks that will be your influencers who are often users themselves. You have to be able to provide for them in terms of product specifications. They may want case studies. They may want diagnostic tool demonstrations. So that will all be part of the buying process.
So, it’s very important that you understand who all the participants in the buying process are, what information or tool demonstrations they need, what things will they want to see, as part of that decision making. Cases involving technology or complex products are likely to require a mix of sources of information and/or tools.
It boils down to making sure you create engagement mechanisms so you can interact with them to get feedback to understand what’s working, what’s not working, ways to improve. Because it’s not a one-off. You constantly have to be modifying and tweaking to meet the needs of various customers and clients.
The critical component to creating a buyer-driven B2B sales approach is understanding those use cases. And so, that’s where things, like having those discussions, seeing them face to face, sending a “day in the life” video and watching how they’re using the products or services, are quite critical. That will tell you what things you need to deliver in terms of your systems, your processes, training, and reporting. They will help you determine what content you need to deliver and what needs to happen.
From an online perspective, it will really help you to determine the experience roadmap that you need to deliver for a client. So, it’s absolutely critical that you need to understand exactly how they are using your product.
When does an account-based marketing approach make sense?
Michael says an account-based marketing approach makes sense when you’re talking to large enterprise customers. You definitely want to take a very holistic approach or account point of view.
Looking at the customer holistically will help you understand the various business units and the “players”—the key stakeholders—so you can make sure you’re really servicing them across all their functional areas. Taking an overall customer view, knowing who the key stakeholders are, is very important. It will also enable you to identify opportunities for upselling, cross-sell and increase the overall lifetime value of that customer.
Traditionally, sales training used to advocate a process of “Always be closing.” A more appropriate approach would be to “always be qualifying.” This tells you what your next steps should be, and it also feeds into the three areas above. When qualifying you can follow the popular GPCT and BANT approaches:
Goals: Try to get quantitative goals. What do they need to achieve?
Plans: What are their strategies and tactics to achieve those goals?
Challenges: What is standing in their way?
Timing: When are they supposed to achieve their goals?
Budget: Do they have the means to fund a solution to their problem?
Authority: What person has influence in the company to authorize the purchase?
Need: Does the buyer have a specific pain that you can solve?
Timeline: Is there a deadline for when the prospect needs your solution?
With most failed sales opportunities, the problems can usually be attributed to not having good answers for GPCT and BANT.
If you’ve done the first five steps correctly, closing will feel like a natural next step and not an arm-twisting exercise. Your future customer will feel comfortable. They will know what they need to do next, and they will have fewer questions and less buyer’s remorse.
A Demand Gen study indicates that an average B2B buyer is 70% through the buying decision before engaging with a salesperson. To be relevant and useful to your future customers you must find a way to provide more value and assist customers during their journey.
Inbound marketing company HubSpot uses a GPCTBA/C&I process they developed internally to be used during an exploratory call. Here’s a breakdown of their three-part framework.
GPCT (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline)
Goals is where you discover the qualitative goals and establish yourself as an advisor.
Ask about the person’s and the company’s goals, the priorities for the year and revenue objectives. You want to identify quantifiable goals that your prospects need to reach and provide help if the goals need resetting or quantifying.
Plans is where you start to assess the prospect’s plan for hitting their goals and their chances of implementing it.
Challenges is where you try to seize the day and figure out what keeps the prospects from reaching their goal. This is when you determine whether your product or service is the right solution for the prospect.
Timeline is obviously focused on figuring out timing and determining whether it is the right time to offer your solution.
BA (Budget & Authority). Once you finish qualifying the lead using the GPCT approach, it’s time to talk about how the prospects will make the decision and which budget will pay for it.
Budget is the critical part where you learn what your prospect’s financial capabilities are and whether you’ll be able to offer a solution. Then move on to identifying the decision-maker and go through GPCT with them if it’s a different person.
C&I (Negative Consequences and Positive Implications). The last stage focuses on establishing your value proposition. Find out what will happen when your prospects reach or don’t reach their goals and how your product can be of value to them.
How to strengthen your value proposition
It’s really about leveraging your strengths and aligning them with customer needs. This could strengthen your value proposition, or it might even alter it. You might decide, given what’s happening with customers and technology, to make a real big pivot or what we call business model innovation.
Business model innovation is where you turn something on its head and do it completely differently.
Michael says his view is that business model innovation is something that’s quite hard. It’s quite risky, it takes a lot of investment. So, it’s something that’s not for startups and SMEs.
I think that you’re going to be doing more incremental innovation in terms of modifying one or more dimensions around, let’s say, new products, new services. You might get some strategic partners, change your marketing, etc. So, it’ll be along some component of your business as opposed to a whole new business model or by really disrupting, totally reinventing the business.
How the Listen Innovate Grow framework can help
The Listen Innovate Grow framework is something that Michael and his co-author developed to help startups and SMEs understand how to have sustainable, competitive, profitable businesses in the B2B context.
It encompasses more than the six key areas we have covered. The framework can be broken down into 3 broad areas:
Listening is all about understanding your industries, market and the customers and also the buyers that you’re serving because you really understand what you need to focus on in terms of products and services, what industries, what markets, what customers, who buys, how they buy and why they buy.
Innovation is all about how you’re going to win, how you are going to remain competitive, be profitable. It’s about looking at your business holistically. So, in terms of innovation today, we’re not necessarily talking about product innovation, we’re talking about business innovation. So, where are the opportunities to either make improvements and/or an introduction across a business? It might be around your system because “Be around the processes” could be around your marketing, it could be around what we call organizational innovations. We might also look at partner alliances. Then there are, of course, the typical areas that most people think of innovation—your products and services. But it’s looking at your business holistically based on understanding the kinds of markets and customers you are going after. Where are the levers? Can you refine, improve and change, remain competitive, to meet customer needs, so that you can achieve your growth objectives?
Grow is all about how you manage the growth—not just the growth itself, but also the people, the culture, your finances—how you grow and maintain your organization in a way that is conducive to further innovation, growth, and success.
Implementing the Listen Innovate Grow framework to your B2B sales approach
It’s a way of doing business today. The world is continually changing. Customers have continuously changing needs. Businesses are changing; where they’ve got new technologies, there’s a lot of disruption. As a result, you have to be constantly listening and understanding what’s going on with the industry, the market, the customers that you’re serving.
If one or more of those elements are changing, then you’re probably going to have to modify those elements of your business. Perhaps it involves how you market your products, your core, your partners, the systems and the processes. All this modification is necessary to achieve the growth and profitability that you’re seeking.
- Michael’s book – Listen, Innovate, Grow: A Guidebook for Startups and Small Businesses Looking to Acquire and Grow Business Customers
- Visit Michael’s site
- Connect with Michael on LinkedIn