At their very core, every organization, regardless of the industry, exists to fulfill particular needs, meet specific demands, and solve specific problems - problems that customers are willing to pay for.
Your buyers are the ones running the show - or at least they should be.
It's their needs you must fulfill, their demands you have to meet, and their problems that you need to solve. All while delivering an experience that delights and satisfies them.
And the secret to long-term business success is understanding that solving a customer’s problem shouldn’t a transactional experience. No, it’s an ongoing relationship - a continuous journey.
In exchange for their continued loyalty (and payment for your product or service), your customers will expect that you work hard at creating products that make their lives easier and staying on top of their ever-shifting wants and needs.
A near obsessive focus on customer satisfaction is what customer-centric company culture is all about. The genuine benefit to you, your team, and your company is that you will continuously have a direction and a mission that, by its very nature, will always keep you on the right track toward sustainable growth and success.
Product, sales, and marketing teams, all need to work closely together to put the buyer front and center. As your product improves over time, so will the satisfaction of your customers, but this will only serve as motivation and inspiration for your competitors. Only by keeping your 'ear to the ground' and listening to the changing market, you will be able to anticipate trends and keep yourself ahead of the curve.
How to Never Stop Learning About Your Buyer
Though it should go without saying, I’m going to say it anyway - learning all there is to know about your buyer, will not only have a profound impact on your business strategy, but it will also affect the way your employees understand how to define, attract, engage, and convert your ideal buyer.
And that means customer centricity should be part of your company culture - a core part.
When we talk about fundamental principles of your company culture, it can feel like the only way to make progress on buyer understanding is from the top down. But I'm here to explain how anyone in sales, marketing, or product can roll up their sleeves and get started to taking a BIG leap forward.
The first step to improving your understanding of your ideal customer profile (ICP) is to review of all your current customers.
Depending on the size, maturity, and nature of your business, this could take a few forms. You might run a win report in your CRM, gathering critical data about your customers, particularly any deals that closed within the last 12-18 months. Make sure to include names, titles, industry, lead source, deal size, time-to-close, and any other data that might be relevant. For example, if you frequently have more than one buyer involved in closing a deal, you'll want to also catalog influencers, technical buyers, etc.
Looking through this data, you'll want to see which are happiest with your product, generate the most revenue for your company, and cost the least to acquire, support, and expand. You also want to understand their customer journey - how they heard about you, what information they required to make a decision, and who was involved in the buying process.
The idea is to understand who is your ideal buyer - the ones that straight up love your product - so you can be sure to target them with your sales and marketing efforts. This will generate a higher ROI on your customer acquisition costs (CAC) and lead to faster growth.
All statistics point to the fact that keeping your customers happy is the key to success. It's between 5 to 25 times costlier to get a new client than to keep an already-existing one happy. What's more, your loyal customers buy an average of 90% more and spend 60% more than new ones. Last but not least, happy customer referrals are the best source of new leads.
As one of the most influential leadership experts in the world, Ken Blanchard, once said: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions;” so you should be looking to get the last drop of information direct from the source.
With this in mind, ask your customers and buyers questions at every touch point - even before they become customers. For example, on your lead generation forms, throw in another question asking about their pain points, their challenges, their goals. You’ll have a better chance at identifying high-quality prospects and leveraging their insight to spark a conversation.
And even if criticisms can sometimes hurt, they will reveal potential problems that you may not have been aware. Nevertheless, problems do exist, even if you know about them or not, and it's always better to fix them than to hope that things will eventually resolve themselves.
Alongside such processes as social media monitoring, ethnographic research, website analytics, comment section observation, or customer complaints, you should always be using surveys and questionnaires wherever you can fit them. Customer feedback can be gathered via email and customer contact forms, usability tests, exploratory customer interviews, social media, or additional questions on marketing forms..
The point is to use all the tools at your disposal to identify as many unknowns and assumptions you have about your buyers and replace them with consistent and reliable data. Also, make sure that all of your teams are engaged in this effort and are sharing the information with each other, for more excellent results.
Learning about your buyers is an important process that can guarantee the success of your business. But you need to remember that they are neither static nor one-dimensional, meaning that the wants and needs of your existing customers, as well as your target buyers, are continually changing.
Keeping yourself up-to-date, or even ahead of these changes, can mean the difference between making it or not. With the right strategy and approach, you will no longer have to keep up with the trends, but actually, be creating them.