Growth is a challenge for many business executives. Why? Because every business faces the same pressures. To survive and thrive, companies need to hit their profit targets. They have rent and bills to pay; they need to keep people on their payrolls and spend cash upfront for product production. And that is only to sustain the basics. There is no way to reduce those pressures and thrive their business without top-line growth at a profitable margin.
On top of the basics, there is a never-stopping demand to respond to changes in the market they operate in. Often they feel they are at the tail of industrial and technological changes. In contrast, they would like to be at the front. No company wants to be left behind. There is always a fear of missing out. The biggest and most unpredictable changes, however, come from their own and new customer base. Consumer preferences change more frequently than ever, making it hard to keep up. To add more tension into the cooker, when the business goes well, there is always the threat of complacency; recognizing changes too late and leaving the door for the competition open can cause a downward spiral to bankruptcy as we have seen with Nokia, Kodak, Blockbusters, and Sears to name a few.
When executives are asked what growth strategy they are working on, many respond with the traditional ways of developing markets and products to gain more customers (you may have heard about the Ansoff matrix):
- market penetration – sell existing products to more customers
- market development – sell existing products to new (often) geographically located customers
- products development – sell new products to existing customers
- diversification – sell new products in new markets
In addition, they may work on other growth strategies such as loyalty programs, mergers, or acquisitions. Or a strategy that we see more and more often: disrupt a whole industry. We have seen plenty of those in the last decades, such as Amazon, Alibaba, Uber. Heck, even McDonald’s disrupted the hamburger industry when Ray Kroc found ways to attract every kid and family in the world to their restaurants in the 1950s.
But there is one growth strategy often overlooked, misunderstood, or under-valued: The Customer Experience (CX) Growth Strategy. In her book “Growth IQ” (that I strongly recommend every salesperson to read, to improve business acumen), Tiffany Bova claims that Customer Experience is the true source of competitive differentiation in the twenty-first century. Many B2B businesses make the mistake of thinking that CX’s hype is only applicable to B2C companies. These executives overlook that their own employees (and themselves) are also B2C consumers and bring new expectations to the work floor.
Customer Experience is a strategy that can generate exponential growth. It needs to sit at the intersection of all functions, all employees, and all decisions. It sits at the last mile of every package and the first impression when walking into a store. It is everywhere and anywhere. It is the new battlefield. A CX growth strategy needs focus from top executives to the bottom frontiers and vice versa. How can you help your dream prospect with their CX growth strategy? How can you deliver a customer experience that triggers five-star likes and insightful and memorable reviews? When you talk to your next prospect, you have plenty of evidence to back up your focus on CX and how you want to help their business:
- 86% of customers are willing to spend more for a better customer experience
- Companies that excel in CX grow revenue 4-8 percent above their market.
- 72% of customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people. On the other hand, if a customer is not happy, 13% of them will share their experience with 15 or even more.
Customers remember the experience they have with a brand longer than they remember the price they paid. Can you help your dream prospect to see that it makes sense to invest in additional services so that the end-consumer has a better experience? Challenge your prospects, and ask them, “How can I help you with using CX as a strategy for exponential growth?”. If you think about it, your mindset, your Trusted advisor attitude, and your selling with the buyer’s perspective -in itself- is a customer experience for your prospect that sets you apart from your competitor sales reps.
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