More and more business leaders realise the importance of becoming customer-obsessed to achieve success in the B2B business world. That is, putting the customer at the centre of all business decisions and actions to unlock the path to innovation.
"The path to innovation is customer obsession". Ron McMurtrie opens his latest article in Forbes with this strong statement.
According to the Chief Commercial Officer of Honeywell Connected Enterprise, the key to innovation and business success is to put the customer at the centre of all business decisions and actions. In other words, implementing a customer-centric perspective.
Businesses focused on transactional sales often struggle to grow, especially in the B2B market, where competition is more aggressive and therefore the need for companies to tailor their solutions to specific customer needs is even greater.
Another recurrent strategy of successful B2B companies is to focus on solving the problem of a specific customer and then scale the solution across similar customers, broadening its scope to solve a wider range of problems.
In any case, the success of a B2B company nowadays depends on its level of customer obsession or, in other words, its level of customer-centric adoption.
What does being customer-obsessed mean?
Customer obsession refers to the obsession of a company's marketing, sales and customer service team to really get to know customers and understand their needs, dissatisfactions and pain points. In other words, understanding the consumer at all levels and focusing all actions and business strategies on satisfying these needs and resolving these dissatisfactions.
The customer-centric perspective is based on putting the customer at the epicentre of all business decisions and actions. A customer-centric company does not perceive consumers as monetary transactions, but as people whose needs must be put first.
What happens when a B2B company becomes customer-centric?
When a company becomes customer-centric —or customer-obsessed— it is building a business model of shared success in which the success of the company is directly related to the success of its customers. If customers succeed, the company succeeds. If customers don't get what they want, the company doesn't get what it wants.
Business success is based on meeting customer needs and understanding the competitive landscape to provide more effective solutions. To do this, B2B companies must start by asking themselves:
- What does the client need?
- How can I help them get it?
- How can I make life easier for them?
These simple questions can solve big problems. When a B2B company becomes customer-centric, it begins to know its customers better than its competitors and to solve needs that competitors have not solved.
In practice, the customer-centric philosophy translates into offering more integrated solutions tailored to the specific needs of each customer. Beyond the services offered, the customer experience is equally important and one of the aspects that most influences customer satisfaction, the relationship between the customer and the brand and the success of a compan
Companies that prioritise customer obsession have a greater potential for innovation. In the B2B world, large organisations work in symbiosis with their customers to achieve common goals. If organisations do not involve their customers, they are not transferring value and are simply a supplier of products or services, which hinders true strategic positioning.
Innovation is achieved by bringing the customer inside the company and placing their needs at the forefront.
How to start becoming customer obsessed?
To move a company towards customer obsession, we must take action. First, a customer-centric culture needs to be fostered throughout the company, from management to frontline employees. This means listening to customers, understanding their needs and working on solutions that meet them.
Next, the customer experience must be constantly measured and analysed to identify areas for improvement. Finally, it is essential to involve customers in the design and development process of products and services, so that they can provide feedback and help create solutions that are tailored to their needs.
In practice, active listening to the voice of the customer involves methodologies such as:
- Market Research
- Buyer Persona Method
- Customer Segmentation
- Data-Driven Marketing
- Smart Data Marketing
- Customer Strategy & Business Activation
- Customer Intelligence & Analytics
- Mapping the Customer Experience & Customer Journey
Customer obsession should be a task for everyone in the company and should start from a new employee's first day on the job. It is important to include customer orientation in the hiring process, to ask questions that demonstrate customer orientation and to review CVs to ensure that new employees share that vision.
Customer-centric: Beyond a philosophy
It is important to remember that customer obsession is not just a slogan or a strategy, but a sincere part of every interaction. It must be a way of leading, measuring, thinking and engaging. Organisations must be committed to listening to customers, involving them in the process of designing and improving products and services, and being willing to make changes based on their needs.
Customer obsession is not achieved by simply putting up themes and banners, but must be an integral part of the company's culture and the way it does business.