Categories
Customer Strategy

The strategic core-questions customers deal with | 5.04

Stradigo

The Strategic Core Questions Customers Deal With — 5.04

Share this blog

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on telegram
Telegram
Share on email
Email

One hallmark of a strategic core question that it deals with a high-level topic. What do customers really want from us? Wouldn’t it be nice to understand what it is and to make the entire staff internalize the core issues? The exercise I will soon reveal is quite powerful. You should involve your whole group to take part in it.

Customer's strategic core question

Drawing of an inside-out perspective with two persons. The blue person is looking at the green person with an arrow going to the green person.

In practice, it’s very hard to get people to think about matters from the customer’s point of view. It’s too easy just to focus on selling products and services because that’s what our work essentially is. We think inside-out, even though we know well enough that we should approach things from a customer-oriented perspective. 

Drawing of an outside-in perspective with two persons. The green person is looking at the blue person & has a question mark.

How could we get people to work outside-in? Let’s begin by receiving the customer’s question first, and then we explain how the issue is solved. Very simple, but oh so difficult! 

Text: “An authentic customer-oriented approach isn’t easy.” And a drawing of six footsteps going to the right.

An authentic customer-oriented approach and deeply understanding isn’t exactly easy! People have been working with the customer-oriented approach for a very long time. Yet, now just talking about a customer-oriented approach is not enough. Words must actually translate into actions. It’s time to take the next step. Yet, the question remains. What does a customer-oriented approach look like in practice? This question can be remedied with the following exercise. 

What are the customers' TOP3 strategic core questions to us?

Simple drawing of a podium with the positions #1, #2, and #3.

First of all, let’s think. What are the three core questions our customers ask us? They are high-level (strategic) core questions, which don’t necessarily have the appearance of concrete worries. It’s a question like What are the customers asking about? If you and your group can figure out an answers, wonderful things will happen in your organization! 

This figure presents the first core questions of a customer. Why is something happening? How will the we respond?

This is how the exercise goes: First you write the customer’s core question in the header. The two boxes will be filled with text. The first box is called Why? and the other box is called How? 

Why? In this situation why stands for the reason causing market pressure. What is the logic, the rationale, that is improved through actions? Often these things have to do with changing market conditions. A need must be answered. The customers are likewise experiencing their own customer pressures (in a B2B space). 🙂 Demands may include things like sustainable development. But pressure can also come from the owners, for example better results or profitability. Technological change also brings with it another set of challenges on top of the previously mentioned ones. Competition also exists, which need to be taken into account. At a fundamental level this is comparable to an arms race that is decided by who can be the most efficient and the fastest while delivering the best possible result for the customers. Cherish your competitiveness and take care of it lest you fall behind. 

Make your group think about this very important topic. What is the market situation and why must we act? Your organization can reap huge benefits by finding answers to these questions together, even if the questions are obvious. 

Box number two: How do we respond to the identified market pressures? 

Think about this from your perspective:  

The second box is filled with issues that can help us better help our customers. What is our answer? How do we understand the customer’s situation? How do we act? What kind of services and solutions should we provide for the customer’s needs? 

Differentiation is a challenge. We really need to sit down and think about how we are different from our competitors. Differentiation is most times quite difficult because everyone copies each other fast. And even if we think we’re better than our competitors, we necessarily aren’t. It can be an optical illusion. They are smart as well and think a lot, and do everything they can to take our salary payments. Ouch! 

Lets once again consider things from my perspective: 

Differentiation should be in the details. I have spoken a lot about my sun model, which is utilized to list several points to differentiate in.  

Let’s look at this from your perspective: 

But what is the principle through which we differentiate? The boxes in the image above only fit the principles, the high-quality how-questions. How do we operate in practice? We might need a new Game Book to write our changing operation models into. 

Let’s look at this from my perspective: 

As I write this, I held an exercise with an IT unit. IT is difficult in a sense because they easily go and blame the company and their own customers. Others don’t necessarily understand IT. I told them to stop the blaming! If an idea to blame someone arises, take note also of your own behavior. How could you have spoken so, that the other person would have understood? Don’t point with your finger, your thumb is always pointing back to you. You can’t change others, but you can change yourself! 

When the two boxes in the image above are filled with thoughts, it creates a page for each core question. Write 7-10 bullet points, no more.  

This figure presents the first core questions of a customer. Why is something happening? How will we respond? A large group of people look at these questions.

Do this work together with your team. We did the same exercise today during an online meeting. This is a very healthy exercise! It creates a feeling that issues are clarified. Even if these are familiar subjects, you can rest assured people have different visions about the world around us. The point of the exercise is to get your whole group to go in the same direction. It’s surprising that we edit our words so in detail. Words have meanings and better words are better. Words indeed still are the best weapons. 

Text: "Challenge, challenge"
Let’s look at this from your perspective: 

When we do this exercise, we should also know how to challenge ourselves 

Let’s switch back to my perspective: 

A third party is often good to include in the challenging process because they know to ask questions one wouldn’t otherwise come to think of. 

Text: “Break the bubble!” and a drawing of a needle popping a bubble that contains five people.
Let’s look at this from your perspective, while talking from mine: 

We all have our mantras. Each and every one of us lives in our own working environment, which creates these mantras and beliefs. Break the bubble with good questions. If challenging is done wrong, people only get upset. That’s a talent to practice. 

Let’s look at this from my perspective: 

Not so long ago I also ended up in a bad situation because I didn’t know to challenge as I should have. This led to everyone getting upset. I chose the wrong words, but luckily this case was only one out of 150. Challenging is difficult, and once again I learned something new! I really had to contemplate the situation personally.  

Now I am addressing you, the reader: 

Break the bubble, my friend. Try to see if there are new opportunities! 

Text: “From strategic level into focus areas”. Figure describing how strategic questions turn into goals (represented by a dartboard)
HELP! WHAT IS GOING ON?! 

The next step is focus areas. We have created three pages with very important points. One page usually forms during one workshop. I no longer hold two-hour workshops, 1h45min instead. Distance working needs a 15-minute break before the next meeting. Hence 1h45min per page! 

We held the first workshop yesterday, and today as we proceeded to the second meeting, we received a comment 

“Now I’m starting to understand what happened yesterday!”

It might be that the issues inside the boxes are obvious, but it takes time to really comprehend them! We live in our bubble and culture that has formed. Breaking the bubble is an artform! 

Recognizing the focus areas is the next phase. I tend to crystallize the needed change into three focus areas, which are followed by two to three big breakthrough goals. We have suddenly hopped down from the helicopter perspective into the concrete world. 

I can assure you, that the concrete actions and goals that have formed during this exercise aren’t the same as if you looked at your goals without the upper-level perspective. It can be a clear difference. Because this exercise doesn’t require investing many hours, I claim this is a delicious and useful investment. It takes people in a common direction. Our culture can consist of many big bugs, or soft spots as I call them, and this way they are exposed. It can create better goals. 

This is my motto: 

Text: “Head in the clouds but with very long legs.”

Having your head in the clouds means that we are at a strategic level. We need to get back down to earth, into the concrete world. People are so used to thinking about concrete things daily, that one must almost force them (in a positive way) to rise to the skies. From that perspective, you get a different view of reality. If all you do is stay on the ground, in everyday life, it easily creates a narrow perspective. This is Markus’s motto. 

Point of the exercise

Text: “Common direction” & “Better goals”. Figure that contains a sector with people, a sun, and a dartboard.

The first point of this strategic core question exercise is to strengthen the common direction. The conversation it creates is fruitful. We always receive positive pulse comments, such as

“Today we got new perspectives!”

One perspective might be the customer perspective… 

Point number two: You can get better goals. When they are implemented, you get a more successful business. Normally, goals are broken down into actions, which are followed during strategy implementation.  

Try this exercise and include a third-party facilitator! 

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Customer Strategy

Understanding The Customer In-Depth | 5.01

Stradigo

Understanding the Customer In-Depth — 5.01

Share this blog

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on telegram
Telegram
Share on email
Email

This blog will focus on understanding customers in-depth, and what it takes. In our book, we differentiate between customer orientation and understanding the customer in-depth. This blog explains how they differ from each other.

Drawing of two people standing beside each other. One wears blue clothes the other one wear green.

Customer perspective?

Let’s think about the term customer focus. What is it exactly? It’s a good term, and it means that we focus on the customer, like if we observe something with binoculars or through a magnifying glass. The key is to have the correct type of focus that fits your situation. Your situation brings requirements, and they need consideration. You may think this feels trivial, but it is very tough to make an organization understand the customer on a deep level in my experience.

Customer perspective inside-out

Very often, the organization puts focus on delivering a particular product or service to the customer. It is an inside-out approach, which is not a customer-focused approach. There’s another way to do this.

Customer perspective outside-in

Customer perspective outside-in

Here is an example of the alternative way that we think is the better way to this. What if it was possible to get access to information the customer sees the situation? Documentation is the bridge that allows us to achieve a deep level of customer understanding. We have analyzed the customer to such an extent that we have produced written material about it. Let’s think about your business for a bit. How much documentation do you have about your products? How much documentation do you have about your customer? Is the ratio a 50-50 split? Perhaps 30-60, or 10-90?

The goal you should aim for (in our opinion) is to conduct your business from an outside-in perspective. Take time to think about how the things you do genuinely help your customer? What is the Purpose of your activities? How does everything translate into practice? How do you turn everything into a great offer that is highly beneficial for your customer?

Internal processes

Flowchart representing process thinking with the aim of reaching a target group.

Let me tell you how I arrived at these conclusions. Here’s the story. The business world invented process thinking in the mid-’80s, which was a huge sensation at the time. Before process thinking came about, everything was about operations. We had sales, product development, and production, and everything took place in-house. The management did not group people into silos, nor did anyone think about how the operative work flowed to the corporation’s customer.

Then the business world invented the term target group. The target group is a term that represents this way of thinking very well, the paradigm, if you will. Target groups, as a term, describe this way of thinking so well that it inherits the flaws of the paradigm. You can see it as a soft spot. One of the weaknesses is that the customer gets seen as a target! It’s a bit like looking at the customer through a hunting rifle scope while aiming at the customer’s forehead. People are not game to be hunted. If you think of people like this, then you should seriously re-evaluate how you perceive reality. 

When intelligent people drew this whole chain of thought into a single coherent picture, people realized how things worked in the organization. People also saw the things that weren’t working because they were now plainly visible on paper. People marked the problems with red flags, and then they began fixing the issues. However, there was still one big mistake in this thinking process. The other side is missing. What side, you ask? The customer’s side.

The Zipper model – Two processes meet

A simplified drawing of a zipper. The zipper represents how two models meet.

A new realization took place in the mid-’90s. There were two processes! The other side of the process became known as the customer’s side. Intelligent people connected these two processes like the zipper in a Ziplock. During this time, I was pioneering and created the zipper model. Let’s look at this model in greater detail. Here is the zipper model:

The Zipper model. The model represents how the customer and organization connect with each other through specific touch points.

As you can see, it takes our and our customer’s processes into account. The process steps get paired. They connect at specific meeting points, also known as touchpoints. I have created zipper models for clients hundreds of times over the years. This model has continuously improved over the years by becoming ever more hands-on and straightforward. Simplification is at the very heart of the Stradigo brand, our way of doing.

It’s a joy to see how fast we can pull the information from the professionals’ heads.

Usually, this process begins with the customer defining their goals, and we try to make them aware. We do this so the customer would understand we can help them realize these goals. If the company likes the approach, we can start building the zipper. By creating the zipper, the customer’s business improves.

When the customer’s process gets drawn as a zipper model, the challenge becomes how to focus on the right things. Customer processes can get drawn out as very vast chains. However, it is impossible to serve the entire customer process from start to finish. The purpose of a business is not to do everything, and it cannot do it. Very few companies could feasibly even attempt to serve everything. It takes too much money, effort, and business size to be a realistic prospect for most. That is why an organization strives to respond to and solve a specific part of the customer’s process. 

Text: Worry – Need = Solution. The difference between a worry and a need is a solution.

Worry — Need = Solution

Here is something fun to think about: What is the difference between a worry and a need? I realized that these two words are the opposite sides of the same coin. They address the same phenomenon. I’m sure I have given hundreds of presentations about this, asking people to think about the difference between these two words. Many good answers exist, but one, in particular, is particularly helpful: A Need is an answer to a worry.

Here’s an example. If I’m thirsty, thirst is my worry. But what is my need? What is the answer to thirst? It could be an ice-cold beer or a glass of water.

Every salesperson has an inherent desire to make the customer happy and satisfied. Salespeople think with their common sense and conclude that the customer’s needs must be satisfied. How does one get to know the customer’s needs? Once again, the salespeople begin to think with their common sense. LET’S ASK THE CUSTOMER!

At that very moment, people don’t notice that they are delegating the responsibility and competence to answer the client. Because the need is the answer, the customer’s know-how and capability to answer limit what they can tell you at any given time. The salesperson likely is far more competent to provide an answer than the customer.

We have concluded that instead of asking about the customer’s needs, we must listen to their worries. Then, the salesperson takes responsibility and presents the potential customer with something that solves the concern, which may interest them.

If the customer knows their needs, they are often a bit old-fashioned. They don’t know about our newest tricks. That’s when you can say:

“Sure! We can do things that way, but you might be interested in this. This is our new way of doing that.”.

Then the customer becomes interested and wants to know more about the solution you mentioned.

Customer’s worry – Your solution

Take responsibility for the customer’s needs! A worry hides a question. If you want to be an expert, this is what you do: Every time a customer asks you about anything, you immediately, after a meeting, try to figure out a way to solve that worry. You could present them with a sales pitch that provides an answer to that worry. By refining the pitch, you end up with something that doesn’t even look like a pitch. It behaves like a meeting where you help solve the customer’s worry. They worry; you have a solution to it. If you match, an opportunity to work together presents itself. The fewer questions the engaged potential customer has to ask you, the better your presentation is. You keep refining your presentation until you don’t get questions.

Customer Situations

Customer Situations

Here comes the important thing with the zipper. The approach is something that can be considered new. We hadn’t realized it back in the 1990s. I think this is solid. The point is this. When the customer goes through their process, they regularly bump into situations where they realize they could use help. They stop and either try to work things out by themselves or ask for help from a professional. Solving things by themselves takes however long it takes and gives them the quality that matches their current know-how. The result can be much worse than what a professional could achieve, yet the Dunning-Kruger effect or some other reason may compel them to do it by themselves. Just because the customer can do something a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the optimal decision.

When these situations get identified, the customer’s process crystallizes and simplifies. We have identified many problem situations while interacting with our customers, and I can say as of this moment that there seem to be around 15 situations. When we know what they are, we give them a name.

Situation — Worry

Text: “Situation. Worry, worry, worry.” Yellow explosion. Person in green shirt.

The customer is sweating when they have loads of worries in one situation. We, however, have been hearing these same worries year after year. I always joke about pulling these worries and situations out of the customers’ heads with tongs.

A professional has met many customers and heard many worries. The professional knows these worries better than the customer because they have met many people going through the same situations.

It might be the first time the customer is running into this situation. So, how would they know all the answers to this situation if it is their first time? They will identify a few questions immediately, but the professional might know 30 more worries waiting behind the corner. Identifying these situations is very important and helpful! Because then the salesperson can offer a better solution to the potential customer’s problem!

Understanding the customer in-depth

Four steps. Customer process, situations, concerns, solutions. Three persons cheering about the four steps.

The logic is the same for the whole process as a simplified version. Back in the old days, we used to hold five full-day workshops to create the Zipper model. Now we can do the whole thing in a fraction of that time. Logically, we always begin with the customer’s process. Once drawn into a picture, situations get identified and appropriately assigned to the correct spot in the process.

It’s tough to get the staff to jump into a customer’s situation. They always return to their side of the process and begin to think about what their goals are. That’s when I say: Forget about your world for once!

Jump into our customer’s shoes and begin to think about what the situations are. It’s not easy at all to give them names. It’s pretty demanding but doable when editing comes into the picture. When the situation is clear, it is possible to think about the worries. A professional can easily help to identify 10-30 worries per situation.

When you have identified the worries, choose one of the solutions and think of a situation that it applies in. When there are many situations, the solutions form a puzzle. The customer might be lacking one piece of the puzzle, and that’s why they aren’t able to get the complete picture of their situation. As professionals, we can help them out.

Customer Situations

customer situationsCustomer Situations

Speaking from experience, I can say that one Zipper workshop can deal with as many as 200 worries. During the workshop, customers (who participate in the workshop!) get asked if they recognize these worries. Every single time they answer: “Yes, that is our world.”

Professionals know a great deal about the customer’s world. Still, when the situation gets visualized with pictures, the customer realizes they can’t handle it alone, and they ask a professional for help. And when you understand the customer in-depth, you are the professional.

Understanding the customer in-depth

Understanding the customer in-depth

Even the best professionals will have trouble addressing things they have never thought of before. A lack of awareness causes issues for the professional. Nobody can throw out 30 worries on a whim. When the worries related to the various situations get drawn into a clear image, the salesperson can talk about them to a prospective client and demonstrate that they can help the prospective client solve the various issues.

Sales take place once both parties agree to do something. To get deals, you must be able to demonstrate you can provide a concrete solution. If you work from the zipper model, you will have a powerful tool at your disposal. Thanks to this fact, I strongly encourage you to build a zipper model for yourself. If you want help with this, feel free to reach out to us. We are more than happy to help you build one as fast as possible. It’s a faster way to results than doing the R&D on your own.

Understanding the customer in-depth is the key to success!

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Customer Strategy

Customer Segmentation | 5.03

Stradigo

Customer Segmentation — 5.03

Share this blog

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on telegram
Telegram
Share on email
Email

Today’s topic is customer segmentation. Do you know what the definition of work is? Work is about removing people’s troubles and worries. These people are called customers. Customers’ have different types of worries, because everyone is an individual. It would be easy if we could sell the same product to everyone! Then we could specialize only in one service or product. What could we do to get efficiency into our work? The answer, of course, is by segmenting customers into groups!

I have been doing segmentation work ever since 1996. For 11 years it was a full-time job for me, and now I create strategies. The goal of almost every strategy is to improve the organization’s segmentation and customer experience. I have a great desire to simplify complexity, and over the years it has become my passion. Now I will explain how customer segmentation can be simplified and how it can even be made into an art.

Why segment customers?

A group of people standing on a blue circle. Some of the people are cheering, representing sensing customer’s worries and responding.

Precision offerings. Why should customers be segmented? They need to be given an offer that tackles their need specifically. When the offer strikes the customer’s worry and need exactly, things run smoothly. I use the word worry, because the need is the answer. The customer has a worry, and we satisfy the need by providing a solution. The customer is happy that we got rid of their worry, and therefore they thank us by paying us.

More sales. Another dimension is, of course, our self-interest. We want more sales, because that’s the way our company grows. It is also the way we are able to pay everyone’s salaries. The more customers we are able to help, the better we have carried out our purpose. It isn’t necessarily only about sharing dividends to the shareholders. It’s about growing sales, helping customers, which is a fine societal task – You could even say our duty.

Better profitability. When we finally know how to compose offerings that tackle the customer’s need with precision, we can then make the whole process more fluent and profitable for ourselves. This creates a win-win situation between us and the customer. We both benefit a great deal from it.

Customer segmentation pyramid with bronze, silver & gold levels and two segments. Segments represent customer needs.

Value for us. The customer base is often visualized as a pyramid. I have for many years simplified this work. Customers can be divided into groups according to their importance: Gold-Silver-Bronze, for example. To us, certain customers are Gold-customers, Silver-customers, or Bronze-customers. The trick is to divide the customers into these groups, based on how valuable they are to us in a monetary sense.

During a flight safety demonstration, it is mentioned that the oxygen mask should be put on yourself before helping others. If we don’t stay alive, we’re not capable of helping others. That’s why our self-interest comes first.

Customer needs. Another way to divide customers according to a customer dimension, in which customers are segmented based to their needs, which I earlier described as worries. This creates a segmentation model. I’ve learned not to make things too complicated!

Back in the day, we made a mistake by making the segments too detailed and intelligent in appearance. Because of this our customers weren’t able to implement the model. In the previous pyramid image, we divide it into six segments. For some companies even a six-way split can be a lot! A division by two vertical segments are usually a pretty good, sometimes three works as well. The next image has examples of various ways a company can segment its pyramid.

Different types of customer segmentations. Variations between bronze, silver and gold customers.

Some companies may only have one segment, where every customer has the same needs. In addition, there are three value categories, and several varieties of them. Segmentation is often done intuitively, and after a moment of thinking the solution turns out to be completely different. It isn’t easy-peasy.

One option is to have one Gold-customer, all the rest being Bronze-customers. It’s also possible to have no Gold-customers. Services and offerings are usually tailored to them. Usually, consumer businesses only have Bronze-customers. For instance, McDonalds only has one type of customers. They have different products, but they deliver the same way to everyone.

After 10 years of doing this for a living, I decided to buy a marketing automation software. It taught me not to segment companies, but individuals. My head just about exploded!

Could it be, that even in B2B customer relationships selling should be aimed at individuals, persons, avatars? That’s human-to-human business. Suddenly, segmenting became even more interesting, but also more challenging. Which model would bring the most success?

Different types of customer segmentations. Variations between bronze, silver and gold customers.

Drawing the above image took me 10 years. I often tried to explain this verbally, but I didn’t know how to describe it as an image. Then finally I succeeded! This image shows which products and services we sell to different segments.

There exists a basic model offer, that is grey and can fit for any customer. Then there is a white offer or service, which fits the first segment. The blue module only fits only the second segment, and those customers don’t want the white one.

When we rise to the Silver level, we can begin to tailor our services, because these customers buy more and they pay more. That’s why they can also be offered silver modules. Modules can be sold separately or they can be bundled into an offer. Some want solutions, others want to purchase the modules separately.

Gold level customers can be sold everything, in addition to a tailored gold module.

Care models.  On the right side of the image you can find the care models. There are many Bronze-customers, and they buy less. Bronze-customers need to have a well standardized care model, in order to optimize our service and to lower our costs. Nowadays these often are online businesses. As we go up to the Silver level, the care model consist of more tailored services and F2F communication. Gold-customers have a largely custom tailored care model.

Segmentation model. The catch is to do segmentation in two dimensions. Value for us and value for the customer. Products are built so that the customer gets an offer that precisely tackles their situation. Precision products are delivered with a care model, which are differentiated to varying degrees of extent.

As you see, this isn’t the easiest job in the world. I can, however, say that this is the simplest presentation I’m able to produce about this! The most challenging thing is to build the products. That is something that makes me humble, every time!

As many as seven versions are created in segmentation work before the iteration begins to slow down. There are so many options to choose from. If you segment like your competitors, you end up analyzing similar needs and services as them. If we look at this from a differentiation angle, it would be really good if you could group the entire cake according to specific criteria.

Precision offering is the trick. It creates happy customers who buy more, while our company grows and the work becomes more profitable.

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Customer Strategy

Digital Sales for Dummies | 5.02

Stradigo

Digital Sales for Dummies | 5.02

For ten years I have put an enormous amount of energy and time into understand digital sales,  and what digitalization actually means in communication, marketing and sales. Also, I have invested a great amount of money. Luckily, some of the investments have borne fruit. I have frequently visited the United States and London and found the best people who are at the top of their league in digitalization.

It has been my great ambition to produce this text. Now I will tell you what the point of digital sales is. In my opinion it’s as big as the invention of the telephone. Phones have existed for years, but very few understood their power in the beginning. Let’s look at what digital sales is.

Hot leads

Text: Everybody wants hot leads

Point number one is that this thing called digital sales exists. Everyone wants hot leads in B2B marketing. Where do the leads come from?

Text: The task of marketing is to bring leads to sales.

From marketing, of course. The purpose of marketing is to bring hot leads to sales, and then it’s the sales’ job to close the deal.

Text: But what if the lead is not hot?

In the old world the lead could come from trade fairs in the form of a business card. What if the lead isn’t hot, but lukewarm? Or cold? I have the business card, so who cares?

Nurturing

Text: How could we scale the nurturing?

The question is: Can I nurture the customer with scalability? Think, if I could nurture a big group of customers… I’m talking about a massive group, even thousands of people! That would be intense!

Text: Digital sales is the answer!

This is what it’s all about in digital sales: We can nurture thousands of people on a weekly basis! It’s impossible to personally meet thousands of people, or even phone them all.

Nurture the customer

Figure describing the describes the lead nurturing process that begins with marketing efforts.
The above image, in my opinion, is the main point of this whole blog text: Is marketing giving leads? Nowadays the marketing unit has begun to market digitally a lot, but marketing very often measures its success in clicks. LinkedIn, for example, measures in clicks. But is it enough? No, it isn’t. We need a name!

Sales call their customers in order to get a sales meeting. The salesperson gives a spectacular presentation with all the PowerPoint-slides needed, and in the end the customer says:

“Really interesting, but not now. We have so much going on at the moment”.
Sounding familiar? What happens next? A long wait. 3-6 months later the salesperson meets the customer again. What does the customer say?

“Really interesting, but we have other things going on at the moment”.

This pattern goes on, and on, and on. What do we do in between the meetings? Most people wait aggressively by the phone, expecting a phone call or an email from the customer.

Give personal professional knowledge

What if WE sent messages to them? We have their business card; we have the right to send them messages and emails. Messages can be written by the salespeople or by a professional who was present at the meeting. Messages should contain personal professional knowledge, meaning we give the customer our best practices for free -experiences and cases, for example.

Text Messages can also be sent, marketing review reports, for example. The content has to contain substance, this means something that the customer wouldn’t come to think of on their own. A business has a lot of experience from its own field, and that’s the kind of information and know-how that the customer probably isn’t aware of, which makes it both insightful and valuable.

The customer needs to be nurtured with information and understanding, and we shouldn’t be guarding it jealously! This is called digital sales.

nurture the customer

The second option is receiving an email address from the marketing department, without even meeting the person. We can, however, begin to nurture this customer personally through digital sales, just like I’m now telling you about all this. Yes, our idea behind these blogs is to give you sneak peeks and valuable insights. We not only want you to get something practical, that you can implement on your own, but to also get a clear idea if you would like to have us help you more in-depth. (Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.)

As I’m writing this blog, I’m at our vacation home in the Porvoo archipelago. We just arrived here with my wife. I have an office here as well, from which I work remotely quite often.

The thing about email addresses is so interesting. If I were a CEO of a big company or working in a company with tens of people, I would give the market one central measure:

“How many email addresses have you collected during this month?”

Clicks are only a waypoint. The culmination of the click is the email address. Did you get the address or not? Immediately when we have the address, we can launch a marketing automation sequence of multiple emails that contain substantial value for the lead. Not spam, valuable substance.

Digital sales is the same thing as the coming of the telephone. Before cell phones we, of course, knew how to sell. We went straight to the customer and knocked on their door and met them. Of course, letters were sent, and advertisements were posted in magazines. But then, cell phones came. Was the salesperson with a phone more efficient than the guy who ran around meeting everyone in person? OF COURSE, because they had the time to call many more people.

Now we can do digital sales! A massive amount of people can be reached with digital sales. Thousand times more than before with just a phone.

A personal professional relationship starts to build up. They start to know you.

interested customer

First of all, I can create a personal, professional relationship with the customer. When I write this text for you to read, I need to speak to you as an individual. I’m not speaking in a large auditorium; I’m speaking to you as an individual and sharing my best tricks with you. This is how a bond is created between us. On the video it’s even more lively.

You begin to know me, and that is, of course, valuable. That’s when a customer might think:

¨Hey, that guy seems to know a lot and he’s telling me lots of useful things for free. In fact, I might start following this guy, because he seems so nice.”

I have many whom I like and follow quite intensely. Of course, all the time I don’t have the energy to read the messages I’ve received, but very often I look at them.

In 2007 I met Chris Cardell in London, and I have followed him ever since. He sends five messages a week, which I always don’t have the energy to read. I know, however, that in the beginning he gave me so much for free, that I was amazed and didn’t understand how that could’ve been profitable for the business. This is the catch. A person can sense this person genuinely wants to help, and not only sell.

There is always someone who needs help and will buy. But it’s wonderful if one can help businesses to succeed, even if they carried out a plan their own way without asking me for help. That’s the great mission. Of course, money needs to flow in. Someone always needs help in practice, but if someone can improve their business using the info I share, or some other presentation, it’s just wonderful!

There is no need of being scared of the competition. They can copy, but they also have their own beliefs and framework and their own way of doing things. It isn’t so easy to copy, and if someone copies me, I’ll be just around the corner the very next week developing something new, so at least in my business, the competition doesn’t matter because I move faster than the competitors can copy and implement my stuff. By they time they successfully develop and deploy my things, I have already made that same thing obsolete through new innovations.

Automate!

automate

This way I can nurture thousands of people weekly. At the moment I have five thousand CEOs and management leaders on my mailing list, to whom I send a minute-long video every week. This type of short video is hard to do, because it can’t contain any extra word, because one minute is a very short time. I can easily speak 20 minutes or even 2-3 minutes, but compressing everything to a one minute speech is challenging. Every word needs to be examined, in order to make sure there is substance in the video.

I can share my message to thousands of people all at once. My customer’s salesman Jani had found 3500 contacts on LinkedIn, that could potentially be interested in the company’s services. He has met several customers face to face, altogether about 200. What does he do with the remaining 3300? Does he aggressively wait for someone to call? That’s when he realized he can approach them digitally and personally. There’s no way he would have the time to call all three thousand and meet them. Instead, he can nurture them. When the time is right and the customer realizes they need help, that’s when Jani might get a call or an email from a customer – without ever meeting them. Jani is already familiar to the customer.

Document experiences

Text: Don’t create content. Document experiences.

I recently learned a new thing from my guru: Don’t create new content, document what you did”.

You don’t have to make up content! Just explain what you learned. That’s why I’m trying to become sensitive towards the moment I experience a Heureka-moment. Every week I get a feeling that “this was pretty interesting, I’ve learned something new”. I make a video about what I’ve learned, and send it off every Thursday.

I have been doing this for so long, that I suddenly have an archive of 300 videos! Producing a one-minute video no longer takes that long, because I’ve standardized the process for myself. Before, I was thinking a lot about how to get them done in my everyday life and what kind of technology and lighting I need. Here’s a tip for you: Talk with someone, who has figured things out and can help you get started. That way things go easy. Also, the best thing is that recording a video doesn’t have to cost you any money.

Goal of digital sales: The Meeting

Text: The Goal of Digital Sales. Meeting.

The goal of B2B sales is the meeting. Not the fact that the deal would be done on the internet. These deals are usually very big. Nobody orders anything online with big sums of money, they invite you to a meeting. Then the traditional and physical offer negotiations begin. The goal in B2C is to secure the purchase. Same principles as in B2B apply, but closing is different online.

Traffic

Graph with two lines. Traffic that you buy (rises quickly and goes down). Traffic that you own (rises slowly but becomes big).

Everyone wants traffic on their webpage. They want the email address. Traffic is wanted and it can either happen fast or slowly. Buying traffic is faster. In other words we advertise our pages to a large group on Facebook or LinkedIn. We get people to click and to download our “magnet”. The price is the email address. The feature of bought traffic is that it fades, people stop following after a while even though they had clicked on the link.

However, the traffic that comes from people who find our webpage on their own or through Google, is the traffic we own, because we have their email addresses. Even though Facebook, LinkedIn and everything would end, we have email. Facebook and LinkedIn can identify the people who have visited their pages. That’s when we can buy advertisements that are published directly to these people on those platforms, not outside of the platforms. However, we don’t get their email addresses if we just rely on advertising on the massive digital platform and ecosystems. We don’t own the traffic, which means we are in trouble if we are banned from using the advertising systems on these platforms.

The blue line in the image above is more valuable in the long run, but it is advisable to use both ways of traffic in the beginning.

Relevant content

Lead magnet with a call-to-action leads to an email.

Many think email is a disappearing medium and that nobody has time or bothers to read them. Yes, nobody reads a message that isn’t relevant to them! I say, however, that the receiver will most definitely read the message if it’s truly relevant to them.

A magnet has to exist, something that they want for themselves. It could be an e-book or a video series. A CTA (Call to Action) button is placed on the web page stating “Order this”, or “Download here”, for example. The email address is the what the user gives in exchange for the thing that they want.

It’s interesting when I asked a company management how many email addresses they have. They didn’t know! This in my opinion states that nobody has acknowledged that a new telephone has been invented. Otherwise they would’ve known the exact amount. This morning I had 7416 addresses, 5000 of which are in Finland and the remaining ones abroad. I can see these numbers directly in my information dashboard, and I keep track of them often — daily or weekly.

The List

This image includes the text “The List” and a drawing of a column with many lines on top of each other.

This is an important point: Email addresses form my list. I have many many addresses on my list and together they are a huge asset, capital to our business. The list is important because it consists of current customers as well as prospective customers. If we have a quality list, it raises the valuation of our company.

The list is absolutely essential: You should collect email addresses, and in a way that the person is willing to give it. Then you grow the list systematically. This is the reason I would set the amount of new email addresses as a central KPI (Key Performance Indicator).

Of course people will leave the list when they no longer want to follow – and that’s ok. The more people leave, the better. That’s when the quality of the list grows because you don’t want to spam people who are not interested in the information that you are sending out. I, as well, clean out my list. I intend to send everyone that hasn’t followed or looked at my mails, a message. I will inform them that I will stop sending mails to them, but they can continue the subscription by clicking the button in the email.

Automatic nurturing

Text: Nurture automatically with right messages.

Once the message has been written, you don’t need to do it again. The computer takes care of the rest. Some people can think that automation makes the message impersonal. It isn’t impersonal, it’s me writing it! It’s just that the message comes with a delay. That’s how it was during the war when a letter came from the trenches. The letter had been written by a person, it just took time to arrive at its destination. The message has to be written in real time with a personal touch, but the delivery comes with a delay.

Digital sales allows us to take care of personal customer relationship development in a scalable fashion, in practice this means thousands of people. You are giving valuable information for free. The content has to be so solid, something you find difficult to decide if it is a smart choice to hand it out, because it something so valuable. You however are an expert, and you know how hard it is to actually implement your expertise. So even if the other party gets super high-value information, then they may not even have it in them to successfully implement that information. Those who truly value your expertise and value their own time, will realize that the most valuable choice for them is to contract you to help them out personally. Those who don’t value your input, come to the conclusion that they much rather do things by themselves. That is fine, because you will have more time to dedicate to the customers who actually value your input. Everybody wins.

 “Wow, I’m getting so much for free, I wonder what I would get if I paid?”

Learn to collect email addresses and how to systematically build the list.

The goal of B2B sales is to get the meeting.

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.