Customers are central to every successful business. This seems to be obvious. However many organisations forget to ask the five key questions about their customers or are not able to answer them. But this could lead to an important part missing in their sales strategies: The total focus on the right customers, their needs and requirements.

Who are your customers?
When was the last time you asked yourself this question? It is equally important whether you are a start-up or an established business. In particular in B2B environments the answer can be complex and open to discussion. Think about other markets. Or if an adapted solution could serve an entirely new group of customers. In addition, make sure to include your customers’ customers into your considerations. Without that you could miss the opportunity to influence their buying decision or to gather valuable insights.

What are the main needs and requirements of your customers?
Every need and requirement could be an opportunity to create potential customer value. More important, only products and services addressing and helping to solve real customer issues will pass your market’s quality check. Therefore every successful sales strategy needs to take this into consideration. Think about your customers’ challenges and what they want to achieve. Even more, within bigger organisations the requirements and hence the perceived benefits of your products and services could differ between different roles.

What are the fundamental benefits you are creating?
Some know the challenges and needs of their customers. Many products and services even help to solve them. But nobody recognises that. Because lots of businesses do not clearly communicate (or don’t even know) what benefits they are creating. And if you already know this, think beyond the immediate and obvious direct benefits of your products and services, and try to create additional value. Selling is not about your company. It is not even about your innovative new product or technology. The only thing that matters is how you help your customers and their businesses to be successful. Otherwise the only thing they will buy (and try to minimise) is your price.

Are you segmenting your customers effectively?
To make it even more complicated, every customer is different and has different preferences, challenges, objectives, budget restrictions and sense of values. This is were customer segmentation comes in. You need to make sure that each segment in itself is as homogeneous as possible. Otherwise your message will appeal to only a few. But too many segments will not be time and cost efficient. Good segmentation mainly takes two aspects into consideration: How your customers benefit from your service and what’s the best way to serve a particular customer.

Do you treat every segment in the right way?
What is the purpose of customer segmentation if you still don’t treat them differently. You need to make sure that every customer is able to identify the specific benefit you are creating and that your service is optimised according to their specific needs. Consider that different segments may need different marketing and sales channels and even different variations of your product. You will need to define an individual strategy with all 4 Ps (product, price, place, promotion) for every segment. Finally don’t forget to adjust your sales and marketing processes accordingly to be as effective and efficient as possible.

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