Maximizing Customer Revenues in Race to Zero Era
By Thomas B. Cross CEO – TECHtionary.com
What if, a customer came to you and said, we need an “AI-driven dynamic yield” system to reduce order transaction cycles, reduce labor costs (including compensation and litigation costs), streamline fulfillment and supply operations, improve brand image, improve customer communications and customer experience.
If you noticed they did not say they wanted a specific technology. Other than WTF or what the fondue, what would you say to that?
Certainly, you would not throw back at them a lot of techno-babble. You would break down the elements in what they were looking for into specific elements where you have business expertise, technical skills, provider knowledge, delivery and deployment experience, staff capabilities and much more.
None of these are just about technologies you know of, may not have heard of, use or even deliver. The “we have a failure to communicate” (from Cool Hand Luke) moment is that you don’t really know what they are looking for and likely they do not know what they are looking for either. What they are really looking for is a partner/provider who can be the player to bring all the elements together to make what they are looking for really work.
In far too many real consulting projects I have done, I have seen small businesses take years to figure out their own internal processes and then grow from a few stores to 100 stores very rapidly. Other examples include, one office park to many office parks, one educational technology to hundreds of institutions or one economic development strategy to a national master “Wizard of Oz” operation and many others. None of these situations was really about technology but how technology-enabled their ideas to fulfill their business strategy plan. Today, new business models for selling technology are needed especially with the pace of new technology. Coupled with new technologies such as IoT, 5G, collaboration, complex unified communications, machine intelligence or AI, and others that require rethinking how providers and partners work together.
Moreover, it is not clear or certain that customers really want from one or many providers/partners as they adopt new technologies even faster.
Customer Persona Marketing Accelerates Revenues, Shortens Sales Cycles
Techno-babble sales and marketing is really dead because customers don’t buy technologies, they buy solutions. (See Figure 1) Why you ask? Because as you have seen the complexity of technologies has grown exponentially and customers are no longer interested in figuring out, trying to buy/build solutions, test and resolve “bug fixes” and other problems and likely face catastrophic failure (aka 737Max).
What customers are looking for is in-depth customer personas content. This means custom content by Role, Job Function, by Customer Solution by Thought Leadership and the by Technology (See Figure 2). You can also add By Number of Employees, Location, Fleet Size and other ways to create specific content. The simple reason why you have to do this as one sales sage said, “You have to sell everyone as you will never know all of them.” Or, as another writer put it “practical personalizations” are more than mere case studies but proven results that brings customers insights to all those involved in the decision, not just the business analyst who made the initial call. For example, most food retailers see technology as critical part of their growth in such forms of online ordering, order ahead, mobile apps, touch-free kiosks, and voice-recognition drive thrus, rewards/loyalty games, touch-free payments, multi-modal delivery tracking via humans/robots, martech, AI analytics, and more coming.
In addition, the role of training all the staff takes on new challenges as the complexity of the systems increases exponentially as suggested by this article in QSR Smart Equipment Only Pays Off With Good Training “There’s a misconception that if you adopt smart solutions without a strategy, they just don’t work.” This also means there could be 30+ providers/partners involved in the new retail transaction system now referred previously as the “AI-driven dynamic yield technology” (Yes, this is a real-live concept from McDonalds) not just the person taking your order but customer personalization technology proven to increase sales by ten percent or more.
Future “All-inclusive” Solutions
Where this is going is to automate every system that humans have done until humans are an increasingly smaller role in business transactions. There are many other business types that will make the technology mix even more complex such as airlines, hospitality, healthcare, financial, education and others. This means that the number and types of partners involved with customers will also increase and customers increasingly wanting it more complete than piece-parts. When you add in consultants, advisors, APIs, hybrid and multi-cloud, EoT-everything over the internet and other planned but also unanticipated consequences, the future is really amazing though possibly a bit blinding. The paradigm of selling is changing as the nature and complexity of the purchase is changing. No longer do customers just “buy and DIY” they want the complete “happy meal” already to go. Like “all inclusive” travel has taken over the way people go on vacation customers are increasing looking for a “Geek Squad” to be there anywhere-anytime to find/fix the problem and as necessary take the blame as the corporate buy does not want to lose their job by buying your solution.
Summary – Custom customer persona content communications will increasingly be a critical element in sales and marketing. By incorporating the concepts presented here can results in increased revenues, shorter sales cycles and increased customers-customers’ experience.
This concept is also presented in TMCnet Selling UP Market UP Margin Technology to SMB & Enterprise Certification at ITEXPO/MSPEXPO. (registration required)
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