Customers are conflicted about their own needs and have been busy fighting fires vs. planning for the future. This has been making current methods of customer data gathering ineffective. This article talks about some simple changes you can make today to help drive current customer insights into the organization to enable growing sales.

Why Are We Having a Hard Time Identifying Customer Needs?


Just as social media platforms are constantly evolving, so is the way customers wish to interact with your company. Think of your new customer interactions as “TikTok”—it’s quick (less than 15 seconds), there are endless content options, and the platform shows you what everyone is currently doing around the world.


Now think of the Voice of the Customer surveys and research as “YouTube”—pre-COVID-19. YouTube is searchable, organized, but maybe not as relevant or concise. Recent customer surveys are showing wild swings between customer needs from week to week. There is so much noise, and customers are struggling to understand what they need.


The big question is, how can you not only identify customer wants and needs but also keep up with them as they continuously evolve during this time?


Get started with SBI’s Revenue Growth Approach tool for Customer Success to maximize revenue and help you to prioritize and sequence the changes necessary to succeed in this environment.


Download SBI's Revenue Growth Approach Tool Here


Marketing Leaders are struggling to get a handle on how to address this shift in customer preferences and waiting until the world gets back to “the new normal” is far too late.  Sales is also struggling with how to connect with buyers virtually in this COVID-19 world.


What now? Winston Churchill once said, “I no longer listen to what people say, I just watch what they do. Behavior never lies.”


Begin by watching what specific customers are doing inside and outside of the company (CCA).


1. Capture the customer success team’s data by deploying brief CS surveys, contact listening, and system data results daily:


    1.  What is top of mind for the customers today? 
    2. What is their most significant “stuck” with the company or products?  
    3. Throw out fleeting trends daily as a result of a one-time issue. For example, discard findings if there was a lot of downtime on one of the product lines or access issues that have been resolved.


2. Capture mini trends by watching what the top 20% of customers are doing.  Leverage past guidelines to organize new information, create new rules when needed, and limit the amount of information you classify as “other.”


3. Analyze results daily and re-categorize customer segments.  Pass specific results along to your new Tiger Teams daily and map the trends to the best marketing motion for your organization.  Take the highest value item to create content and then deploy.  Socialize with your company that although the data is timely, it may only be 60% accurate. It is OK to leave perfect behind to take action now.  Just as Michael Jordon had a lot of missed shots, one misses all the shots not taken.


Many organizations and people are paralyzed by the current events and are not taking action, thus missing the mark on sales motions and campaigns in this environment is a given.  Therefore, root-cause analysis needs time limits of one day to track, report, and analyze quickly. Getting stuck and not acting will bring fewer sales than proceeding and being agile enough to pivot quickly. Let it go to try something else.


What Are Others Seeing?


A recent SBI client had previously spent 40% of its sales motions on acquiring new logos.  Since March, however, they have had zero new logos and are seeing a decline in retained customers of 30%.  In response, they moved sales resources to help maintain customers by creating new sales motions and pulling in Customer Success and Marketing to form Tiger Teams around specific high-value clients.


By utilizing daily data from customer success, they were able to quickly annotate the relevant marketing materials that have been resonating with the clients.  The teams also identified specific customer processes that enable better utilization of their products with the customer.


Additionally, these tiger teams made a habit of inquiring daily about what market leaders are doing.   Early in the process, the teams pulled in specific non-competing customers into group sessions to facilitate discussions with each other (social sprints) where the tiger team’s role was to watch and capture, not lead.


These social sprints were valuable and frequently used in the first few weeks to capture insights before concluding in later weeks. Often, companies hang on to sales motions that had worked for a while but quickly proved to be ineffective in this environment.  Rest assured, there will always be a time for “YouTube” strategies with PMO detailed motions and comprehensive planning, but for now, your teams need a dynamic and agile approach to best serve your customers. Hence the need for companies to adopt a “TikTok” method to create and discard motions and processes while being concise with their customers.


When Should You Start?


Now. Start watching and capturing daily trends to create enablement material for the sales team, even if it’s just an email they can send to specific clients.  Think TikTok—quick 15-second sound bites of content. Here is a quick tool that will help think through this process.


Download SBI's Revenue Growth Approach Tool Here


Good luck, and if you would like to discuss any successes or share lessons learned, contact us.



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