You know your markets like the back of your hand, and you have segmented them with the precision of a surgeon - you're all sorted, right? Wrong! You're only halfway there.
The success of any business-to-business (B2B) market strategy involves a lot more than gaining a comprehensive understanding of the particular markets that you serve - you need to also understand the markets your customers serve and aim to help them win.
There are many differences between customer and business markets and you need to remember them.
Consumer markets involve the purchase and sale of goods and services to consumers for their own use (rather than for resale). Business markets such as professional services, engineering, manufacturing and industrial all involve the provision of services to various businesses and governments to facilitate the creation of a finished product which is generally then reused or resold to an end user.
If you're selling or supplying into business markets you need understand more than just your customer wants and needs, but also how your customers deliver value in their own markets - By helping them win you win.
But how do you go about it? Here are 3 simple steps to consider:
1. Talk to your customers and find out how they believe they deliver value to their own clients . By focusing on how your services help your customers meet the needs of their customers you'll be able to focus on how your service enhances their value chain and you can often find areas in which to innovate.
2. Identify how your clients differentiate themselves. Just like you, your clients aim to positively differentiate themselves from their competitors. By understanding your client marketing positioning strategy you can help extend that positioning advantage. Take for example the case of a manufacturer whose point of difference is on turnaround time not price. Without knowing this you may be reducing your own margins to become more competitive when what they really want is quality work and fast turnaround time because price, while still important, isn’t their primary driver for their customers.
3. Hold collaborative workshops - In business markets, learning together is just as important as working together. Look for opportunities to schedule a time with your business customers as one team working with another to explore different ways of creating value together. The world is moving too fast to do it the old ways.
By turning your attention to helping your customers win - you win too.
Do you understand your customers customers? Do you hold regular face-to-face meeting or even workshops with your team and your customers team to find new and better ways of delivering value to end clients?