B2B Relationship Power is a dynamic, interactive force that creates deep long-lasting bonds and mutual benefits. Collaborating parties generate a singular reservoir of goodwill more valuable than normal business activity. Magic happens!
How do you bottle that MAGIC? First you have to create some—work together as a team with a common purpose. Collaborate. Be business partners with your customers. The ultimate collaboration is relationship development. Quantify the relationships important to your success and what these people experience in their relationship with you.
Why are relationships so important? Relationships drive business. In high-value B2B, our sweet spot, there are many, many people in play in both the buyer and seller companies. Easy ones to paint a persona of in the buyer company are Influencers, Champions, Economic Buyers, and Decision Makers. But there could be a couple dozen people involved in a complex sale and ongoing relationship. Creating a persona is one thing. Quantifying what happens as the relationship develops and keeping track of it all is another.
An approach that is gaining traction now is customer journey mapping. A cross-function team outlines the steps a customer takes in a journey (a process like placing an order). Moments of Truth are identified—those moments when a seller company team has the chance to make a real difference in the outcome for the customer. Customer journey mapping has its roots in Voice of the Customer research so quite often sentiment is captured in each of the steps. Some go so far as to measure the emotions at any one step. We applaud these efforts. Through them seller companies are putting on the customers’ shoes so to speak.
We build on customer journey maps with our Value Creation Mapping (VCM) methodology. A VCM is the next step. We go deeper on Critical Interaction Processes and not only put on the customers’ shoes, but go inside their four walls and get into the details. So that process improvement is not helter-skelter.
Value Creation Mapping (VCM) is the first of a couple ways we recommend to quantify relationships. With a VCM map we can collaborate with you to plan and launch a process or improve a process. For example, what will you do if the economic buyer leaves your buyer company? Or if you find other players at risk? Or a customer makes a significantly increased purchase? We collaborate with our client’s cross-function team to rate Brand, Product, and Experience Value from their customers’ perspective. Together we identify which steps enhance, which ones detract from value? Together we measure how long each step took you AND the customer, how well the activity was done, and the cost to you AND the cost to the customer. A relationship is mutual after all! We validate the VCM with the customer.
The second way to quantify relationships is to track the Customer Experience across the customer lifecycle. With an Operational CRI System we track the Interactions that develop relationships. We quantify these Interactions…to measure their cost and their effect in developing relationships. Our Relationship Value metric is a leading indicator for profit. It expresses the cumulative effect of a series of Interactions in developing or destroying a relationship, essentially becoming a numeric proxy for the underlying Interactions. Relationship Value measures relationship cause-and-effect.
Profitable customers want a relationship. You can see it in their relationship patterns. From the data stream, you can see when a relationship is at risk or when costs are out of line. Who wouldn’t want to know this…to be able to predict stronger, longer relationships?
So magic happens in normal business activity, but these numbers can also help justify the value of the company. Making for more magic when a company is bought or sold. With Relationship Value there is an audit trail where there was none before. Who would want to waste this B2B relationship power?
Customer Experience Wisdom: “There is no such thing as a commodity.” Even commodities can be differentiated by the relationship between the buyer and seller. Opined Marketing Guru Theodore Levitt
Question: Want to bottle your own B2B relationship power magic? Be In Touch