Corporate customers are the holy grail of every startup or SME as they can lead to big contracts, long revenue streams and references-all of which can help them to get additional customers enabling you to grow and scale.
However, the task of acquiring corporate customers often proves to be very daunting with their large organisational structures, multiple stakeholders and complex decision-making processes not to mention office politics.
Acquiring large corporate customers requires hard work, tenacity and patience.
Here are some tips for securing the almighty corporate customer in 2019.
Develop a DEEP understanding of your target industries and markets you serve
- You must have a thorough in-depth understanding of the industries and geographic markets which your target corporate customers operate.
- This means understanding key trends, performance drivers, strategic imperatives
Develop an in-depth understanding of your target corporate customers
- This means understanding:
- WHO BUYS (ie who are the Decision Makers, Influencers and Change Agents)
- HOW THEY BUY (ie who they talk to, what do they read, what do they look at)
- WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO THEM (ie their objectives, priorities, key challenges)
- Determine how your offerings will contribute to these higher order requirements
Focus on developing customer solutions ie. the WHOLE product
- Develop end to end customer solutions that will meet your target corporate customers’ broader set of requirements and priorities
- Can your company provide value adds such advice, access to experts, facilitate industry peer engagement, training?
Find early adopters and customers
- Identify customer that you can work with to develop customer solutions that will be a “WIN-WIN” ie meet their specific needs but also could be an opportunity for you to scale and offer to other customers
- Think about what incentives your company could provide to entice customers to work with you (eg discounted pricing upon roll-out, free training or reporting)
- Try to find early adopters that could be referenced and have strong advocacy power (eg. industry contacts or reputation)
Collaborate and co-create
- Be sure to get input from prospective target customers before you begin developing prototypes
- Business customers are very clear on the specific objectives they are looking to achieve from products, services and solutions. You must have an in-depth understanding of this from the right stakeholders before you start prototyping!
- Consider working with not just customers but also suppliers, strategic customers, other start-ups or SMEs to develop solutions that your target corporate customers will value
- Provide reasons for why customers and other potential collaborators would want to work with you (eg. host an event to facilitate industry peer engagement, offer free trials or upgrades)
Identify the industry influencers that your target business buyers highly regard
- Based on your “Listening to the Market” and “Listening to Customers” identify who are the “Go To” people (eg bloggers, journalists, industry experts) within your target industries and markets
- Develop a plan to work with them to get on their platforms, gain visibility and credibility among your target corporate customers (eg share their content, interview them)
Leverage advocacy marketing
- Identify your advocates (ie Clients Who Love You) and work with them to obtain referrals, references on social media, speak about your company at conferences or events
Plan and manage your corporate customers
- Develop B2B Customer Plans for each of your key customers and prospects
- These plans should clearly answer 3 questions:
- What You Will Deliver (eg Products, services, support, information/advice)
- How You Will Deliver (eg Channels, Service levels)
- How You Will Promote and Engage (Eg. Content, Forums, Peer Engagement)
Anticipate the risks and concerns of your target corporate customers
- Identify the potential risks that would be of key concern to your target customers
- Provide solutions as to how these risks could be mitigated
Deliver to the personal value of buyers
- Identify the true buyers (ie Decision Makers and Influencers) be sure to address both their professional and personal needs
TAKE ACTION NOW
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