Really getting to know your customers: part 2

| By:
Scott Marshall

The first blog in this dynamic duo touched on the importance of building a better relationship with your current and prospective clients, and how that can help you do more for your business. Now we’re focused on really digging into those conversations with key questions that can help you get the right information and better diagnose the best approach to improving not only your reach with prospective customers, but also your ability to amp up service delivery with your current customers at the same time.

The big four

What are the specific questions you should be asking your customers?

    1. What business are they in?

Your customers could be law firms, accountants, restaurants, health care providers, or anything else. Understanding your customers’ businesses gives you a better opportunity to provide exactly the service they need for success.

    1. What pressures are they facing?

If you’re competing with TSPs who specialize in a particular market, you could be losing out to their in-depth knowledge. Answering this question could help you get to know your customers’ costs, risks, regulatory concerns, branding needs, and profitability concerns, and will put you on the fast-track to positioning yourself as their go-to source for IT services.

    1. How can you help them differentiate themselves? How can you help them make a difference in their industry?

When you understand customer needs better, you can offer helpful insight into how even foundational infrastructure services like systems management, data protection, and security can make a positive impact on their specific business needs. By presenting direct, relevant examples of how their business will benefit, you can quickly separate yourself from your competitors and inspire opportunities for new practice areas that can fuel growth.

    1. Who are the business decision makers and influencers? What roles do they have?

Good business is all about people. Understanding the people you’re working with and the roles they play in their business can only help you better meet their needs. Classic account management theory identifies three key types of people who can influence your success: users, specifiers, and decision makers.

Users benefit from your solutions in their everyday work. Specifiers define the specific requirements a solution would need to meet in order to make it worth the investment. Decision makers control the checkbook.

When you’re asking these questions, make sure you’re getting the details. Ask for relevant examples that help you better understand their perspective on their business and the industry.

And two for you
    1. How are you documenting the priceless knowledge you’re gaining here?

These customer insights should be carefully documented in your CRM to capture critical customer information that aligns you to your customers’ priorities. Sharing the information with your sales, customer service, and marketing teams can help you scale your own business growth by simply documenting your processes instead of having to retrain every new employee based on knowledge stored in a seasoned employee’s head.

    1. How are you doing, really?

How do you know if you’re meeting your customers’ needs? Making the sale is a start, but it’s only the first step down a long customer journey toward long-term satisfaction.

With a more complete understanding of your customers, you’ll be in the right position to fuel your own success and growth. And it starts with asking the right questions.