When we were going through the new Global Manufacturing Sales Strategy Study from the Alexander Group, one finding that stood out to us is their push for better customer alignment. In this context, customer alignment means focusing less on the products themselves, and more on how those products solve buyer needs – particularly the needs of the highest-value buyers. Additionally, it means a focus on offering portfolio solutions and account-based marketing, rather than “a’la carte” product sales.
According to AGI, businesses they surveyed with this focus on customer alignment saw:
- 9% higher sales force productivity
- 8% higher revenue growth
- 29% more revenue from new product launches
- Higher per-rep sales, with lower per-rep costs.
All in all, this isn’t a surprising finding. B2B products and services are becoming more specialized, as the needs of buyers become more individualized. It stands to reason that laser-targeting on best-fit buyers would be a better approach than scattershot mass market style sales. We have some tips on how to make this happen in your own indirect sales operation.
How To Encourage Better Customer Alignment Within Your Ecosystem
1. Analyze and prioritize your customer segments
Dig into all the buyer data you have, and what you can get from your partners. (Partner Relationship Management software can make this much easier!) You want to identify and segment several different groups of buyers, based on their overall lifetime value, and find the distinguishing features of your most profitable customer segments. You’ll want to create buyer personas for these segments too.
Then disseminate your findings among your sales partners – they’ll appreciate the effort! Once nice side effect here is that this sort of work will greatly increase mindshare among your partners, and give them more reason to focus on selling your products. So you may see an uptick in sales from that, too.
2. Reconfigure your marketing and online channels
To be clear, you aren’t going to be totally ignoring the less-profitable segments, but you won’t be giving them your full focus either. Your sales and marketing should be primarily aligned towards and targeting your most attractive market segments.
You’ll want to closely map the buyer’s journey of these most-attractive segments, and make adjustments to your sales channels to match. Likewise, this would be a good time to produce more sales content – like videos – which specifically talk to the segments you most want to target. However, try not to be exclusionary. You don’t want to drive away other segments, if possible.
3. Encourage resource re-prioritization within your sales partners
This may be the tricky part, since you have very limited ability to affect the internal organization of partner companies. However, the ideal situation has both you and your partners re-prioritizing so that your best assets are put to work chasing your best customers. You may even want to segment areas such as marketing, so that you have one better team focusing on the whales, while your “B-team” is going after the minnows.
When talking about this with your partners, remember to always keep things focused on how changes will help them. It goes without saying that you profit when they profit. Demonstrate how role re-alignment will lower their costs and improve their sales. Again, this may also have the side benefit of encouraging them to focus more on your products in general.
LogicBay Can Centralize All Your Data And Communications
The LogicBay methodology is focused on putting everything you need to manage an indirect sale operation all in one place. Our software allows you to create a single centralized silo for data collection and analysis, available to you and your partners, alongside robust communications tools and informational repositories.
If you need to re-align with your customers, contact LogicBay to see how we can help.