By Jerinne Marie Tancinco
HOW DO WE DEFINE AND APPROACH DIFFERENT BUSINESS SEGMENTS?
“I don’t need a lengthy business review or account plan, I know what I’m doing,” or “We have no time for business reviews” or “It seems that only huge companies need this, I don’t.” Sound familiar?
How to define and approach different business segments and account types, strategic account planning and management and, of course, why these matter regarding operational performance and client success, are very important.
Why is this thoughtful approach to client segmentation so important? Because investing in strategic accounts is a huge commitment for organizations, same with investing too much in small/medium business groups, and there should be a similar perception on the customer’s side so that you can collaborate to help them achieve their desired business results; and yours as well.
What we need to primarily carry out are the following:
- Define Client Segmentation
Client Segmentation is simply the grouping together of clients or accounts based on similarities they share with respect to any dimensions we deem relevant to our business. Dimensions could include customer needs, channel preferences, interest in specific metrics, customer profitability – the list goes on.
- Determine Client Types and Establish Varying Client Relationships for each
Client relationships are like romantic relationships. You embark on a journey together where you will share negative and positive experiences and have to compromise to make things work. But just like personal relationships, client relationships can be challenging. The only difference is it’s really up to us (vendor folk) to make our partner (client) happy. But how do you do it? – You need to identify client types and establish mirror approach. Being able to appropriately match the approach to the client type not only makes for better collaboration, but also makes a client feel special by having the service directly tailored to them, too.
- Determine Types of Engagement or Level of Support
For customer success organizations that are either building their team, scaling their team, or re-defining their processes, they know firsthand how many components go into planning and determining the right customer engagement model.
For some clients, onboarding of their project doesn’t require a complicated process (low touch) and for other clients, they require individuals or teams to drive implementation (high touch).
When you first start thinking about how you’ll engage with your clients, it’s important to take a big step back and consider a few questions: What’s this client’s annual revenue? Will a model that has a high touch team with many contributors actually support revenue growth, or will you need an engagement model that’s lower touch?
In a broader spectrum, in totality, understanding how unique each of your clients and their business is also your number one business. It is your gateway to a dream ROI, may it be in actual figures $$$ or in establishing a strong, solid and holistic client relationship.
In collaborative discovery, you allow your clients to see you as an extension of their team, not as an outside partner.
In continuously building trust, you overcome gaps in terminology, expectations, and different past experiences.
In communication, you avoid frustrations. Nine out of 10 times, any frustration on either side occur because we aren’t communicating with our clients enough.
In correctly segmenting, defining and approaching your clients and their business, you provide a lifetime value. Rather than constantly focusing on finding new clients, you focus on looking after the clients you have; not just in the best possible way, but most importantly, you do it – the RIGHT way.