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How Vulnerable are Your Customers? (part 4)

In my previous blog post I described the current situation:  Now more than ever, your customers are being bombarded by competitive offers and even some of your most loyal customers are actually listening to your competitors.

Your customers are vulnerable.  What can you do about it?

The third thing you need to do is Leverage technology to do more with less.

I was speaking last week with the CEO of iLantern, a Boston-based company that helps salespeople discover potential sales “triggers” or events that typically lead to business within their target accounts.  Their technology scours public information sources for these triggers and automatically alerts sales reps.  The technology is brilliant, perhaps in a way that iLantern doesn’t even realize.  When you have fewer sales reps covering a larger number of accounts, there isn’t time to pour over the Wall Street Journal or the huge number of trade rags every morning to find out what customers, prospects, and competitors are doing.  Nor is there time to send a personal message to your customer, congratulating them on a recent win. Or to send a personal introduction to a prospect that just announced a new initiative that you are uniquely capable of helping them with.  Without technology like iLantern’s in this time-starved sales environment sales people become order takers rather than relationship builders.  Which means that deals are won on price, not value. Which means lower profits.

The customers of a Point of Sale (POS) software client told me they have shaved hours off of their daily order processing times in their restaurants, enabling their servers to spend more time with their customers.  Having enjoyed a much better overall experience , customers continued to return and spend even more.

Now is the time to focus your efforts on using enabling technology to do more with technology to make up for the people that you’ve lost.  You can’t afford to allow the precious customer relationships to languish and sour.  By automating processes to allow the remaining employees to focus on customer-facing activities that customers truly value, you can keep relationships alive and the deal flow healthy.

In the next post we’ll continue with the last of five things you need to consider as you adjust your Customer Strategy.

In the meantime, if you would like help in identifying and keeping your best customers, as well as revitalizing sales in a challenging economy, you might benefit from our new Customer Snapshot program.