B2B Customer Value Transformations Are on the Rise
Winston Churchill said that you should never let a good crisis go to waste. What I believe he meant was that the most difficult moments are also the ones that create impetus for positive change—because in the absence of crisis, it is much harder to justify disrupting the status quo.
This quote came to mind late last week when it suddenly dawned on me that, while we’ve been busily building a business and navigating a chaotic world that’s quite literally on fire, something positive was happening: B2B companies writ large were beginning to rethink their customer experience and value delivery models in a way that looks remarkably like the MetaCX vision.
First it’s an instance, then it’s a coincidence, and then it suddenly becomes a pattern. Sometimes seeing this pattern takes some time and patience, but once you do, you generally can’t unsee it. Literally dozens of B2B companies that we’ve talked to recently are using this crisis as the impetus to drive forward a transformation that connects:
Value selling—where they’re focused on outcomes, not features–and they’re selling a promise that speaks to real business pains;
Value delivery—where they’re operationalizing these promises by nailing the post-sales handoff, and coordinating implementation, onboarding and support directly in the service of achieving customer outcomes; and,
Value realization—where these outcomes are measured and proven back to the customer as the basis for renewing contacts and unlocking expansion opportunities.
Importantly, we’re starting to see companies do this, not as a bunch of fragmented one-offs, but as a highly connected discipline–a scalable and repeatable system that produces customer outcomes with predictability and regularity and helps to create a self perpetuating cycle, where success begets success.
The result is the ability for companies to consistently deliver on the value they promise–and, in doing so, to create longer lasting, more profitable customer relationships.
Why now? Because these companies don’t really have a choice. They’re facing the headwinds of a struggling economy where customers are buying less and scrutinizing more. These transformations aren’t really a discretionary choice; they’re an existential necessity.
The good news is, not that companies are in such close alignment with our view of the world (although we’re certainly happy for that, too), but that the result of this change in thinking is a net positive for customers and for B2B more broadly. For all the innovation we’ve seen in B2C customer experience, we’ve seen scarcely little progress in B2B. That’s now changing.
Another great quote comes to mind: “Every really new idea looks crazy at first.” That one is from Alfred North Whitehead, the british mathematician. His point is that innovation really is an act of defiance, the audacity to think about an unsolved problem in a radically different way. So different, in fact, that it makes people uncomfortable.
Until they’re forced to understand. Then they can see the world no other way.