Looking at the most valuable customers for your business, do you know what they really want? Do you understand what it is you need to do to keep them as loyal, satisfied customers? When it comes to your key accounts, it’s important to analyze and understand why those buyers have stuck with you and what the chances are that they’ll stay with you into the future.
Because B2B competition is more intense than ever, you need to recognize what’s going on in the minds of your buyers, or else, face the possibility that they’ll take their business to a competitor. If you’re not properly managing your key accounts, this situation can come as a sudden and unexpected surprise. To avoid this potentially disastrous occurrence, start by creating a list of top questions to ask your key accounts so you can enhance communication and discover what their goals, needs and concerns are.
Asking questions is a vital part of any customer success plan, helping you locate your customers’ pain points and better understand what it is you need to do to help them succeed. Through a symbiotic process, you can identify ways to help your customers, as well as yourself, in order to create a mutually beneficial business relationship.
Let’s take a look at a few questions you should ask your key customers.
What Did a Prior Business Do to Keep You as a Customer?
It’s possible that your most valuable customers deserted a previous business to come to you. Investigate what that prior business did right or wrong to draw that customer in and ultimately, drive them away. As noted by HubSpot, you should find out what the business did right first, so you’ll know what kept buyers in the first place. Then, find out what they did wrong to prompt that buyer to jump ship and come to you.
Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” always cited the important tactic of understanding your enemy, even if you may not want to consider your competitors that way. Nevertheless, the more you understand what your competitors did and still do, the better you can adjust to the needs of your key clients.
What Pain Points Do You Have?
All customers have problems they want solved, and they usually buy products based on the promise of a solution. When you sit down to talk with a key customer, be sure to ask them what kind of problems they have and what kind of product features are looking for.
The answers you receive can help your business gain insight into what customers in your industry are looking for and what solutions nobody else in your industry is providing. Then, you can act on it.
By understanding the challenges your key customers face, you can be better equipped to help them overcome those challenges.
What Are Your Goals?
Once you have a better idea of what a buyer expects of you, you’ll want to know what their goals are to achieve business success. As part of a joint success plan, you should listen carefully to what the goals of your buyer are and be ready to provide a product or service that will help them achieve those goals.
When your buyers see evidence that you’ve listened carefully and took part in a more targeted approach, you’ll achieve something invaluable; mutual understanding and trust.
How Am I Helping You Achieve Your Goals?
As an extension to the above question, finding the goals you are already helping a customer achieve can provide some valuable insight into your relationship. It’s possible you helped the customer reach a goal you didn’t realize you were even helping with. Discuss with your customers what goals they have already achieved with your help, as an alternate way to scope out which goals you need to continue nurturing.
Why Did You Buy From Us?
Learning why a customer bought from you can help you find what you did right to attract that customer and establish a sense of trust. While it’s fine to investigate what your competitors did wrong to bring customers to you, knowing things you did right can help you refine elements in your own business. Small details matter, and you may not realize that you have something golden until you do more investigating.
What Challenges Do You Have That I Haven’t Addressed?
It doesn’t matter if you’ve done all your homework on buyer problems; your customers still may have challenges that you haven’t yet addressed. Business problems are complex and sometimes subtle. You need to ask and research your buyers thoroughly to weed out problems they may keep quiet about, yet absolutely need fulfilled.
What Does Success Look Like in This Relationship?
In this situation, you want to look at things from the perspective of your buyer. What does the business relationship between the both of you look like to them? Perhaps you have a rosy picture, but from their end, it may not look that way, even if they haven’t spoken up about it.
Discuss what a successful business relationship might look like to them. Encourage them to be honest, so you can develop a better strategy for improving things in the coming year.