It’s now widely understood: B2B marketers must help the sales team sell by actively shaping buyers’ journeys and leading buyers to the company’s offerings. Indeed, research shows that the buying experience now drives B2B customer loyalty much more than product features, price, or vendor brand reputation.
Guest Post from Tony Mohr, Managing Director, Curve Jump at Quarry.
As a result, we’ve seen corporate strategies refined, customer experience associations grow in membership, conferences organized, new roles and processes established, programs built-out and technology put in place — all with a goal of rallying corporate cultures to become customer-centric and to drive growth.
That’s exactly what you’d expect savvy organizations to do, especially given the quantity of compelling data endorsing the move. CMO.com, for instance, reports that “customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer.” What this really means is that an engaging and enriching customer experience is now a competitive advantage.
But, amid the flurry of investment, something critically important has been missed by the majority of companies, something integral to making a successful shift from product-centricity to customer-centricity: the segmentation model.
Unlocking the Potential of Customer Experience
To fully unlock the potential of customer experience (CX) as a source of sustainable competitive advantage, companies must have a cross-functional, common view of customers that is tuned to the motivations, attitudes, and behaviors of today’s buyers. Unfortunately, Quarry’s research shows that the majority of North American enterprises do not such a view. Current segmentation models represent a considerable obstacle to the success of CX-based initiatives everywhere.
Companies getting it wrong are using product-centric segmentation models built on industrial-era, rationalistic economic and psychological theories. They’re using segmentation perspectives based on top-down categories like company size, industry vertical, job title, or size of spend.
Each of these categorical frameworks may help organize and make sense of a selling environment, but they fail as customer segmentation models. Segmentation models, after all, are supposed to help identify a system of meaningful differences relevant to a buying environment. Top-down models do a lousy job of identifying different types of buyers and predicting differences in how buyers will behave.
To compete effectively on the basis of CX, a company must replace its product-centric segmentation model(s) with a more customer-centric, experiential segmentation model. We have identified seven barriers companies must overcome as they make this transition, and we have gathered them together in our infographic, “The 7 Segmentation Barriers to Creating Exceptional CX.”
Tony Mohr is Managing Director of Quarry’s Curve Jump practice, which helps executive leaders drive growth by aligning their organization around customers rather than products. Tony has spent the past twenty years learning about and practicing the art and science of marketing for brands including Cheerios, Pillsbury, Norton, John Deere, and Cisco. Connect with Tony on LinkedIn and follow him @tonymohr.
Tony also invites you to download Quarry’s full report on the state of segmentation in North American enterprises: Your Segmentation Model (The #1 hidden obstacle to creating exceptional customer experiences).