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Who are my most valuable customers? (Sales & Marketing, part 2/5)

John Nelligan


As a business gets established, owners are reluctant to turn any work down and frequently say “yes” to customers’ requests for additional services because they have the technical skills to provide the product or service requested. The business can build a portfolio of work which is mixed and possibly bespoke to customer needs. Whilst this is one way to grow the business, it means the owner gets dragged into the operations and will never have the time to really focus on growing the business. With customers dictating the shape of the business, it may appear as good customer service but with it brings risks as you are mainly responding to the market and not proactively managing the incoming work. So, what should you do to avoid this trap?

There are fundamentally two steps to resolving the issue. The first is to carry out an analysis of your customer base. If the records do not exist, then these will have to be created or a means of creating them devised going forward. The types of information you should collect is: profit level, number of times purchased, average order value, payment record, ease of doing business with, sector, type of work, the potential growth of the customers business and its stability.

The second step is to decide where your business is going. You will need to look at what is going on in the wider market place and make sure you are not at risk from, or can take advantage of, changes in legislation, economic factors, social trends or technological advances. Taking the analysis of your existing customer base, decide who you should be working with to achieve the business objectives and start to focus on those customers and their peers. These customers are your most valuable and your offer should be designed to attract more like them.

As time moves on, your most valuable customers will change. Customers you were pleased to acquire in the early days will not be attractive as you grow. Some will grow with you, others will not, and you should quietly let them go elsewhere.

If you need any more help with working out which customers are most likely to propel you towards your business objectives, then please request a free health check to find out how Business Doctors may help you.