Choose 'Em Or Lose 'Em! Blackberry's Aaproach To Customers

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Andy Hanselman Consulting
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Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion has decided to leave its consumer markets and focus on commercial customers. This comes after reported losses of $125m (£79m) over the last three months, with total revenue down by 25% on last year.

It’s an issue many businesses have to deal with (although to be fair, most can’t stand £79 million losses!!). It’s so easy to ‘spread yourself’ too thinly and focus on the ‘wrong’ customers.

CEO Thorsten Heins said “We can’t do everything ourselves, but we can do what we’re good at. We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody’s darling and all things to all people. Therefore, we plan to build on our strength.”

Our research suggests that 3D businesses ‘Choose’Em or Lose ‘Em – they focus on the customers they want to work with. They are also not afraid to turn the ‘wrong’ customers down or away.

What does ‘wrong’ mean? Well that’s obviously different for every business, but the key bit is identifying what it means for yours. Research by KPMG identified that over half of UK businesses could not accurately identify their profitable products and customers. Do you know where your profits come from?

So, 10 questions for you to consider in identifying your ‘best’ and ‘worst’ customers….

  • 1. Which of our products and services do we make the best margins?
  • 2. Do we focus sufficient efforts on maximising the opportunuties for these products and services?
  • 3. Who are our ‘best’ customers?
  • 4. What does ‘best’ actually mean for us? (And what does ‘worst’ mean?)
  • 5. Are our efforts focused on developing relationships with these ‘best’ customers?
  • 6. Are there any other customers like them? If so, how can we reach them?
  • 7. Are there some of our customers that take excessive amounts of time and effort (compared to others) to deliver what they want / need? (think ‘Value for time and effort’ to manage the relationship)
  • 8. How can we maximise our ‘value for time and effort’ with the right customers?
  • 9. When do we say ‘no’?
  • 10. Are there any of our current (or potential) customers we should say ‘no’ to now?

Now, obviously, I’m not suggesting that you ring up the customers you don’t like and hurl abuse at them, but could you / should you focus your efforts and resources on the customers that you WANT to do business with?

Why not take a proactive approach with some Research In Motion (geddit?) with your current sales and marketing efforts before you end up in a situation like Research In Motion!

Go on – Choose ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em!

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