November 9, 2015

Hunting for new B2B customers, do you know your sources?

By Peter Lavers

iStock photoHow is your hunting going? In the fourth of his series of guest blog posts for us, Peter Lavers explores the importance of this acquisition skill and being insight-led when you hunt.

This series of blogs explores how different aspects of Insight can be used to drive B2B Customer Management.

Knowledge is the starting point for our Customer Attuned Assessment (CAA®) methodology,CAA model which is about building better relationships based on trust; working together for mutual
commercial benefit. The sub-sections that sit beneath the model (illustrated) have been arranged to give twelve “golden threads” of critical CM capability.

These blogs draw from the international research exercise undertaken in summer 2015 regarding their relative strategic priority, and the CAA® benchmark database.

Hunting New Business came out as 4th priority overall in the research. A company that has this as a defining characteristic of its corporate DNA:

  • Has market/sector/category share growth as a major driver of its business plan
  • Has a structured and defined process in place to provide a constant pipeline of quality leads and new business
  • Has its customer management structure resourced, organised and funded around new business development
  • Celebrates new business wins
  • Learns from unsuccessful bids

The priority ranking by sector, region, business size and seniority are presented below.

Peter Lavers table 4

It shows that despite emerging as fourth overall, significant groupings within the cohort rate customer acquisition as number 1 or 2 priority.

Nearly half of the respondents who rated Hunting as top priority also had Farming in their top three, whereas only 12% of the vice versa situation occurred (those prioritising Farming also placing Hunting in the top 3). Businesses that strategically aim to be both hunters and farmers need to be incredibly well led, organised and measured.


The chart presents the highest, lowest and mean (benchmark) scores for companies on the CAA® database for the knowledge aspect of this golden thread, which is essentially about Peter Lavers graph 4prospect profiling.

It shows that insight for customer acquisition in B2B is relatively immature, with some of the lowest scores registered across the 12 golden threads. Indeed it points to some companies having no relevant insight for customer acquisition!

Companies that place Hunting in their top three strategic priorities should be strategically aiming for an upper quartile CAA® score (47%+); and upper decile (55%+) for those who rate it their 1st priority. These are eminently achievable targets. All other companies should be aiming to be at least benchmark performers as some element of Hunting is required in every business.

This confirms that many B2B companies are strategically aiming to up their game in customer acquisition: “Hunting drives our growth, which is key to our business model. We need to grow to be able to handle increasing complexity in the solutions we offer and acquire larger clients” (Technology, pan-Americas)

In order to score well in this section of CAA®, a business needs to have solid insight capabilities in the following areas:

  • Has market/sector/category share clearly defined & understood?
  • Do you know the best sources for quality leads and new business
  • Do you have intelligence regarding the way prospects list their suppliers and where you stand in these lists?
  • How well do you understand the effectiveness of your various hunting activities?
  • Have you defined the criteria by which you qualify prospects & opportunities in or out?
  • Do you check for trustworthiness as well as credit score?

Does your approach to hunting new business relationships match up? What approach is working for you?