October 19, 2015

Insight for better B2B Relationship & Value Building

By Peter Lavers

CAA modelDelighted to have, as our latest guest blogger, Peter Lavers. He is a Customer Experience expert, recognised by Satmetrix (among others) as one of the Top 50 CX & CRM influencers globally. Hope you also enjoy his B2B focus (as a change for this blog)…

Customer Insight is just as vital in B2B as it is in B2C, and knowledge is the starting point for our Customer Attuned Assessment (CAA®) methodology, which is about building better customer relationships based on trust, working together for mutual commercial benefit.

The sub-sections that sit beneath the CAA® model (illustrated) have been arranged to give twelve “golden threads” of critical CM capability. My series of posts will explore the insight requirements for B2B companies to be effective in each of these threads. It draws from the international research exercise undertaken in summer 2015 regarding their relative strategic priority and the CAA® benchmark database.

Relationship & Value Building (Farming) came out as the top priority overall in the research. A company that has this as a defining characteristic of its corporate DNA:

  • Sustains its business primarily through the development of long-term value-enhancing customer relationships
  • Directs its primary focus, CM strategy, resource and investment toward holding and growing the value of the existing client base
  • Has depth and breadth of contact & relationship within customers’ organisations
  • Customers who know that it is in it for the long-term and view the company as suppliers/partners of choice in their field of expertise
  • Regularly reviews relationship quality to ensure that it stays attuned with those customers
  • Sees every interaction as an opportunity to up sell, cross sell or deepen the relationship

Peter Lavers table 1This table shows the ranking by sector, region, business size and seniority.

It shows a remarkably consistent top 3 placing in every breakdown except one (Insurance).




Peter Lavers graph 1The 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 all about customer value and needs analyses. It shows that nobody so far assessed is fully capitalizing on the best practices of insight for relationship building.

The benchmark is a solid score, which should be aimed for as a minimum capability target for those who would score below it. It is hard to comprehend that some B2B companies are only just starting their journey of customer insight. These are typically companies that have been wholly product-centric or market aligned at the expense of customer focus.

In order to score well in the Customer Value & Needs Analyses section of CAA®, a business needs to have solid capabilities in the following areas:

  • Do you know the contribution (net profit) of every customer?
  • Do you build customer profitability into your pricing models & policies?
  • Do you understand potential profitability?
  • Is life time value (LTV) calculated and used in defining key accounts?
  • Do you track & store Customer Service interactions for analysis?
  • Have you established the real needs of your customer groups?
  • Have you mapped where value destroying ‘pain points’ exist in the customer value chain?

“We work to the mantra that if we are able to help our clients succeed in their (increasingly global) businesses then we will succeed in ours. Consequently we ensure that we understand our client’s business agenda, goals and priorities and use this to drive our internal agenda in response” (Banking, global)

As a sneak preview to those other golden threads, Peter’s full CAA benchmarking research report can be downloaded here.

Do you have responsibility for B2B Customer Insight? If you want to read the rest of Peter’s series, here on Customer Insight Leader, let us know through voting above or comments below.