Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce and author of Growth IQ, is renown for her ability to lead large revenue-producing divisions at organizations of all sizes. When it comes to making big changes and shaking things up to drive business growth, she’s the expert to turn to.
At a recent Insight Talks event in San Francisco, Tiffani gave us the lowdown on how companies can make big shifts and the modernized strategies required to succeed today. As it turns out (surprise, surprise), it’s a whole new world out there filled with disruptors and competitors, and the need for customer insights and a better customer experience is now greater than ever before.
3 key steps to business growth:
1. The right combination of factors
As Tiffani put it, there isn’t just one thing that will help you hit your numbers this quarter. There are always a number of factors working together that translate into growth. Maybe you see your competitor entering a new market, so you think, “Hey, I should enter that market, too.”
Well, don’t expect to see the same success.
Even if you try to take the same growth path as another company has taken, the execution won’t ever be the same. Perhaps that business used strategic partnerships to get to where they are. These are the factors you simply can’t see, but they’re there, working together.
You need to see the whole picture and do the right things in the right combination, which can be tricky.
2. Customer feedback
Tiffani gave us McDonald’s as an example of the need for sequences. McDonald’s customers were telling the company for a decade that they wanted all-day breakfast. Instead of listening to their customers, McDonalds continued on the path to product acceleration. Rather than making changes based on consumer feedback, they just added more products to their menu instead. By the time they realized they should have listened to their customers—10 years later—they had let it go too far. Their growth had significantly stalled. Today, they do offer all-day breakfast, but they could have made significant profits by paying attention to their customers years ago.
3. The customer experience
Tiffani also pointed out how so many companies today are struggling to move away from a focus on products and instead pay attention to how the customer feels while using the product or engaging with the brand.
Moral of the story? You should be selling the customer experience, not a product. And, of course, getting the customer experience just right means having access to customer insights.
Which takes us to the Q&A…
A Q&A with Colan, Senior Manager of Audience Insights from Twitch, and Sarah the Shoppers Insight Analyst from Red Bull
Using insights as a lever to create change and generate growth is great in theory, but how are companies really doing it?
In its infancy, Red Bull created its own category and used community insights to target the right audience from the start. But now, 10 years later, they’re faced with fierce competition, and they couldn’t keep doing what they were always doing.
Sarah from Red Bull says their online community was a significant tool in generating growth at this stage. The market researchers were able to give the sales reps and category developers in the field the data they needed to differentiate them from their competitors. Sales was able to take these insights to retailers to set them apart. With the right data, you can prove to retailers that you can make a difference in their sales. Retailers are now addicted to knowing what customers think, and their insights communities are making it possible for Red Bull to share this information.
Colan from Twitch explains how online communities helped him target male millennial users and keep their attention by giving them the exact content they wanted to view. He also noted how online insights empower users. Members like to see their suggestions and recommendations come to fruition. They know their voices are being heard.
The customer should always be behind every change you make
Write this one down: The feedback loop also enables an entire organization to keep growing. The customer is behind every change, which ensures the company is always doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Although it’s nothing new to get feedback from customers, what Tiffani stresses is it’s new that brands are actually listening now. That’s the key. You need to do something with the insights you receive—implement changes, drive decisions, and improve the customer experience based on the feedback received.
“Don’t find customers for your products. Find products for your customers.” – Tiffani Bova
Your customers will tell you what they want and expect from you. But…
A word of caution
Once you start listening, you’re going to get back a lot of feedback from your community. Although you might get antsy to be as responsive as you can as quickly as you can, remember that any change you make in your company should be thoughtful. What we’re saying is don’t just add 100 new flavors to your food offering because customers are asking for it. First, ask if the changes are in line with your brand. Are you being true to your brand and your audience?
“Be thoughtful and a fast follower rather than always being a leader.” – Tiffani Bova
Although speed is the new currency, you shouldn’t get too ahead of yourself. Take a break, breathe, and make sure the changes you’re making are right for your company and your customers.
The value of customer-based penetration
Tiffani also touched on the importance of customer retention. While sales teams are constantly focused on net new customer acquisition and hitting their quotas, it becomes more difficult to think about retaining customers. One of the keys to generating more growth is to pay attention to the customers you already have rather than always chasing the new customer. If they feel they aren’t being valued, your loyal customers will leave, which will translate into a churn problem. But remember, listen to your customers in your insight community so you can better understand them and what loyalty means to them, so you can keep them for the long-term and increase their lifetime value.
There are many, many ways to create change and generate growth. What works for one company may not work for yours. Get the insights and the data to make informed decisions, make sure any change you make is customer centric, and choose growth strategies that align with your business goals.