Last week I wrote about how my client was reverting back to a vendor-centric approach to drive increased adoption and usage of their products.
As we looked to develop the customer success playbook to support their channel partner strategy - i.e. supporting their partners in the integration of the products, as well as enabling them to sell, train, deploy and support their customers in the usage of the solutions - we fell upon an unlikely analogy; a first date.
What would a vendor-centric versus a customer centric approach look like on a first date between the vendor and the customer?
In a vendor-centric approach the vendor would focus on getting the customer to understand everything about them.
They would talk all about themselves sharing what they have to offer the relationship (how great they are and how the customer will benefit by being with them), everything the customer needs to know about them (i.e. the “product”), how they operate (so the customer can figure out how best to interact with them), and what the customer needs to do in order for the vendor to achieve what they want out of the alliance.
The vendor would, unintentionally, neglect to ask the customer what they wanted out of the relationship or understand what they like and dislike in order to know what makes them “tick” and want to go out again.
The vendor’s focus would be predominantly on obtaining its own objectives, but they would genuinely feel that they had the best interests of the customer at heart.
In a customer-centric approach the vendor would focus on understanding the customer to see how their mutual interests could be aligned to develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
They would listen to the customer, learning about what they want to achieve (so the vendor can figure out how to best support the customer in obtaining their goals while achieving its own as well), how they operate (to figure out how best to interact with them and make it easy for the customer), and understand what they like and don’t like (i.e. what is the best way to motivate them) in order to generate excitement about the relationship.
The vendor would use that information, along with its expertise and what it has to offer, to purposefully outline ways to create a mutually beneficial relationship, building trust and confidence from the get go.
The vendor’s focus would be to align the interests of both parties, knowing that long-term relationships are created and expanded when both receive value from the.
Would you want to go on a date with the vendor-centric vendor or the customer-centric one?
A goofy analogy to be sure, but it certainly drives home the point of how goofy we as vendors act when it comes to driving adoption using a vendor-centric approach.
Bottom Line: A Customer Centric Strategy Drives Revenue Growth
Understanding the customer and aligning their business interests with a customer-centric, prescriptive approach to realizing value from the vendor’s products is the fastest and most efficient way to product adoption.
Ultimately this leads to value derivation for customers, which in turn leads to customer retention and expansion for the vendor; a match made in heaven and one that lasts and grows!