Establishing the Customer Line

January 9th, 2011 by

I read an interesting article in the Calgary Herald, “Electronics: Consumers want it all, here and now” – it speaks to how the 2 billion internet users and 5 billion mobile users will have access to content regardless of devices.

“Consumers should have access to content-TV shows, movies, songs, e-books, or otherwise-when they want, where they want, and they shouldn’t have to manually synchronize content between their various devices, either. This was the prevailing message at the state-of-the-industry keynote at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.”

In November a story broke on Google wanting to purchase Groupon: “Google Said to Near Deal to Buy Groupon for $6 Billion” according to Bloomberg. Chicago-based Groupon, founded two years ago, sends daily messages to users in 300 markets, offering discounts on products and services. Groupon keeps a 50 percent cut of every deal sold, while businesses benefit from a rise in new customers. Deals, known as groupons, activate when a certain number is sold, encouraging users to recommend offers to friends.

We have two very interesting trends:

• Access to content by billions of consumers from any location by any device that far exceeds the ability to communicate with customers that TV, radio and print ever offered.
• An example of a company that understands how to harness this “access” with the added ability take referral selling to a level never seen before in the sales industry.

When I work with small and medium size companies I see a couple of trends:

• When we establish lead tracking within a CRM, 30% to 50% of the new leads come from referrals.
• 100% of the companies do not do a good job of marketing to existing customers (most valuable resource) who are the source of the majority of referrals.

To address this issue when implementing CRM technology we establish a “line”; below the line are existing customers and above the line are prospect customers. When the line is established we then use a “groupon” mindset to promote products and services to existing customers offering incentives to allow the company to harvest its most valuable asset – its existing customer base. If companies want to be successful in competing in this new world built around the concept of “access”, they need to establish a customer line.

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