10 Jan 5 Golden Rules for Customer-Driven Growth
Movista has doubled our YOY revenues five times in the last seven years. Admittedly, each time we accomplish this feat it has been more difficult than the last, but the core tenets we follow to drive the business to these new heights haven’t changed.
Whether striving to double revenues from $50k to $100k or $5MM to $10MM, we’ve maintained a steady plan of attack along the way. It’s been a winning formula for us and we’ll continue to “dance with the one that brung us,” as they say, at least until we exhaust our addressable market and have to revisit our approach.
We wanted to share these tenets – our Five Golden Rules – with you. Hopefully, you will find some knowledge you can use here.
1. Keep your customers happy!
Getting a referral with recommendations is paramount to rapid and streamlined customer acquisition. By the way, it is not always the corner office folks who can help. We’ve signed several new clients because field users of our software moved from company A to B and shared their experience on Movista with their new organization. By being focused on great service and building our good reputation with our clients, we were able to go from zero to “go” in a matter of weeks, without ever lifting a finger or spending a dime on lead generation.
2. Educate your customers.
The more your clients know about your suite of services, the more problems you can help them solve. The more problems you can solve, the more valuable you are and the greater your fair share. Let me be really clear here, this is not about golden handcuffs and forced increases, this is about expansion of services. Keep your clients updated about all the ways you’re innovating – and help point them toward those things that can benefit them.
We recently had a client of three years double their usage of our system because we developed and released a new feature set they needed for the part of their team that handles orders and returns in the field. Ultimately, this is an education play.
3. Diligently diversify your client base.
We typically categorize clients as minnows, sharks and whales. We have very specific plan for procuring, on boarding and serving these different client types. By diversifying we are protected from any scenario where one big client could force our hand or manage our company for us. Our systems are different along the recruitment and service continuum so we are right staffed to serve the differing scales. We may grow by 12 minnows, 4 sharks and one whale a year – that’s a happy mix that leaves us in control of our development list.
Lastly, rightly or not, clients are risk averse. They like to know others have used your product and love it. The scale of every client is less important than the fact that they use and love your stuff. File this under “Always Be Closing” and don’t be afraid to add a marginal financial amount to the mix with a minnow – there are many ancillary benefits.
4. Treat all your clients the same.
We never value one client over others (See point one above). It’s not about the month-to-month value of a client but, instead, the lifetime organic and referential value. We have maintained a less than 5% client churn rate since we started this ride, and that can be attributed 100% to our commitment to giving “white glove” service to them all.
Is it annoying keeping up that level of attention? Sure, it can be. Is it satisfying? You bet it is. We try to remember that when a company can’t get their work done it really is personal. Whether it is personal to 25 or 2,500 folks it has to be tended to rapidly and effectively.
5. Part on great terms.
Remarkably, (and even inconceivably to me) we do not always get the business when we compete. Sometimes, that’s because we don’t have what they need. Other times, we might not be large enough or are too small from their perspective. What’s important to remember, though, is not just why we didn’t win that matters– it’s also how we handle the news.
In 2017 alone, we gained three new clients of scale whose business we’d failed to win in prior years. Two of them were missed opportunities from more than two years ago. When we lost, we were sincerely grateful for the chance to compete, asked what we could do better next time and honestly rooted for the clients to find success. So, if you find yourself in the same situation: lick your wounds, stay in touch (no more than quarterly) and make sure the companies know what you are up to. If you are lucky, life is long and the world is small and some of that business will circle back.
P.S. As I write this, it occurs to me the list might only be of interest to other customer-focused organizations. So, as a general disclaimer, let me add that if your organization is not customer-centric, I have no idea how to help you grow 100% or even 10%. There is probably another way to thrive, and perhaps you can share, but we haven’t yet identified it. For us, it starts and ends with happy clients.
Here’s wishing you a wildly prosperous 2018…stay in touch!