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B2B Marketing – Customer and Prospect Intelligence

Harvey MacKay sold a lot of envelopes before he became a best-selling author.  He became a wealthy man selling envelopes.

Back in 1983, MacKay understood how important relationships were to being successful in business.  In fact he was a master at it.

I was cleaning off my workspace and found a copy of the MacKay 66 Customer Profile.  It’s four pages of customer information that he believed was important to know.  And almost all of it was personal.

Where did they go to school?  Who makes up their family?  What positions have they held in their career?  What do they like to eat?  Where do they like to eat?  What are their hobbies and recreation choices?  Where do they like to vacation?  Do they like sports?

The answers to these questions give us insight to who they are.  What makes them unique.  What’s important to them.

The answers to these questions help to build a foundation of a relationship.  Knowledge of these things helps to keep the conversation more interesting than “It’s been a couple of months since we started talking, has any budget freed up for a software purchase?”  The answer to one question, probably leads to another.  The answers lead to sharing and really getting to know someone.  It builds an ongoing conversation.

At ITA, in my presentation ‘100 Names, Days and Ways to Grow Your Business’ I talked about how the bulk of my marketing was personal.  I use branded items – but my message to the recipient is all about them.  If they know, like and trust me – when they decides they need marketing services, they’ll ask me.  I don’t need to hound them.  When I focus, genuinely, on relationship development – the business development always follows.

Other MacKay 66 questions include:

What do you feel is his/her immediate business objective?  What do you think is of greatest concern to the customer at this time – the welfare of the company or his/her own personal welfare?  What is he/she most proud of having achieved?

What are the key problems as the customer sees them?  Can you help with these problems?  How?

The final question is:

Does your competitor have better answers to the above questions than you have?

If the answer is ‘yes’ – the competitor owns the relationship.

No one wants to be treated like a prospect.  No one wants to feel as though the conversation is a means by which to get at the checkbook.

If you own the relationship, eventually you will own the business.  MacKay understood this over 30 years ago.  Back then there weren’t CRM systems.  No LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.  No email.  No blogs.  Think of all the tools we have to build relationships and yet the overwhelming question I always get is ‘How much business does [insert name of tool or platform] actually generate?”

Business is generated by the customer.  The ineffectiveness of our CRM, Social Media, email, direct mail, conference attendance, etc., I believe is a reflection of the ineffectiveness of our relationship building.  It is a reflection of our inability to enter into a meaningful, ongoing conversation with our customers.




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