About > Customer Development
Customer Development: sales is only one of the components of building a strong, scalable company
You may have heard the phrase "we have a sales problem." What does that actually mean?
Does it mean a problem generating sales revenue? Or, instead, a problem with the quality or effectiveness of the sales team? Sales tactics? A problem with new product development? Or marketing? Or customer service? (Check your Growth Performance Score here).
When someone suggest a company has a sales problem, it's often only a symptom of a larger, yet hidden set of problems. The greater challenge might be a weak or ineffective customer development problems.
Getting precise in your description of a problem or set of problems is important. Until one can be specific, precise and accurate in describing a problem, it will be tough to solve it.
What is customer development (or client development if you prefer)?
Customer development is a tested, repeatable, and refined blend of steps and actions used to create and keep customers. That's a long sentence, on purpose. Those ideas are a core of building a company that thrives. Businesses are meant to grow and prosper, not just survive. Modest growth targets and hope are not sustainable strategies.
The term customer development was created by startup expert Steve Blank. It has become part of the culture and focus for many young and early stage technology companies. Startup concepts, including business model canvas, lean startup, and customer discovery apply to all companies.
It's important to understand your current state and status. Some of the startup related tools are simple, yet difficult to master. Before investing time and capital on advanced tools, we confirm your current state.
We define customer development as a "whole problem" method to unpacking growth struggles. We find, fix, and improve gaps that prevent increased sales, customers and profit. Customer development is not sales. Customer development includes sales. Sales is only 1 of 18 individual components required to create and keep customers.
Customer development is a process that can be learned , improved, and adapted as conditions change. Those changing conditions include your company changes, customers changes, and competitor changes.
The effectiveness and efficiency of your company's customer development process can be measured. We take objective measures of your company to determine strengths, gaps and weaknesses. Only the can purposeful actions be take to improve outcomes. Outcomes and results like higher sales and more customers with lower costs. That productivity increases business profits, and company valuation.
Superior sales growth rates, combined with superior revenue production reduces customer loss (churn). It also reduces sales cost ratios. Lower sales costs, better customer development and sales effectiveness create better EBITDA ratios. Those factors all convert into to higher profitability. Superior growth and profitability result in higher valuation and multiples.