[How-to] Combat Threats to Organic Growth, with Zilliant

Phil Anderson
- Finance - Jun 29, 2014

Losing customer purchase volume or losing customers outright is a constant threat to organic growth, but finding an effective means to combat churn often remains elusive for large B2B companies, where it’s common to have tens of thousands of products and customers.

The massive complexity at this scale makes it impossible for sales reps to closely track each customer and thus they miss key purchase signals such as a drop in volume in a given product category. Their books of business are simply too large to detect defections in every account.

Churn is so widespread and incremental that even small dips in volume quickly add up to significant amounts of lost revenue, working against organic growth goals. And while some churn is unavoidable, it is a much larger problem than most companies are aware of. Spotting defection when it begins is easy enough for one customer-product combination.

However, in a massively complex environment, most sales reps are forced to spend 80 percent of their time on their top 20 customers and top products. As a result, managing the long tail of customers and products is a largely reactive activity.

In an effort to help reps stay on top of their accounts, companies often hire a team of analysts to review past transactions and produce customer spend reports and churn analysis. While well-intentioned, these efforts typically fall flat.

Sales reps aren’t analysts, they don’t have the time to analyse reports for occasional actionable insights, and quite frankly they don’t want to. Furthermore, these reports are backward-looking, only showing what customers have purchased in the past.

The reports can’t predict if a customer is beginning to defect or predict which customers are ripe for cross-sell opportunities. Without specific guidance, reps only have intuition and gut feel to rely on when deciding which customers to call on and which products to talk about.

Abandoning manual methods

There is a better way to control churn, but it requires abandoning manual analysis and moving to a more scalable method. By applying science-based predictive algorithms to existing company data, organic growth opportunities in the customer base can be predicted and then delivered to sales reps for immediate action.

The actionable guidance can be made available in tools sales reps already use — email, CRM, salesforce automation systems or otherwise.

Tapping into organic growth opportunities is more critical than ever for large B2B companies. Rather than relegating decisions about which customers to call on and which products to talk about to guesswork, companies can guide their sales reps to the retention and cross-sell opportunities most likely to result in a win.

They can spend more time doing what they do best: growing customer relationships and winning more business.

 

Phil Anderson is vice president of sales for the Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific markets at Zilliant. As a seasoned sales leader, Phil is highly motivated to connect B2B companies with predictive sales applications so they can make their numbers.

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