Customers, Prospects, and Referrals: A treasure map toward profitable growth

Get your top team together with our free download CPR spreadsheet in front of you. Use it like a treasure map toward profitable growth. As always, we recommend a systematic approach to this vital business process. The 4-step process described in last month’s newsletter is a customized tool within our “IMPROVEment cycle” (available as a white paper titled “Thriving in a Matrix World“).

The CPR 4-step process:

Categorize your business contacts

 Categorize your business contacts. We recommend designating them A, B, or C. As are top accounts and important referral sources. Bs are loyal customers but are not providing game-changing volume or referrals. Cs are those less-strategic accounts. Remember too those customers that you do not yet have because your competitors are ahead of you.
B’s are loyal contacts that are growing but not providing game-changing volume or referrals. (A referral networking group could be in this category as a single entry in your spreadsheet, and you would track regular meetings and interactions with members.) C’s are those less-strategic accounts, profitable, but not yet significant sources of new business. This is not a tool for listing individual C customers, but rather as a category and the activities associated with that relationship type.
Review your entire customer list and apply the ABC criteria Review your entire customer list and apply the ABC criteria. Use your judgment of each customer’s track record to be sure only a small number of clients are in the A group. The desired outcome is to focus your limited resources where they will have the greatest impact for the As, Bs, and Cs. Bring all the data and business intelligence that you have to this categorization task. The “Identify,” “Map,” and “Prove” stages of the IMPROVEment cycle are the foundation for sales growth.
Continue the team exercise by listing all the current interactions Continue the team exercise by listing all of the current interactions that you have with each client, prospect, and referral partner. Using the “Proactive Prospecting Template” (or other tools) generate as many ideas for potential activities as possible. Our examples are just to get you started thinking about the possibilities; insert your own most effective interactions. Filling in the CPR spreadsheet is great for both evaluating current business practice and generating new ideas for growth.

Referrals must be part of the buying journey.

Referrals must be part of the buying journeyOur CPR tool helps you integrate referrals into your customer’s buying journey. Some businesses ask for referrals before the sale, probably catching customer attention by offering a discount quid pro quo with the referral. Others may give the referral bonus simultaneous with the purchase or at some point thereafter.
Every cell within the CPR spreadsheet corresponds to a step of the buyer’s journey. Keep them simple, brief, and clear. Exactly how you will ask for referrals within this process should also be simple, clear, and brief. No matter whether your marketing channel is online, offline, or a multi-channel approach, the tool makes it clear that referrals are a vital sales tool that must be automated and is deserving of detailed attention.
Assign team members to each interaction Assign team members to each interaction. Be sure to connect with the appropriate level at the customer end. Plan and rehearse your interactions with those named individuals within customer organizations. Do not expect perfection first time or even any time, but always review interactions to learn from any mistakes made and reinforce best practices. Selling is a dynamic, never-ending, ideally upward-spiraling process.

Systematically applying our CPR tool to your sales process will make all the difference to your profitability and growth.