By participating in this customer segmentation exercise, you will have a customer action plan that guides standard operating procedures for all clients. This plan improves customer service by enabling you to better focus on tasks and communication through more effective allocation and utilization of resources. This directly links customer behavior and their potential profitability to customer loyalty.
Learn to say no!
You’ve heard it before, but quality is more important than quantity. During tough economic times, firms usually resort to pursuing any and every RFP. If you spend hours responding to RFPs each week but have no new work to show for it, you have wasted time and resources that could have been better utilized elsewhere.
This is why it is important to have a Go-No Go strategy in place that aligns with your firm’s strengths and goals. This strategy will also help you determine whether or not your firm can be competitive and should spend the time and money to develop a proposal. Proposal development should never exceed 3 percent of the potential win. If you have to spend more than that to prepare the proposal, you need to rethink pursuing the project.
Other key factors to keep in mind when developing a Go-No Go strategy include whether or not the client knows and likes you and vice versa. Also, you need to determine if you have the resources and experience to successfully complete the job within the negotiated fee. If a project doesn’t meet the criteria in your Go-No Go strategy, it is best to walk away and focus on pursuing work that you can and want to win.
While being nice and respectful may seem like an obvious part of your marketing efforts, kindness is a rarity in today’s stressful environment. An easy way to help your firm stand out in the marketplace is to bite your tongue now and again and just be nice. At the end of the day, people want to work with people they like. Despite the extra pressure you may be under at this time, going the extra mile to be nice and positive to your clients, potential clients, colleagues and employees will pay off in the end. Clients will want to work with you and employees will want to work for you, which will overall position your firm for success. Recognize your loyal clients. A simple thank you goes a long way, and referrals are crucial now more than ever. Spread the word for your clients, suppliers and contractors, and they will return the favor to you two-fold.
Invest in marketing
Studies show that a consistent presence in the marketplace now will play dividends in the future. In fact, marketing dollars invested in a down economy are actually more valuable than those spent in a good economy as you gain greater market presence and are seen as a strong, solid company. Now is also an ideal time to experiment with new marketing techniques, such as social media. Create a presence for your firm on Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia and Facebook. By following the marketing strategies above, you can better position your firm to withstand a difficult economy and be prepared for the upswing.