Billion-dollar companies being billion dollar companies, they know how to win at business. To go to market against them and come away with a share of the spoils, a five to 100-million-dollar company has to do the proverbial more with less.
Here are six ways your company can emulate the practices of billion-dollar companies to win more business.
1. Billion-dollar companies know the Internet enabled customers to take over the conversation, and that they’re not giving it back.
You know how well your company has honed its products and services to meet customer needs. So the temptation to extoll their feature-by-feature virtues is strong. But when a company launches into its features-and-benefits story right from the get-go, they’ve fallen prey to small-company thinking from the bygone days before the Internet. Customers don’t want a linear presentation in your company’s voice. They want to hear their voice in what your company has to say. They want to be heard. They want to be understood.
“Customer-centric focus” may be a business cliché these days, but this term remains the best way to describe the attitude billion-dollar brands exhibit toward their customers. It’s a focus to embody at every touch point if you want your customers to feel valued. So do what the most successful companies do. Focus less on what you have to gain. Focus more on how you can communicate empathy for customer needs and wants. The gain will inevitably follow.
2. Billion-dollar companies never lose sight of what they’re good at and how they create value. Neither should your company.
In an effort to grow, companies often develop and launch new products or services they feel are extensions of their core offerings. When enthusiasm blunts objections that make sense, the result can be a go-to-market effort that goes nowhere. Billion-dollar companies are not immune to such mistakes. The famous failure of Ford’s Edsel automobile comes to mind as does Apple’s Newton personal digital assistant and Coca-Cola’s infamous New Coke.
Even lesser known business failures offer lessons for all. Take Rubbermaid Commercial Products’ foray into office furniture in the mid-1980s. The company had a sterling reputation for its well-designed line of molded, plastic office products. With PCs flooding into widespread office use, Rubbermaid Commercial Products realized the need for a more ergonomically friendly computer desk and theorized that it was just the company to design and make the adjustable computer stand businesses needed. The resulting “fully adjustable, fully affordable” computer stand was a total dud. While such a product would always make excellent sense for a Herman Miller or a Steelcase, for a maker of plastic in-and-out boxes, pencil cups, and wall files, it was a stretch of rubber-band factory proportions.
What are the capabilities that your company excels at? Which ones help differentiate you from your competitors? Zero in on these capabilities and differentiators with a radical focus. And as a company, ask yourself if the next seeming opportunity that comes along truly aligns with your focus, or whether it would shift it away from your core business, with the potential to be a costly mistake.