Customer centric

As a B2B organisation it is difficult to get a clear picture of your customers. It always concerns personal relationships that require a lot of specific attention. That is precisely why it is extremely important to put your customer first. In this blog I explain how you can take big steps with the HillFive SalesBoost.

Putting the customer first starts with knowing exactly what your customer wants. What are your customer’s priorities? What does the customer want to achieve? How can you help the customer solve urgent latent problems and challenges?

At HillFive, we help our customers follow a five-step model that allows a B2B focused organisation to quickly and structurally determine what their customer needs are, what priorities this entails for their own organisation and how the necessary steps towards higher customer satisfaction should be taken.

Step 1: SIPOC analysis

SIPOC is the abbreviation of Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer. With a SIPOC, the connection between the supplier and the customer is mapped using the primary process. This makes it clear to what extent value is delivered to the customer and what the role of different departments is. This is particularly interesting if there is a chain process and the departments deeper in the chain have no idea what contribution is being made to the customer.

Step 2: Voice of the customer

The ‘voice of the customer’ provides insight into customer satisfaction with your services and products. There are various methods to find out the voice of the customer. For me, the customer arena and the one-on-one customer conversation are the most effective. At the customer arena, a customer is invited and interviewed by an independent third party in which the sales people sit around the customer and listen to the complaints and compliments. The interviewer deepens the conversation and a lot of good lessons can be learned from this. The one-on-one conversation can then be used to deepen the results of the customer arena together with the customer and to understand exactly what pain and need there is. The outcomes of these sessions are input for the next step.

Step 3: Affinity Diagram

Using this diagram, you can collect large amounts of data (ideas, opinions, themes) and organise them into groups based on their natural relationships. A natural relationship can be, for example, that there are growing digital needs or a new younger target group is emerging for the product, so it needs to be adapted. The affinity diagram is used to group together ideas generated by brainstorming. The input from the customer arena is used to brainstorm about new services and products that fit well with the latent customer needs.


Step 4: Kano model

The results of the affinity diagram are dividedinto three categories:


  • Musts: the things you need to meet the customer’s basic needs;
  • More is better: if you have more of these then this leads to higher customer satisfaction;
  • Delighters: these are the product features that set you apart from the competition and make you unique.

Then, together with the customer, we make choices about getting the basics right so that the customers are satisfied. Choices are also made about investing in the distinguishing capacity (the delighters) so that the customers stay and you can attract new customers.

Step 5: Quality and KPIs

Only when you have a good picture of the customer can you focus on the people. My experience is that sales people dislike being monitored. Freedom is often a reason to want to work in sales. Of course, the organisation also wants to understand how many new customers are coming in so that production and service can be geared to this. In this last step, we create a dashboard so that both sales people and management keep energy to report on the one hand and receive sufficient information to be able to act in a customer-oriented way on the other hand. The precise selection of KPIs provides the core of information needed to keep customers satisfied and attract new customers. This is enabled using the previous four steps where it has become very clear what is really important and what hardly contributes to the customer. The dashboards are now being used effectively and usefully. Our experience is that this contributes very well to the cooperation between sales people and other parts of the organisation. It becomes a steering tool that ensures internal connection and external sales results.

We have successfully carried out these steps for various sales organisations. Especially the attention for streamlining the internal organisation to the customer’s needs is highly appreciated. The basis for achieving sales success has been laid.

Would you like to know what our SalesBoost approach can mean for your organisation, please send me a message for a non-binding intake or just a nice conversation.



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