How Distributors Improve Customer Retention A common rule of thumb in distribution is that it…
Tell A Unique Story – How To Demonstrate Value To Your Customers
Distribution companies generally struggle sharing their value proposition and story. Too many distributors tell generic stories about themselves. They say things like, “We value customer service and take care of our customers.” Well, who doesn’t do that? That’s a generic thing to say that hundreds of other distributors could say as well. You might as well say, “we have products and carry inventory.” Who cares? Of course you carry inventory and take care of customers. That’s your job as a distributor.
What you need to do is show your customers how you are unique, how do you provide unique value to them. And to make it believable, it needs to be fact-based, based on real data points. SMP makes it easy to tell your story with data visualizations using actual customer data from your ERP and distribution CRM systems. Telling your story with data allows you to:
- Position and differentiate your company – demonstrate what really makes you unique
- Develop a culture of curiosity that is focused on learning about your customers – you’ll be training your reps and employees to dig into your data for insights about your customers that will make them better at serving their exact needs
- Demonstrate respect by avoiding making the customer feel generic with a generic message – by using their data and interactions, they know you care specifically about them.
- Engage rather than present – interacting with data allows you to move the conversations deeper and explore new ideas. This generates more conversations, which leads to even more success.
On its own, data doesn’t do a whole lot. We all collect a ton of data in a ton of areas, but how do you use that data to inspire your customers? That’s something that most distributors don’t even think about.
Humans are hardwired to respond to stories. Our distant ancestors told stories to share information and build understanding — a compelling story could create order out of chaos and help people remember what they most needed to know to survive.
That’s kind of what we do for our customers, too. They count on us to give them confidence that we can create order from their chaos and help them not just survive but thrive.
Data storytelling is a way to bring data into the stories to reveal what is really unique, what’s important and focus your customer’s attention on what’s really important. You’re going to be creating a frame of reference for your reps and your customers to understand your business and mutual success.
Data storytelling is about:
- Sharing your insights with customers and your team by creating stories from your data.
- Combining reporting presentation and exploratory techniques for collaborative experience
- Providing a way to have a consistent presentation to your customers on a quarterly basis. For example, you can use bookmarks for historical data reports so you can show a period to period change – or period comparisons could be on the same sheet
Using SMP, it becomes very simple to create a data story to share and repeat that process with other customers. Here is a simple blueprint:
- Collect insights from the data. Explore the data points based on what you think makes you stand out to your customers and supports your main value propositions. You might look at the number of activities, calls and customer meetings. Maybe you want to show ways to improve average lines per order. You might explore their most frequently purchased items.
- Build your story. SMP makes it easy to create and change data visualizations like pie charts, bar graphs, scatter plots and more to share the story with your customers.
- Make the story compelling. Power SMP users love the ability to add emphasis to our data visualizations with text, images, call out, shapes and more so that your customers know exactly where to focus and what points to take home.
- Save as a template for all reps/customers. A template makes it easy for your reps to quickly customize for their own plans and customers without having to build a new visualization. It also keeps your value messaging consistent.
- Customize as needed. It’s easy to add unique text to each visualization for each customer, such as their name or a callout that shows their total spend.
- Present the story. The most exciting part of this data storytelling approach is being able to handle unexpected turns in the conversation. You can edit and filter data to explore new ideas right in the customer meeting. Your customer will be impressed with your value story and also your ability to interact with their data on the fly.