Masterclass Series: Managing Strategic Customers3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
A strategic customer represents an account that plays a critical role in an organization’s growth. Whether it’s in terms of high ARR, opening up new avenues for growth due to the reputation they hold in the target market, or simply representing the ideal persona when it comes to product development. Organizations that skillfully manage strategic customers stand to reap enormous rewards.
We recently hosted Tia Wucher at Blox.ai. During the session, Wucher delved deep into how organizations should go about building strong foundations for relationships with these customers. She also covered how she has achieved success in the past.
Here’s what organizations need to know about managing strategic customers:
What differentiates a strategic customer
Strategic customers can either be in the form of multi-matrix organizations or massive organizational structures. This typically involves the team working with various personas as points of contact. Apart from this, strategic customers also tend to have complex expectations from their partners. And their need for extensive support from the partner team is what differentiates them from regular customers. In situations like this, flexibility and thoughtful consideration are key.
Furthermore, the biggest hurdles with strategic customers are usually in the form of management and organizational changes. However, this can be overcome through frequent engagement.
While dealing with a strategic customer, it’s important to remember this – a transactional approach to the relationship will not benefit the overall strategic vision.
How organizations should go about managing strategic customers
Keenly listening to the pain points and challenges of strategic customers is crucial for a successful partnership.
A handy tip is to identify areas for improvement and help customers level up from their current standing. This can be done by nudging them to take a closer look at their processes. And then, assisting them by implementing innovative solutions to their problems. Another method to achieve this is by carrying out a SWOT Analysis to holistically look at and evaluate the various strategic customers.
By actively prioritizing the weaker aspects and capitalizing on the customer’s strengths, teams can build meaningful relationships with strategic customers. This, in turn, goes a long way in retaining them.
In case teams land themselves in a dicey situation, here’s advice straight from Tia’s playbook – leverage the influence and authority of executives and leaders from your own organization.
Why strategic customers are key to long-term goals
Teams can gain critical insights into the market landscape and the potential it holds by thoroughly exploring the expectations of these strategic customers. In the long run, the long-term trust built between the customer and the firm could also lead to references to other key organizations and open up avenues for multi-fold growth.
About Tia Wucher
Tia Wucher is currently the Director of Customer Success at Cypress.io. She comes with over two decades of experience in driving the customer success and marketing strategies of organizations such as Optimizely, GoKart Labs & SPS Commerce, to name a few. Wucher is highly proficient in all things account management & client relationships related and has led organizations to profitable brand success in the past.