Tips for Tech CEOs to grow their business in uncertain times - Part 6: Prioritize the long-term nature of your relationships

Value PropositionThis is the sixth in a series of short inspirations to help tech-entrepreneurs weather the uncertain times and come out stronger as a consequence.

In the previous posts, we’ve discussed five core criteria to make an impact in uncertain times: Sniper focused segmentation and positioning, a strong ability to cut through the noisemaking your offer a no-brainer, and last but not least doing the unexpected, i.e., surprise.

There’s another shift in focus, though – and that is, oddly enough, the realization that is actually having customers is a golden asset. We’ve always heard that it’s much easier to grow a customer than it is to gain a customer – still, we spend an enormous amount of effort and money on net new business – often neglecting the base we have.

In times of crisis, however, existing customers give you that famous ‘foot into the door,’ but more importantly, you a source of trust that could help you weather these uncertain times. Let me explain: In uncertain times trust becomes a critical currency. Everybody is ‘on its marks’ and is trying to mitigate risk. As such, instead of trusting your blue eyes, they’ll be much more eager to believe ‘their peers’ i.e., your customers.

What complicates things, however, is that many of us have organized their organization around the customer. This has improved as we transitioned to the cloud and moved from an on-premise and, therefore, license-led business model to a model led by subscriptions. With that, the risk shifted from the customers to us, the vendors.

But that hasn’t translated into true customer-obsessed organizations, to the contrary. And as such, we have to step up.

And that’s precisely what our customers expect from us, so the timing is our favor. We have a range of opportunities to pave the foundation for the future by being there for them when they need you most. We’ve all been taught in school about Maslov’s hierarchy of needs. Physiological, Safety and Belonging are the first three layers – and that’s where you can be a massive help – because, in times of crisis people, this is what people need most.

One massively undervalued opportunity is one of ‘bringing your customers together.’ Now I don’t mean physically – but virtually. How often have I been at user conferences and realized that this is typically the only opportunity in the year where our customers meet their peers. So, I question out loud: why not give them this opportunity the entire year?

What if you’d connect people with similar roles across your customer base with their peers. Just imagine the value they’d get by being able to bounce off ideas, discuss their challenges, get new ideas, and find answers to the problems at hand?

What if you’d step up and facilitate gathering and sharing the hacks your customers have learned using your product to gain an advantage in this crisis?

What if you’d offer special ‘Office hours’ where users gather online to discuss the optimal use of your product to tackle their new challenges?

What if …

Technology is not the issue – there are many platforms you could set up today to get this going. We’ve all been accustomed to video conferencing and webinars. But what about community platforms. I use Mighty Networks myself to bring together my tribe, and you can be live this afternoon on that platform, and start inviting your customers. But there are many more alternative platforms these days to serve your specific needs.

So, think bigger – don’t only call your customers a bit more often, bring them together. You’ll be amazed by what energy you’ll be able to unlock from bringing together like-minded people. And that’s what they are – they are all aligned by the same thing – your product.

To illustrate my point: I established the Remarkable Effect tribe for Tech-Entrepreneurs-on-a-mission. If you are such a tech-entrepreneur, on a journey to do something significant and meaningful: you’re invited. As said, find your peers, explore new paths, test your assumptions, and sharpen your thinking. Become part of something larger than yourself, surprise more often and weather the storm together.