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The Number One Thing to Assess About Your Customers

By Hank Barnes | November 02, 2021 | 0 Comments

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As readers of my musings (or rantings) know, I’m a big believer in working to gain a deep, deep understanding of your customers and prospects.   Enterprise Technology Adoption profiles are a rich psychographic model, but sometimes I get pushback from clients, saying it is hard to know that much about a customer.   While a sometimes wish I could turn off my video, shake my head in sadness, and then come back; there is some validity to their concerns, particularly for new prospects.

In the past, I’ve talked about assessing how strategically organizations view technology as the most important thing to discover (and one part of the developing the ETA profile.  But recently I started to dig a bit deeper in a different direction.

I was prompted by some findings from a recent study (results will start being published for clients in the near future) where the focus was on studying the dynamics of a purchase and deployment of emerging technologies.  In that study, we ask about ways to mitigate the risk of the emerging tech and those that were happiest with their purchase where the most likely to say that have a robust change management program.

With that in mind, I went back and took a look at our high quality deal study from 2019 (note:  We have a new study in the field now, I’m excited about what it might reveal).   I then looked at a couple of the ETA assessment questions that dealt with technology change.   And I realized, that willingness to change is more important than the strategic view of technology.

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There are two questions that get to this.  The first asks about broad technology investment strategy.  One of the options is “We rarely implement ‘new new’ technology projects”  the other is about new technology with an option of “We avoid the cost and disruption of replacing existing technology”  (for anyone who is trying to migrate customers to a new release, this would be a great thing to know).

The data is incredible.   There were only 46 respondents (out of 1500) that chose both those options.  For those 46, only 2 (4%) met our criteria for a hiqh quality deal.  There were 233 that chose either of those options.  Only 7% met the HQD criteria.  As a note, the HQD percentage for those viewing technology tactically was 15% and the overall % for all respondents was 27%.

Taking this data, with research from colleagues on the importance and value of change enablement, and I have a new number 1.

The one thing you want to know about your prospects is the organizational attitude toward change.   You can then also assess strategic value of technology.  And then discover other attributes.

But change is the key.    Perhaps it is time for the vendor community to take more ownership of change management for your customers.    That may be the missing element of a whole product strategy.

Attitudes toward change.   They key to success.  They cause of challenges and delays.  Understand it, then deal with it, for a less frustrating customer relationship.

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