The topic of customer portfolio management has been and still is the subject of continuous debate and analysis. There is an entire literature on the subject that has dealt with this topic analytically in all its aspects.
When we talk about customer portfolio management we refer to one of the most important assets for a company: that part of the structure which directly creates the turnover.
What will we talk about in this article?
- What is customer portfolio management?
- Management strategies;
- Necessary skills.
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What is customer portfolio management?
In a very synthetic way, we can say that customer portfolio management means creating a database containing the necessary information on a company’s customers.
But necessary for what?
This is the information that allows us to expand our business volume with customers.
In this article, given the extreme complexity of the subject, I would like to focus on an aspect that I believe is more relevant today than ever in the management of customer relations.
Importance of effective customer portfolio management
Now let’s go straight to the point and see how to surgically implement a correct communication strategy between company and customer to increase their turnover.
With over 30 years of experience in the fashion accessories sales sector, I have developed a vision of the supplier-customer relationship which has customer loyalty as its final and primary objective.
Let’s start immediately with a premise:
Getting a new customer is certainly a difficult operation; managing, maintaining, and retaining it is even more so.
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Managing Your Customer Portfolio
Leveraging digital marketing channels for customer management is a highly effective move. The tools offered online allow targeted and surgical strategies, allowing you to convey personalized messages to each prospect or lead.
However, there are some rules to be respected for successful management:
- know the interests/requests of each customer;
- don’t be invasive;
- offer a personalized response;
- human capital and creativity.
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Identifying customer needs and preferences
Each of our clients has interests, questions, and requests that have led them to become an integral part of our portfolio. This rule applies both in a B2B and B2C dimension.
Both in online and offline business, the analytical knowledge of the customer, but also the potential customer or lead generation, allows us to accompany him to loyalty towards our brand.
Respecting customer privacy and data protection
Today we are all literally bombarded by corporate and commercial communications: on social networks, on the internet, in our e-mail boxes, on TV, and in print media.
From the moment we interact, directly or indirectly, with a person offering a product or service, we become the object of his communications.
It doesn’t matter whether your interaction originated from curiosity or from an effective need to solve a desire or find the solution to a specific problem: from that moment on you often become the target of all company communications.
As they say: shoot in the crowd.
The result is that the customer is often annoyed to receive this mass of information, communications, and advertising that have nothing to do with his interests or requests.
Delivering exceptional customer experiences
The management of the customer portfolio must be structured by directing all one’s communications based on target customers and their interests and identifying elements. All of the above must be supported by tools that can help the company organize its customer portfolio.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is one of these, certainly the most effective and important because it allows and helps companies to develop customized management of their customers, in synergy with a highly performing activity such as Email marketing.
Leveraging Human Capital and Creativity
It is impossible to address the issue of Customer Portfolio Management in the absence of two elements that I consider physiological in correct management activity: human capital and creativity.
It is for this reason that I prefer to treat this topic independently and detached from the previous ones.
We have seen that, through the use of particular tools, such as Google Analytics and a CRM, we can categorize/target our customers and leads in such a way as to focus our communication activities on them personalizing them according to personal, professional, and interest models.
But analyzing just this aspect is like talking about an engine without referring to the team of designers and mechanics who created it, the fuel to make it work, or even the frame where to insert it.
Human capital is represented by the sales team: people who can relate to customers to achieve company objectives.
Each company/brand has a more or less large internal team that works constantly to increase turnover through continuous management of its customer portfolio.
It is unthinkable to think of the customer portfolio without referring to the corporate human capital that manages it.
And managing the customer portfolio means managing the most sensitive and confidential data that a company/brand has acquired over the years.
Creativity, which is simply a form of commercial sensibility, represents something out of the box.
Any commercial team must be made up of people who, in addition to creating all the conditions we have seen above, can develop new projects and give new indications which are also the result of a strong form of sensitivity and creativity.
Creativity is something that cannot be taught, and therefore cannot be learned, but it is that added value that often makes the difference.
There is no didactic module that can indicate the guidelines for any form of creativity.
Ultimately, the team of people who manage the customer portfolio in a company must be able to express in depth a whole series of elements and dynamics in support of the commercial activity in the strict sense.
Customer Portfolio Management is a form of activity that is invented day by day and where experience also plays a very important role. And in a situation like the current one, being successful in this activity also means knowing how to interpret the novelties and trends of a market before others and better than others.
Ultimately, Human Capital and Creativity are the elements that make the difference. Human Capital is represented by those people whose strength is worth much more than the simple sum of everyone’s strengths and the Creativity that makes it possible to design and plan management models based on experience, intuition, and competence.
These skills, experience, knowledge of the target, and the right tools allow, working in synergy, to manage a customer portfolio effectively.
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