Commonly Held Myths about Annual Customer Reviews

If I were to ask a group of salespeople whether or not they deliver Performance Reviews to their customers today they would tell me, very emphatically; yes!  If I asked probing questions to find out the information delivered, the audience or the frequency of delivery the answers would be all over the map.  The point is, everyone believes they are delivering customers reviews that meet the expectations of their customers, but is that fact or fiction?  Let's take a look at a few commonly held myths surrounding the Annual Customer Review:

1.  "I'm doing a performance review with my customers - I'm covered."
Most top performance reviews I have evaluated look like a scorecard.  The information reflects past performance.

2.  "I know my customer really well; I don't need to do more discovery."
Your customer's top initiatives, priorities and challenges are constantly changing.  Have you ever asked key business owners what are their challenges?  Get out of your comfort zone and seek out individuals that are key decision makers, not users.

3.  "I have been delivering the same dashboard information to my customers for years; I don't need to change a thing."
Perception and reality are two vastly different things.  Have you ever asked your customer the value they receive from sitting in a two hour meeting to review the same information year after year?  Oh, and when you invite a supporter to provide a testimonial on your behalf, they are rewarded by being tortured to sit in the meeting.

What should a Customer Review really be for you and your customers?  It really is a strategic discussion that is solely focused on your customer.  It is your opportunity to speak to your customer about their business through in depth discovery meetings.  The review provides an opportunity to gain perspective on what your customer's top initiatives, priorities and challenges are across each of their functional business units.

By presenting your recommendations and the key findings that support those recommendations to your customer during the review you become more than just the Sales Representative with a briefcase full of collateral.  You have actively listened to your customer.  Take the opportunity at the Annual Customer Review to change the way your customer perceives you; make them see that you can be more than just an order taker.  Start leveraging tools like an Annual Customer Review to have business conversations with your customers so that they begin to see you as a problem solver instead of just a vendor.


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