In the B2B world, customers are raising their expectations of how suppliers interact with them. In the most recent CEO study by IBM, this was one of the five key findings. In order to continue to be a valued supplier, customers want their suppliers to bring ideas to them…help them solve problems and enable aspirations. This is a huge opportunity for firms to break out of working through purchasing, eliminating competitive situations, and enhancing long term customer loyalty.
Here’s the catch: you MUST be building relationships with decision- makers. That is where true problems get identified and solutions get funded. Most organizations are “too comfortable” calling on the user and influencers and hope those people can/will sell the ideas internally and get funded.
Check it out: http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ideasfromibm/us/ceo/20080505/