How many KPIs do you have? And do you have the 'right' KPIs? A while ago, I wrote this article, 'What is CPIs?'. A different set of indicators that I claim you and your company must understand. CPIs are the ones keeping your customers up at night. I think Customer Performance Indicators (CPIs) are much more helpful in getting you where you want to go with your KPIs.

You measure your revenue, conversions, retention and satisfaction, but those are for your inside voice. It's more interesting with the places that your customers are trying to make as a measurable improvement. 

Some sell their customers a dashboard and some reports that show what happened. Some even have predictive analytics to sell them. But remember that those are your numbers, not numbers that are relevant to them, and their business success.

If your customers need to get their deliveries within a week of the order, your dashboard will not help them. What will help them is to show them how you help them to get their orders out in five days, or, two days. They will understand that it is a very good thing.

For B2B companies, I see a bit of magic happen if they can find understanding where their customers are trying to make a measurable improvement and then going and solving that. These are the things beneath higher order KPIs like revenue and cash flow and include stuff like processes, logistics, critical dependencies, and clean data integration.

These are not the things that show on your decision-makers' dashboards. Instead, they are the stuff of daily life in most companies, and when they don't work, the dashboard is just full of numbers. And these numbers often mislead us.

The extent to which we're able to solve and be seen addressing the simple issues in the centre of our companies is where we will find both retention and growth. You and your company may recall these are your KPIs, but that is not your customer's problem; they want to figure out how to solve things that increase their possibilities to achieve their desired future state. Your customers need to fix problems and solve challenges.

Look for these opportunities, and low hanging fruits in mainly two places: 

  • At the centre of an organisational change. These things tend to drive operational issues to the surface, together with a willingness to measure and solve things.
  • In the third fiscal quarter. When budgets are created, and to frame CPIs and measure them, keep you away from budget cuts and may impress the C-suite.

Your customers usually do not know their CPIs, which provides an excellent opportunity for you and your company. Have a look at how your customers tackle particular issues with workarounds, manual work, and processes.

Find these, and you find the source for their problems and challenges. Fix these, and you will be in a very good position. Quantify the value of fixing it, and your company's KPIs are more vital and relevant.

In this checklist 'how to interact with customers' you will find basic things that you want to know about and do with your prospects and customers.

Download the checklist

Anders Björklund

Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.
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