It’s hard to find a B2B marketing or sales article these days that doesn’t talk about the power of the customer. The customer is in control. The customer’s finished most of their buying process before talking to vendors. Sales folks must engage customers on social media. Create content customers want. We’re in the age of the customer. Yada, Yada, Yada.
So why is it then, in converations I have every day with sales and marketing heads about what they’re doing with customer voice, and I ask questions about what they know about customers, how their customers buy, who they trust, or why they bail, I get answers like this:
- “I know our customers because I have lunch with them at events.”
- “We created buyer personas a few years ago but they weren’t useful to me.”
- “Our field sales guys are our eyes and ears to the market.”
- “We do a Net Promoter survey every six months.”
- “We’re drowning in projects, there’s no time to know about customers.”
I could go on and on, but there’s no need to rub salt in the wound.
The summary section of our LinkedIn profile is a primary place where we talk about our professional passions, our points-of-view, and our distinctive skills and competencies we want others to recognize.
When I look at the LinkedIn profile of a typical marketer, it is loaded with laundry lists of his or her proclaimed functional specialties that goes something like this:
“I am well-versed in digital marketing, SEO, field marketing, competitive analysis, positioning, demand generation, lead nurturing, channel marketing, content marketing, marketing analytics, social media, product marketing, sales enablement, branding, marketing communications, PR, analyst relations, Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot…”
But oddly enough, there’s hardly ever a reference to customers. Where’s customer insights? Where’s buyer personas? Where’s customer engagement? Where’s customer voice? Either the marketer has no involvement in these areas, which is a sign of impending irrelevance, or is involved with these things but doesn’t see it as important to call out. Both are a warning sign.
So I developed a simple, totally non-scientific, but somewhat fact-based test to tell if you (or someone you’re thinking about hiring) really gives a s#!t about customers. I call it the Net Customer Score.
Here’s what you do to calculate your (or their) Net Customer Score. Go through the LinkedIn summary section, and count up the number of times a skill, specialty or qualification is mentioned that is about customer insight, customer journey, customer/buyer personas, customer engagement, customer experience, customer success, customer voice, etc. From this number, subtract the count of mentions of skills, specialties or qualifications that have little to nothing to do with customers (like those listed in my “well versed” paragraph above).
And here’s my scoring table that is open to broad interpretation, but I’m sticking with it and you should to:
If your Net Customer Score is:
1. 0 or greater You are a customer-obsessed rock star
2. Between -1 and -5 You have a girl crush or bromance with customers
3. Between -6 and -10 You give a s#!t or two about customers
4. Between -11 and -15 You can take ’em or leave ’em
5. Less than -16 You may want to find a new calling
Go ahead, give it a try, and post your score in the Comments below.