What might mastodons have to do with Customer Relationship Management?
In a recent discussion with the leadership team of a small engineering firm I listened as they reported on their progress working with a medium size firm on the second project they had worked on with a third coming down the tube. It struck me that they had progressed to a new phase in their marketing and sales work. They had finally reached the point where they are experiencing repeat business from larger firms. They occupy a fairly narrow niche in the engineering world, but they had found several customers for whom their services are now being called on with regularity.
I asked more questions about how they were thinking about these customers. They spoke of getting closer to the engineers at the customer company. They did have some knowledge of the boss of an engineering group, but could not recall who the purchasing or product management people were. So we talked further about the value of getting to know this customer much more intimately. Who are the decision makers? What are the company’s strategic objectives? What is the technology strategy? and so on. Suddenly one of the leadership team popped in from the corner of my Skype screen and said, “This is like a paleolithic village hunting a mastodon. Keep sticking it until it falls over and then you eat for a month!”
With this image still in mind, we set as an objective for the next two weeks that they would work on penetrating their current customer mastodon and scrub through their list of old customers looking for companies that were either large enough or otherwise in a food chain that could make them a mastodon.
(image borrowed without permission from mastodon and neolithic hunters borrowed from http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2006/07/men-of-north.html)