The Big Picture:
In my experience, the key to growth is winning, retaining & growing the “right” clients. But unfortunately, all-too-often, sales & marketing teams don’t have a clear definition of what the “right” client is. Resulting in time, energy & money focused on misaligned prospects and clients.
This is a one way ticket to nowhere.
When I started my consulting practice in 2014, I needed a way to simplify business development for entrepreneurs and developed this 2x2 matrix. This simple framework has become the centerpoint of my work and has helped many organizations grow in a sustainable way.
The “right” client is one that is aligned both financially and culturally. To put this matrix to work, it’s important to clearly define each one.
Aligned Financially: A good starting point is examining your existing portfolio of clients.
Over & over, I see ~20% of clients driving ~80% of revenue in the majority of the B2B technical & professional services companies that I serve. Digging deeper it’s common to see the bottom ~50% of their clients generating less than 10% of their total revenue.
David C. Baker said it well, “your BEST clients use MOST of your services MOST of the time.”
Aligned Culturally: This one is less straightforward but equally, if not more, important.
These are your values-aligned clients who are going to stay with you (even if you are not the cheapest), grow with you, recommend you (promote your brand) and refer you (to other aligned stakeholders and prospects). Your team is engaged working with these clients and vice versa.
I often hear these relationships defined as “partnerships” rather than a traditional “vendor”.
Once you define these two axis, you can plot and power rank your existing clientele. Understanding who your “Blue Chip” clients are is extremely valuable.
From a strategy standpoint, you get an opportunity examine this small roster of “ideal” clients and compare & contrast them to your “other” clients. Then, you can identify unique characteristics (ex. demographics, psychographics, trigger events, origin, stakeholder involvement) of your “Blue Chip” group.
From a tactical standpoint, you give your sales & marketing teams a clear aim. They now have a center of the bullseye to pursue (rather than a big blue ocean that leads to wasting time & energy).
Additionally, you have given your leadership & account management teams a priority list of clients. These clients deserve your best people, your proactive time, energy & thought.
Between the Lines:
Effectively using this 2x2 “Blue Chip” Matrix is the starting point for clarity, focus and alignment.
When done right, you will be able to win, retain & grow more of the “right” clients.