Let’s Look at Where You are Now Before We Assess Where You’re Going. 

We’ve been working through a high-level view of the industry that you are in (people you compete against) and the market that you serve (people you could sell to).  We’ve explained the distinct differences between the two and shown how people often cross wires on these, using the word market, usually, interchangeably to refer to both your competition and your prospect base. 

This is the macro-level view.  On the market side, we had you run through a PEST analysis, since the market is shifting dramatically due to current events right now.  And while the word PEST might seem negative, we want you to remember that there is always opportunity in crisis.  This might be the time to retool your business, rework your processes, double-down on specific initiatives that differentiate you and make you more valuable to possible customers. 

On the industry side, we completed a look at Porter’s 5 forces, named after famed Harvard professor Michael E. Porter, the guru of business strategy.  While the model is often used to assess the attractiveness of a business for possible investment or sale, it is very useful to run at times like this. 

Where does your company fall on these assessments?  Are you a strong competitor, able to fight new entrants, deal with your supply chain and create a unique value proposition for your prospects that turns them into customers?  How are you or will you take advantage of the shifting momentum in markets (all markets) right now to build your business and your brand? 

We haven’t talked about brand, but it’s an important side note here.  A brand is not a company.  It’s not a product.  It’s an experience.  Your customers’ experience.  A brand is strictly defined as the way that a customer would describe interactions with your company and its products.   How do your products make them feel?  How do you make them feel? 

Brand awareness is critical if you’re going to dive deeper into what makes you unique and strong, which will take us into the conversations next week.  Similar to our discussions around market awareness and strength of your competition, this is not a guessing game.  Don’t predict or opine on what your customers think of you.  Ask them.  Gather real data.

One tool that we use is the Net Promoter Score (NPS).  An NPS has you measure your customers’ experience with you after every interaction of a specific type.  It typically has one question, but we recommend two:

  1. Based on the interaction that you just had with our company or our product, how likely would you be to refer our company to a friend or colleague on a scale of 1 to 10, ten being highest?
  2. The follow-up question is asked if the answer to the previous question is anything less than a perfect 10. What could we have done differently to make that experience enough for you to rate us a 10?

You calculate your NPS by aligning your scores around 3 possible customer types:

  • Promoters – someone who gives you a score of 9 or 10 and would willingly and enthusiastically buy from you again.
  • Passives – people who were satisfied by not enthusiastic with scores of 7 or 8.
  • Detractors – people who were not happy with the service or products they received with scores of 6 or lower.

The equation has you take the % Detractors and subtract it from the % Promoters to yield a score of something between -100 (in the case that all of your customers were unsatisfied) to +100. 

Moving the needle on how your customers truly feel about you will set the stage for looking at your particular business.  Is there time, right now, that you could ask your customers how they feel about you?  What can you do right now to help them through this difficult time?  (Don’t email them.  This is not an email conversation.) 

We’ll talk about prioritizing those customers tomorrow so you know how to build the call lists. 


In 2020, we are rolling out meaningful tools for manufacturers that are affordable, on-target and competitive.  We are also expanding our educational offerings.      

We believe in the critical importance of manufacturing right here in North America and we work hard to keep you working.  Ask us questions; you will find that we are far more reachable than other software providers you may partner with.  We are here to help you find the right tools and use them, whether it's a Google doc, an Excel sheet or a Production Control system.  To learn more about meeting your targets for 2020 or just getting a question answered, visit us at www.cimx.com.