Over time weeds grow in any garden. In the same way, unprofitable customers work their way into your company. To avoid the high costs of low profit customers, you should perform an annual analysis of customer profitability. Therefore, weed your garden of customers who are sapping your profits and cash flow.
Although there are many ways to look at your customer base, some of the factors to consider are sales volume, gross margin, profitability, number of transactions, and average sale per transaction. Looking at this information will not only shed light on those customers who are a drain on company resources, but highlight opportunities to sell more to higher margin customers who have low activity.
Sometimes the costs may be indirect. Firing the customers with low gross margins is straightforward, but what about the customers that pay a good gross margin but require a lot of effort from operations? Not only do you need to address gross margin but you need to consider the costs to service that customer.
If you get rid of the clients that are high maintenance, then it frees your organization up to focus on the more profitable customers. While a successful strategy might be to cross sell additional products or services to those clients who value the relationship, another strategy would be to target new customers with the same characteristics as the good clients you have today.
The benefits of weeding out high-maintenance, low profit customers will reach across the organization. The sales department benefits by focusing their prospecting on the right clients who value and will pay for the company’s products and services. Operations and finance will realize improved productivity in servicing only those customers who are reasonable in their demands for service. No more getting beaten up on margins, “special” payment terms, or Friday afternoon rush jobs!
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