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Make Your Clients Depend On You

Last week I introduced how inVentiv (VTIV) coordinates its breadth of services. By strategically sharing information and providing integrated services, inVentiv moves the company from a “guest” to a “host.”

This seems to be the original insight that led inVentiv to begin filling in its capabilities through acquisition. As CEO Blane Walter explains, “Prior to the inChord acquisition [in which inVentiv bought the marketing firm that Blane had founded], we were the leader in providing reps. Then inVentiv bought into being the leader of providing clinical support. In 2005, the insight was that we’ve done well in those businesses, and now we could go into marketing and reaching patient outcomes.”

So inVentiv has sequentially added services, expanding step by step, into its clients’ businesses. The company has found that when a client uses more than one service, its risk of losing that client drops meaningfully. In this way, inVentiv’s guest-to-host strategy supports one of the first pillars we discussed: customer captivity.

That is something that cannot be underestimated. In their book, Competition Demystified’, Bruce Greenwald and Judd Kahn define customer captivity as a true competitive advantage.

They write, “This can be because the customer has high costs in switching to an alternative product or service provider, or high costs in searching for this alternative, or simply because the customer has developed a strong habit in buying the product or service.”

The captured customer is golden, and outthinkers look for ways to attract and keep clients. Ask yourself the questions below to see how you can combine services or products to help you expand more deeply into your customer’s territory.

  1. What do we do best?
  2. What supplemental service or product do we hear our customers asking for?
  3. What are our clients three most important needs?
  4. How can we offer new services or products to fill those needs?
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