The Behavioral Advantage: What the Smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently to Win in the B2B Arena

The Behavioral Advantage: What the Smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently to Win in the B2B Arena

The Behavioral Advantage: What the Smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently to Win in the B2B Arena

The Behavioral Advantage: What the Smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently to Win in the B2B Arena

Synopsis

In their book Winning Behavior, Terry Bacon and David Pugh showed how great companies outperform good ones through "behavioral differentiation" -- going beyond superior products and dependable service to connect with customers at every touchpoint. The Behavioral Advantage broadens the concept, applying behavioral differentiation to the business-to-business arena.

The best B2B companies depend on a multifront approach to business interaction, and The Behavioral Advantage reveals the secrets behind what is essentially a chess game with competitors. To win the game, companies must develop a carefully plotted opening game, with all internal values, policies, practices, and behaviors fully aligned. A smart and efficient middle game lets the company build and strengthen its position, and the endgame assures victory and lays the groundwork for future business.

Just as individual customers do, B2B customers remember those companies whose behavior consistently and significantly outshines even strong competitors. These firms create a lasting advantage -- and reap the profits that come with it.

Excerpt

In Winning Behavior: What the Smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently (AMACOM, 2003), we introduced the concept of behavioral differentiation. in our research on successful companies, we noted that the best-in-class companies had more than great products or services, a unique business model, and a wealth of talented employees; they also outbehaved their rivals and created a behavioral advantage for themselves in the markets they served. By outbehaving their rivals, we mean that their behavior toward customers—and employees—was significantly better than the norm for their industry.

They showed more care, respect, and commitment than their rivals did. They were more responsive to customers’ needs, including their unspoken and unrecognized needs. They devoted more time and attention—including senior executive time and attention—to customers. They established processes for ensuring that their customers were better treated at every touch point, and they created policies and procedures that empowered their employees to resolve problems faster, to think creatively with customers, to share ideas, and to go beyond the standard relationship building to create a level of candor, trust, and connectivity that results in de facto partnerships with customers.

In Winning Behavior, we explored why Southwest Airlines has consistently performed so much better than United Airlines, American Airlines, Continental, U.S. Airways, and the other “majors.” We asked why Kmart is in Chapter 11 while Wal-Mart continues to thrive as a company. the answer wasn’t merely that the superior performers had better business models, although this is nearly always true, or better leadership, or more luck, or lower prices. the answer was that the superior performers had found ways to behaviorally differentiate themselves and gain a strong competitive advantage through their behavior.

Some business writers instinctively understand behavioral differ-

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