Aug
12
2013

Setting sail to acquire and qualify new customers

Welcome aboard! We have developed a five-part series of posts to help credit managers and credit analysts navigate through the phases of the customer lifecycle. We hope you will find the articles informative, and will share them with your friends and colleagues. We also welcome your feedback in the comments as we take the journey together.

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Intrepid mariners have braved the high seas for millennia on voyages of discovery and commerce. It’s much the same for credit managers who want to set a safe course that leads to acquiring and qualifying new customers. No responsible sailor would leave the dock without planning ahead for any foreseeable contingency. Neither should you.

As customer acquisition costs have never been higher, experience shows this is the phase that requires the most foresight and diligence in order to mitigate risk and maximize profitability.

Marketing departments will target the most likely prospects using customer segmentation tactics to match potential customers with the company’s products, services and business objectives. With a boatload of prospects to handle, what’s the best course to take?

Staying shipshape:
The single most important step for credit managers in this initial phase is to confirm that these prospects really are who they say they are, and that their companies are worthy of doing business with.

It’s simply not enough to only verify the validity of the business. For example, a newly established company may have no history of fraud and therefore be an apparent good risk. But what about the business owner? It’s a fact that often a small-business owner may be using his or her personal credit to fund the business. It is highly beneficial to know the credit history of that individual. With a permissible purpose, credit managers can use blended data – both business and consumer information – when making credit decisions.

From the logbook:
Using an automated system to authenticate both the commercial entity and the owner of the company is a best practice credit managers might consider. Experian successfully supported a leading bankcard processor that needed to evaluate an average of 10,000 new small-business credit applications every month. The result was an increase in the number of applications being processed each month—made possible through a reduction in the amount of time spent in manual reviews—and a decrease in the number of fraud accounts opened monthly.

Experian even offers a feature that assists in identifying business owners with a history of establishing new business fronts for the sole purpose of conducting fraud, an unfortunate yet growing problem in these challenging economic times.

We always love to know what you’re thinking, so please send us your comments or questions below or send us a message on Twitter @experian_b2b.

Taking the proper steps to safely acquire and qualify new customers is one of the best ways to make sure your business never runs aground. For more information about Experian’s advanced business-to-business products and services, please visit www.experian.com/b2b.

Managing the Customer Life Cycle


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