Many companies have found that high sales volume does not automatically mean high profits. Among the factors that do affect customer profitability are geography, order size, and extra attention to keep the account. Some customers simply cost more to serve. Others will pay any price to get a certain product. If companies want profits and not just sales, they should start by understanding the differences among their customers. Careful analysis of customers and products will steer sellers into more profitable markets. Sellers should: know the exact amount and origin of costs; understand their profitability dispersion and set prices according to the value customers place on each product; focus strategy according to their knowledge of customers and their own strengths; install information and other systems to support a chosen strategy; and analyze profit dispersion and rethink strategy continually.
Source: Benson P. Shapiro, V. Kasturi Rangan, Rowland T. Moriarty Jr., Elliot B. Ross, Source: Harvard Business Review, September 1987 Subjects: Article Summaries, Marketing
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