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Sales strategy - Understanding your customer P2:

Building a Model of Your Customer's Business

Advanced Sales Training, E-Learning

· sales process,sales training,sales strategy,Business model canvas,Understanding your Customer

This is the tenth in a series of articles for e-learning for Advanced Sales Training for IT and High-Tech Sales "Sales Strategy, Understanding Your Customer – P2 Building a Model of Your Customer’s Business.” For more information about e-learning programmes visit:

Understanding Your Customer Part 2

Building a Model of your Customer's Business – The Business Model Canvas

Understanding your customer's business model is crucial for holding intelligent business conversations, delivering tailored solutions, and fostering lasting partnerships. One effective tool for gaining this insight is the Business Model Canvas (BMC), developed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, a strategic management template for developing new or documenting existing business models. It's a visual chart with elements describing a firm's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances.

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Here's an overview of how the Business Model Canvas can be used to build a model of your customer's business - there are a number of strategic questions you can use to fill in the blanks - see training programme!:

1. Value Propositions: This defines the products or services that your customer offers and explains how these are different from competitors. Understanding your customer’s value propositions helps in identifying their unique selling points and market positioning.


2. Customer Segments: This part details the different groups of people or organizations a business aims to reach and serve. By understanding who your customer targets, you can tailor your strategies or offerings to better meet the needs of these specific segments.


3. Channels: These are the ways through which your customer's value proposition is delivered to the customer segments. This includes distribution and marketing channels. Understanding these channels helps in analysing the efficiency and effectiveness of your customer’s market reach.


4. Customer Relationships: This component outlines the type of relationships the business establishes with specific customer segments. Analysing this can give insights into customer loyalty, retention strategies, and sales mechanisms.


5. Revenue Streams: This segment illustrates how the business makes money from each customer segment. Understanding your customer’s revenue streams is crucial for analysing their business model’s profitability and sustainability.


6. Key Resources: These are the assets required to offer and deliver the previous elements (value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams). Understanding these helps in identifying the critical assets your customer relies on.


7. Key Activities: These are the most important actions a company must take to operate successfully. Knowing your customer’s key activities helps in understanding their core competencies and operational priorities.


8. Key Partnerships: These are the network of suppliers and partners that make the business model work. This includes alliances, joint ventures, and supplier agreements that help your customer optimize operations, reduce risks, or acquire resources.


9. Cost Structure: This describes all costs incurred to operate the business model. This includes fixed and variable costs. Understanding this helps in assessing the financial health and efficiency of your customer's business model.


Why Use the Business Model Canvas for Understanding Customers?

1. Holistic View: It provides a complete picture of how a customer’s business operates, enabling better alignment of your services or products with their needs.

2. Identifies Pain Points and Opportunities: Understanding the various components of the BMC can help identify challenges and areas for improvement in your customer’s business.

3. Facilitates Communication: It serves as a common language, simplifying complex business models and fostering clearer communication.

4. Strategic Alignment: It aids in aligning your strategies with the customer's business goals, ensuring your solutions are relevant and effective.

5. Innovation and Adaptation: Helps in identifying areas for innovation and adaptation, especially in rapidly changing market conditions.



The Business Model Canvas is an invaluable tool for businesses seeking to deeply understand their customers. By providing a clear and comprehensive view of how a customer’s business operates, it enables more effective, tailored strategies and solutions, and is particularly useful for companies looking to tailor their offerings or value proposition to meet the specific needs of their customers, or for consultants aiming to provide targeted advice and solutions. In an age where customer-centric approaches are key to competitive advantage, mastering the Business Model Canvas can be a significant step toward building stronger, more successful customer relationships.