• Audience services with insight
  • Proposition development with impact
  • Delivery with integrity
  • For sustainable relationships that last

Why buy more?

How a global conferencing service provider reversed negative growth by listening to and acting on stakeholder sentiment.

Issues

Senior management were chiefly concerned about the stories they were hearing from sales about customer losses, in particular:
  • Competition stealing customers on price at renewal
  • Failure to win international and global contract upgrades
  • Profitability in decline due to sales departure from rate card
The new CMO had further observations, which he had gathered anecdotally, but had insufficient bandwidth to explore fully on his own, namely:
  • Global marketing capability with regional autonomy suffering from lack of central management
  • Sales filling in on own initiative where marketing lead absent
  • Product development acting without reference to customer needs or demands plus a lack of competitive response
  • Monolithic service offering
  • Reactive customer services in response to customer pressure 

Objectives

Following initial investigations, the agreed remit was to explore and develop a single, consistent and resonant brand narrative to govern behaviour, working practices and decision-making in sales, marketing, development, customer services and operations.

  • Position the company in a highly competitive (commoditised) market
  • Determine and document a fresh total value proposition
  • Answer the simple question: “Why should our customers buy (more) from us”?

Programme

The programme harnessed a number of consultative devices in order to create an accurate and quantifiable view of precisely where the company stood in relation to the perceptions and aspirations of all its stakeholders and the operational reality.

  • Cross-function internal interviews (all territories, functions and levels of responsibility from board down to sales exec)
  • Competitive outreach and analysis (involving desk research, market analysts and anonymous sales interviews of key competitors)
  • Customer interviews (all territories, range of buying influence, range of service deployment)
  • Global sales survey
  • Marcomms audit
  • Technology and Service workshops (defining and unbundling existing offering)
  • Documenting perception – aspiration – reality gaps and their implications on the brand and on operations
  • Researching and applying total cost of ownership and total economic influence concepts to global conferencing services
  • Developing and originating sales readiness content and distribution
  • Market research (trend-watching discipline, adding expert voice and opinion forming)
  • Structured messaging

Output

Results of investigations and documented output was extensive, as it needed to cater for the information needs of a range of decision makers and operational teams.
  • Documented brand narrative
    • Brand character
    • Values
    • Value proposition
  • Audience analysis and understanding
    • Buying cycle and path to purchase (cv. sales cycle)
    • Buying influences
    • Information needs
    • Triggers
    • Ideal customer profile
  • Sales attrition and churn analysis and recommendations
  • Sales readiness
    • Global sales eduction programme
    • Objection handling
    • Messaging
  • Value grid
    • Mapping appropriate messages for each offering cycle onto buying cycle
  • PAR gap analysis, implications and recommendations

Action

With a holistic view and cross-disciplinary consensus, including boardroom buy-in to the investigation and its findings, a number of longer term programmes were implemented in order to realign the organisation around the aspirations of its customers:
  • Customer services reorganisation
  • Centralised strategic marketing function with local delivery
  • Service unbundling and re-packaging
  • Reinforced product management (change of emphasis from product to proposition management)
  • Quality/process review for service implementation with unified best practices
  • Sales objection handling training and sales readiness programme
  • Product(s) strategic review and portfolio overhaul
  • Customer centricity programme

Success

By putting strategic marketing at the heart of the organisation, the company has forged an operational integrity that gives purpose and direction to the whole company. The knock-on effects of this are cultural, governing behaviour at all levels, providing motivation and team interactions where they previously did not exist. The impact overall of focussing on understanding and creating better customer experiences is better customer relationships, more reliable revenue streams and greater profitability.

  • Better targeting, higher conversion rates, reduced customer churn
  • Higher quality service
    • Easier to sell, implement and manage
    • Lower cost of maintenance
  • More predictable choices and better customers expectation management
  • Translating belief and credibility into a tangible offering

 

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Why do acquisitions fail?

The single most often stated factor is poor integration. Where solutions exist, they vary, but most place the effort post-acquisition. So you might ask, all that financial due diligence and legal effort to define the asset and agree a valuation is worth what?

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