Successful implementation of customer-facing strategies has as much to do with the organizational fit of the new strategy, and the roles to be played in implementing it, as it does with the quality of the strategy.
New customer-facing strategies sometime represent radically different ways of addressing and bringing products and services to customers. They almost always challenge existing routes to customer or the roles those routes play.
In our experience, the way these strategies get implemented is the executive leader tells a group of managers, often those who have developed the strategy, to “make it so.” That directive is accompanied by two things: the resources called for in a plan, and an organizational announcement. What ensues in such situations is substantial effort being devoted to coaxing, cajoling, bullying or forcing a fit of the strategy into the existing organization. Sometimes, because resistance is expected to be so high, companies create whole new organizations, with separate management and reporting structures, to implement the strategy. In either case, significant resources are expended.
We believe that preparing for implementation of new customer-facing strategies must begin as soon as a strategy is thought to be potentially viable. Our work with clients is focused on what we see as a change leadership challenge. We help clients:
- Clearly articulate what the result of successful implementation, and its impact on the organization, would be
- Create broad-based buy-in by identifying the full range of people who would need to be involved in implementing the strategy and defining meaningful ways for them to participate in its development without interfering or impeding development progress
- Define organizational roles and management and accountability systems to support successful implementation
- Develop people, process and technology aspects of the implementation plan
This kind of preparation work is an essential part of any strategy development and planning effort. It is designed to raise the likelihood of successful strategy implementation and ties directly to the more detailed people, process and technology work that is needed.
Implementing complex Go-to-Market strategies: Two Companies, One Joint Solution
Strategic relationships between companies are often an important part of their go-to-market strategies. Companies combine product and service offerings to create end-to-end solutions for customers. Marketing, and sometimes sales efforts for these solutions tend to be joint, with each partner providing funding and other resources. Among the challenges of such relationships is how to measure the effectiveness of these joint efforts.
We worked with two leading firms who had been pursuing joint go-to-market activities for some time. Logically, the strategy was sound and management had a "sense" that it was working, but efforts to quantify how it was working had been spotty, at best, in the U.S. and were a significant challenge in an emerging region of the world.
In order to assess each company’s current capabilities, measurement systems and attitudes about measurement we interviewed over 50 people across the two companies at both the regional level and in each of two countries. Functions interviewed included; Country general management, sales management, sales, partner organization, marketing and contact center. In each country 2 distribution partners were also interviewed.
A number of themes and issues which contributed to the measurement challenge were identified. Many of these had to do with the lack of clear, cross functional roles & responsibilities between marketing and the various sales organizations (sales, contact center, partners). In both companies one of the biggest issues was that marketing would execute programs and campaigns without first engaging sales to make sure those programs and campaigns would address a sales need. In the absence of that engagement, no agreements existed for sales lead follow-up.
A core team of people from each company took up the list of issues and prioritized them using a framework we developed. The priorities which emerged served as the basis for the process, roles and measurements “solution straw” we developed and used for the balance of the engagement.
A workshop, involving marketing, sales, contact center, partner and service organization personnel was created. In addition to specific work on the process, roles and measurements, exercises were used to both demonstrate the issues the team was trying to address and develop strategies for implementing the solutions they defined.
The last day of the workshop was devoted to two areas. First, identifying how the measurements, which had been defined and prioritized, could be implemented within the systems of both companies. Second, specific commitments for implementation of all aspects of the workshop results were made by all participants.
This engagement resulted in:
- A common marketing and sales process framework which could be implemented in both companies
- The outline of roles & responsibilities necessary to make the process work
- Measurements, throughout the process, as well as specifics about where the data to make the measurements meaningful would need to come from
- Practical implementation steps, identified by the team, as well as a template to jump start implementation
The client reported trackable, tangible results from programs/campaigns implemented using the new process, roles and measurements developed as well as a set of key learnings from the initial steps of implementation.