Calibrate your key commercial process and achieve additional revenues

Companies are daily on the hunt for extra revenues. By calibrating your commercial organisation (people, processes and methodologies) you are guaranteed to not only increase you revenues by double digits, but you will also improve you customer satisfaction scores. This approach is applicable to any company with a commercial process, whether you are a newly purchased portfolio company of an investment firm, a division of a larger company, or a standalone company.

[highlight]Does this sound familiar?

“no matter what we do, we just can’t achieve our growth targets and we are continually losing market share”

“our sales people focus on high volume but low margin sales”

“marketing are not providing the correct leads and are just not pro-active enough”

“we have a ’one size fits all’ approach, we are just not hitting the mark”

“we have ineffective segmentation and are not going after our best possible customers”

“our website is not part of our go to market approach”

“we have no idea how much it costs to serve our targeted customer segments”

“we hardly cross-sell or up-sell”

“we don’t use the data we have on our customers in an effective manner”

“we are in the dark about the customer journey and have no idea which channel is most effective and when”

“marketing points at sales and sales at marketing when discussing failed targets” [/highlight]

Our experience with many companies has shown that the root of slow or stalled growth can be traced back to the following:

  • Ineffective segmentation and customer prioritisation.
    Is the company focussing on the right customer segments with the right value proposition?
  • An incomplete go-to-market model.
    Are the correct resources aligned to consistently deliver the right value proposition?
  • Lacking in Marketing and Sales capability.
    Are sales and marketing performing well and set up to work together?

Now let’s examine each of these in further detail.

Customer segmentation and prioritisation.

Many companies find it difficult to know how to identify segments, to discover what makes them different and to ascertain which customers would be most promising and should therefore be allocated a higher priority.

Key issues we observe are:

  • Allocating the same resources to all segments
  • A lack of understanding the unique needs per segment
  • A misalignment of unique messages for those unique needs
  • Every touchpoint gives equal prioritisation and weighting to every request.

Suggested action:

Customer segments can be defined by analysing historical sales and marketing data and conducting external research. Specific needs per segment can be uncovered by using direct voice-of-customer feedback, insights from sales and service teams and motivational market research to uncover user and buyer persona’s.

The company value propositions to each segment is overlaid upon the segments’ need. Based on the potential value of each segment combined with the cost and difficulty of serving them will give rise to those segments which should be accorded the highest priority.

Go to market model:

Once segments have been defined and prioritised, the real work starts: how to allocate resources to reach these segments. Questions to be answered can be as diverse as: What capabilities are need to deliver my value proposition to each segment? How do I align these services across my organisation? When should I use inside sales, when should I use my website or content? How should I allocate account management?

Suggested action:

Developing the optimal go to market model requires full alignment of the marketing, sales and service functions to deliver the right value proposition to the most attractive customer segments. Analyse the options across sales (inside and outside), distributors, partners and others to determine how to maximise value at every customer touchpoint. This requires a deep understanding of the optimal marketing, sales and delivery cycle. How leads are nurtured and by whom. What are the exact handover points and which specific skills, expertise, communication and delivery capabilities are needed to adjust these processes to maximise value.

Sales and Marketing capability:

Once you have your go to market plan, you need to make sure you have the right people, skills, processes and methodologies in place to ensure maximum effectiveness and results. Typical questions here are:  Is the sales team equipped for acquisition and retention? Does marketing have the ability to uncover hot prospects? Hoe does marketing support sales? How does sales feed information back to marketing? What incentive are in place? What type of training, education or onboarding is needed? How do we measure performance?

Suggested action:

Evaluating the key commercial process is the first stage of establishing sales and marketing capabilities, this includes mapping commercial processes to determine where specific interactions take place between teams to find, engage, close and support new and existing customers. This analysis will also feed into solidifying job requirements for various team positions. The second stage is mapping the customer journey onto the key commercial process. This will give rise to inconsistences, and will allow refinement of sales enablers to ensure sales teams receive the best support possible from marketing. Finally steps 1 and 2 will provide solid input for the best possible compensation scheme required, key performance indicators to monitor success, systems and tools to facilitate the customer management process, and HR support for recruiting, hiring, onboarding and continuous training.

CONCLUSION: whilst no two companies are ever the same, our experience shows that a step by step calibration of your key commercial process always adds significant value to your company

Joan Willemse is partner at BusinessBuilding. BusinessBuilding helps companies to maximise their revenues by calibrating their key commercial process. 

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