One of the first questions we get is “Where in our business would this apply?” It’s a good question – because in many corporations, multiple customer engagement models co-exist in support of various parts of the portfolio – and will continue to do so. To answer the question, it helps to think about the nature … Continue reading “Where Does Customer Intimacy Apply in Your Business?”
Linkages are pre-planned connections from one offering that pulls through the next offering. The connections are made by carefully pre-planned and executed sales activities. Of course in reality, linkages do not begin at the end of one project and end at the beginning of the next. Linkages are positioning activities that take place during the initial sales process and during projects. The positioning may not only be related to the next project in the Service Chain, but also can be made with regard to the entire Service Chain.
When developing Service Chains™ it is important to evaluate their business value and your ability to implement them in the market. At McMann & Ransford, we recommend tracking the following criteria to help foster customer intimacy:
Let’s take some time and discuss the power of ideas and their importance as the central component of a True Solutions™. Good ideas facilitate the road to true customer intimacy.
A solution is the embodiment of an idea – and how the idea can be realized. The idea is the kernel of the change in the relationship from pushing products and discussing business opportunities. Often conversations that are supposed to be about solutions are really about how to better use our products and get more bang for the buck in our relationship; these are valuable issues but not True Solutions™ discussions.
In the simplest sense, marketing has a direct role in market strategy, participation strategy, and enabling the success. Because of their unique role and perspective on the business, marketing owns or is heavily involved in the strategy of the business, and often drives the decision-making process of how to address commoditization issues.
Typically in the Form phase of the Customer Intimacy Journey, you will develop the initial True Solutions™ sets and take them to market. Like product development, a framework and process exists to define, develop and take your Solutions to market in a deliberate and defined manner. This building block is key to your Intimacy Engine™ success, so it is important to recognize early on what is different about developing True Solutions™ compared to typical product development.
So what is different?
During the first stage of the Customer Intimacy Journey it is important to create and deliver solutions that have a visible impact with your clients.
As you know, terms like “solutions” and “customer intimacy” are overused in the management consulting industry, and I believe often mean too little. In this blog, we’ll try to distinguish our thoughts with not-so-clever use of the terms True Solutions™ and Intimacy Engine™. I want to talk about what True Solutions™ are and how it is crucial to the building of the Intimacy Engine™ business model.
Anything worth doing is, by definition, challenging and requires fortitude. How do you keep the organization focused and maintain the momentum?
Let’s keep in mind that companies have difficulty focusing for long periods of time and (like children) want immediate gratification. Therefore you and those who are like minded must be responsible for getting them on the journey and keeping them on the path.
We work with many new practices that include: people from our clients’ legacy businesses; consultants with vertical expertise that are recent hires; and other new hires that might sell solutions. While they each have been successful in their own careers and think they know how to build customer intimacy, in practice it is often a challenge to get the group to work together effectively.
As we mentioned earlier there will be natural forces within the company that will work against its success – normal, but they can be destructive, as we see in many public cases of organizational transformation attempts.
Internecine warfare is a common reaction when you set about changing your business model. It’s not simply a go-to-market adjustment. When building a customer intimacy business model, their are several unique attributes that cannot, and must not, be compromised: