In the previous entry, we discussed solution development as a process and shed some light on the intricacies needed to create a winning portfolio. Now let's look at the design of the portfolio itself:
The entry to the commercialization phase of the Customer Intimacy Journey requires a re-evaluation of your Market Participation Strategy. This deals with which markets, which geographies, and which accounts we are trying to impact. The answer, of course, will include several over time. Remember, companies live in verticals; understanding and expertise in those verticals are mandatory for success with them.
Here, we will discuss the importance of establishing a beachhead – a successful safe-place to expand into a market.
This is important for an early solution business and for any new market/customer segment you go after. You must focus early offers on the market exclusively – it is so easy to ignore the needs of the executives in your market - we call this getting above the safety line – and focus on the products or abilities you have now. We've seen firms struggle in the first year of their Customer Intimacy Journey because they did not create anything meaningful for the market.
Since it's so important to success, let's talk about messaging and the sales force. You must differentiate your business with clear messaging attributes which include:
- An Idea Selling™ storyboard
- Answers to key questions like:
- "Why" they should do this
- "How" they can do this
- "With whom" should they do this
The Idea Selling™ storyboard must be complete but concise. Glean out a 2-3 minute explanation of why examining the Idea is so important for the customer group - The Idea Statement. If the story takes 15 minutes to explain, it is by definition not messaged well, too complex, or too focused on your firm's capabilities, for this stage of your journey.
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 of a customer relationship when a Customer Intimacy Engine™ is in place: