Customer Focus and Profitability
Driving profitability is a complex puzzle, but fortunately, it is driven by a number of sensible and manageable processes.
Understand / Plan / Know
To advance, we must understand our current reality and what is driving it, from leadership direction and bias to habits to poor training, whatever is driving our current reality must be assessed. One great way to do this with us is with a Stages of Growth X-Ray. This understanding should be shared with every part of the team affected and every part of the team that can affect our future. The information provided may vary but for change to occur, the reality and the need for change must be understood at almost every level, from the perspectives of those who do the work.
We also need to understand our clients, their perspective, their perceived needs, their goals and direction. How can we serve a client if we don't know what they are trying to accomplish. Ask us about a Customer Assessment.
We need to know who our customers and contacts are and what activities are occurring. This can not be done with independent data clumps in outlook or our mobile phones. Customer Knowledge must be team knowledge or we are spinning our wheels. Big CRM is not required. Big anything is not necessarily required, especially in the industrial world. Basic, common sense tools are required.
We need a PLAN... or many be several plans. A Strategic Plan, developed at a senior level, is useless if it does not filter down to every aspect of the business. The reason why so many organizations fail is not because they can't plan, but because they don't execute the plan. The Strategic plan must lead to operational plans that can be understood by those who really do the work.
Equip / Inform / Train / Align
A baseball team is not really a baseball team if they don't have a bat to hit the ball. The people who are to execute the plan require the basic tools to do the job. Waiting until you can afford the Rolls Royce of tools is as ridiculous as actually saying, I'm not going to buy a car until I can afford a Rolls Royce. Get on with it.
Give your people the TOOLS, TRAINING and TRUST required to do the job today. Tomorrow, you can upgrade, though you probably won't need to.
e sure that every department is aligned toward accomplishing the same goals in the same way. If the sales team is targeted to expand the line and the warehouse is inscented to decrease the breadth of the line, you will never meet your growth goals.
Execute, Build Knowledge and Measure
Turn your team loose. Mistakes will occur, so will successes. The harder you try to control, the less will happen. Systemic, Constructive Chaos can be good state of control, in many cases.
Track interaction, opportunities, wins and more important loses. Understand the why of losses without exception. This understanding, though painful, drives wins.
Document every significant customer interaction without making the sales team, slaves to their computers.
Measure what needs to be measured but don't go measurement crazy or you risk PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS.