When we are asked to help the Exec set strategy we ask these questions:
Why does your business exist?
Irrespective of market sector, delivering value to customers must be the prime purpose of any company, yet many organisations struggle to differentiate or communicate their true value to the outside world.
Outcome: understand and set out the (true) purpose of the company and its markets.
Who are your Customers?
A truly customer-centric organisation knows their customer segments. Some organisations are service-oriented rather than sales-led, or have a variety of customers, but nevertheless each needs to understand its customers’ personas and clearly communicate its purpose, and the value it gives each group.
Outcome: Understand and document the current customer base and then identify and understand each sector, so that it can be dominated.
What are your Products, and Product Benefits?
It is a fundamental rule of marketing and sales that customers are typically more interested in benefits as opposed to the technical details or features of a product. A company must understand the benefits of its products to customers (obvious… but so often ignored).
Outcome: Set out the product benefits - the value that customers realise from a product or service, in terms of needs, expectations, requirements and motivations.
What is the value your business sells?
The results of a company’s efforts to create value are measured in the customers’ perception of that product’s value. Customer value is all about subjective perceptions, which can only be influenced, not controlled.
Outcome: understand the particular drivers of value for this market.
How do you know that your organisation is creating customer value?
All organisational activity should be about generating value for its customers. But few people in the team are able to define ‘value’ as something that’s actually meaningful in the context of an initiative or a customer.
Outcome: understand the drivers of value to the customer, for the company’s products in the market.
How do you succeed at selling?
Most companies know what they are selling, but many have no clue why their customers are their customers, and what factors determine if they buy or not. The reality is that most businesses today are making decisions based on a set of incomplete or, worse, completely flawed assumptions about what’s driving their business.
Outcome: a clear view of "what affects what", so that it can tell how one factor influences another.
How do you currently set and amend strategic direction?
Successful leaders understand that if their organisation is to grow in the long term, they can't stick with a "business as usual" mindset, even when things are going well. They need to find new ways to increase profits and reach new customers.
Outcome: Revisit the company vision and mission statements to lay out a destination; that destination guides the strategy; and strategy directs action.
Create the Strategy
A strategy statement communicates three key aspects of the business (objective, scope and competitive advantage) to its employees to help them best execute their roles (and keep the revenue flowing in).
- Business strategy – markets, products & customers
- Digital, data and technology strategy – key enabling and compliance matters
- Ecosystem strategy - how the organisation will survive and thrive in a dynamic network.
Measure the Value Delivered
Goals, objectives and action plans are needed to execute the strategy, activate the mission and achieve the vision. This is how the company purpose is implemented.
- Goals – milestones in the process of implementing the strategy
- Objectives – turn a goal’s general statement of what is to be accomplished into a specific, quantifiable, time-sensitive statement of what is going to be achieved and when it will be achieved
- Action Plans – the portfolio of programmes needed to embed the revised operating model, to evolve leadership & culture, and to execute for the desired outcome.
- Tracked value delivered – stops the initiative running out of support, because no on can esee the ROI.
Strategy on its own can only take you so far. You must actively address all four points below - we show you how.
Strategy – give clarity on corporate purpose and then a credible vision, roadmap and plan, which are then tracked to prove the value which results (one of the fundamental flaws of most strategies).
Leadership & Culture – Ready the organisation for success through board-alignment and a cross-functional, people-centric approach.
Change and Transformation – Execute effectively and create breakthrough value by building future business and technology capability.
Organisational Agility – Embed an adaptive operating model and sustainable ways of working, to evolve and thrive.
This article only comments on setting the strategy; other posts cover the other capabilities that every company must succeed at.