“Why haven’t we won new business from X client in the last 6 months? ”
“What’s our “share of wallet” with Company X? How can we increase it? “
“What should we invest in? Account management support or a customer event programme?“
Increasingly I’m delivering business strategy and research based projects where clients want answers to these and similar questions. I’m working on some of these assignments with Nikki Shepperd an old friend and colleague from my time in O2 and BT.
We’ve created a research, insight generation and recommendation methodology (must come up with a snappy name!) to assist B2B clients understand how different elements of their value proposition compare to their key competitors. With their clients, we discuss everything from the sales / bid process, products, account management, service delivery through to on-going customer service and reporting & analytics.
Here are a few key observations to consider if you are a B2B organisation seeking answers to the questions above :-
- Get support from your leadership team / board to action the work as the value proposition insights and recommendations will impact all departments in your organisation.
- Don’t rely on quantitative surveys emailed to key decision makers to provide sufficient insight to take operational improvement actions. It’s important to commission qualitative value proposition research “to get behind the numbers”.
- Perception is dynamic and changes rapidly. Clients are influenced by reference networks and personal experience of how companies sell, market and deliver service to them. We recommend that you action this work at least once a year.
- The best firms we know, use the insight and recommendations to help determine investment decisions as part of their planning and budgeting schedule. Which elements of the value proposition to spend more on this year? Where to spend less?
- The most objective, honest and valuable “voice of the customer” feedback is collected by independent partners on a company’s behalf, not by internal research teams.
Doing the work and preparing proposals got me thinking why do clients choose us? What is our value proposition? We think it boils down to 3 main points:-
Value proposition experts – Between us, Nikki and I have 40 years combined experience operationally delivering successful customer value propositions in a variety of Consumer and Business sectors and geographies
Business leaders – Both of us have worked in senior operational roles for many years. We are therefore familiar with discussing service quality with senior directors, quickly get to the heart of issues and are able to interview in a non-linear, non-prescribed fashion to extract key points
Practical, actionable & high impact results – “A research approach that leads to actionable recommendations which make a real operational difference”
If you would like more information on our research, insight generation and recommendation methodology or have any comments on this type of value proposition research, it would be great to hear from you.
Angus Mitchell is the founder of Athenic Consulting Limited based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire near London. Established in 2009, Athenic Consulting design and deliver winning marketing and sales solutions for firms of all sizes. They offer consultancy and interim marketing services to European clients including Sky, Google and Sepomo mobile payments. Prior to establishing Athenic Consulting, Angus worked in marketing roles in the UK, Italy, Spain and Sweden for brands including O2, BT, Ericsson, Genie mobile and Infinito.it. He also founded a specialist Italian wine company, Dodici.
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