As a Commercial Director, you are accountable for ensuring the growth of your business by effectively developing new, and existing, customer relationships. You will achieve this by continuously enhancing your capabilities in the areas of sales, marketing and innovation. Building strong customer relationships and data driven insight is likely to be key to effective segmentation of your customers and building a deep understanding of their specific needs. It will also allow you to fully understand the ever-changing competitive landscape. This critical knowledge will allow your organisation to consistently deliver on all of your customer’ expectations for today, while rapidly preparing to enhance your competitive edge and meet their needs of tomorrow.
Ultimately, your success is likely to be judged on the sales performance of the products or customers within your span of control. To sustainably achieve this however, you must continuously evaluate and improve the end-to-end customer experience. This incorporates all activities and touch points from initial contact, the sales process, product delivery and customer support throughout the product lifecycle. The commercial functions are typically those closest to the customer meaning you will have a critical role to play in ensuring that the rest of the organisation is informed of, and aligned to, changing customer needs and expectations.
The most effective commercial directors will also be measuring and striving for profitability, not just top-line revenue growth. As well as adopting a clear pricing strategy, they will continuously seek ways in which the sales and marketing functions can reduce complexity and waste for the whole organisation.
The most common challenges we typically identify are with an organisation’s inability to align their people, purpose, principles and processes to the pursuit of improving the customer experience, while relentlessly driving out waste.
We commonly find disconnects in:
- Developing a clear strategy that clearly articulates the product and customer segment priorities. This allows for a deep understanding of target customer needs, effective resource allocation and clear strategic planning.
- Implementing the strategy to effectively transform the processes, behaviours and culture of the organisation. Change is hard. Many organisations fail to align the right leadership behaviours, processes, communication strategy and governance to make it stick.
- Transforming the New Product Development (NPD) and Innovation process to support enhancement of the customer experience and significant reduction in waste. While most organisations have some form of Stage-Gate process for new product development, few have a lean and powerful process that repeatedly produces error free products, with minimal waste and a development lead time that helps to win new business.
- Dealing with product and customer complexity. As organisations grow, the product portfolio typically expands, creating the potential for significant waste and complexity across a business’s operations. This can be particularly painful in relatively low margin industries but the effect can often be seen in all businesses. As well as ensuring that pricing reflects the true cost-to-serve, the commercial functions’ play a critical role in helping to phase out loss making products and adopt practices that encourage standardisation, modularisation and economies of scale.
- Developing an effective process and culture in Project Management. Project Management is a key vehicle through which change happens. The commercial functions will often be responsible for managing an array of projects in capability development, digital transformation, marketing campaigns and new product development. Speedy and accurate delivery of projects requires effective project management process and behaviours across the organisation. When there is a gap in this capability, it is a common cause of failed product launches or campaigns, customer complaints, excessive development lead times and high costs.
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If you can identify with any of the issues above, why not contact us today to learn more about how Pico can help you to grow your business by enhancing the customer experience, while relentlessly driving out waste.