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. During the forming phase of the journey much that is learned about these verticals should to be applied to this evaluation. The company may not be able to move as quickly as we first hoped, or, now that we have some experience, markets that initially seemed important seem less so. Also, with some success under our belts, we may be able to go after more jugular markets that better impact the broader organization. An example of one participation strategy (over simplified for brevity’s sake) could be – “we want to develop meaningful revenue in 100 accounts in Northern Europe that are currently non-accounts for us” or “for our top 100 accounts in North America in the construction vertical, we want to increase our penetration by 32% and become the partner of choice for our vertical offerings.”
As you can see, the participation strategy gives guidance to the effort, but would be unable to direct the HOW (outside of Intimacy Engine of course). The HOW is developed as you create the portfolio to fulfill the strategy. This effort is often minimized or overlooked entirely.
Like all things, it is important to know where you are going.
The next effort is to determine the market opportunities. This requires expertise in the market to truly complete this task. Also, this quality of information is rarely gathered through traditional market focused efforts (mainly because asking customers what they want, by definition, limits their view of their business). So, how is this accomplished? A three-dimensional point of view of the market, including what is driving it (what will drive it), & what true issues are being faced (and will be faced), must be developed. This post won’t delve into the output views that this effort creates, but we can discuss some of the sources of information.
– Interview the consulting firms that have meaningful sway in the market and glean their views of today and tomorrow.
– Visit universities that have centers dedicated to subsections of the market to gain insight into what they think and how it’s being received.
– Conduct internet research on key topics driving issues in the market
– Determine likely areas of interest, the experience you have gained, and seek out the experts in the businesses that work on those areas to gain an understanding of the business model drivers and cutting-edge ideas being discussed.
Next, drive this information through a process of determining the following:
– Create a solid document (more visual the better) of the business flows, its drivers, opportunities, and hurdles. We call these the Market Landscape. It should be shopped and edited by taking it to the key players in the market for validation and adding depth and reality.
– Develop some opinions as to who is best situated to take advantage of the opportunities identified in the Market Reality and build visuals comparing them, with support for why we think this. We call this the competitive landscape. This should not be shopped, but it will assist in how you target accounts.
– Build the opportunities matrix. This will include: above the safety line opportunities (Intimacy Only Opportunities), pull through opportunities, and opportunities that don’t fit you, but that you need to be aware of.
– Move the opportunities through the idea evaluation model we have discussed before. This includes things like ability to deliver, fit in broader strategy, size of opportunities, etc.
– Valuation of opportunities – build a financial model of the opportunities, including intimacy impact (i.e., ability to pull through additional products and services) and absorption rates.
Now stop and determine where you are.
– Do you have a real understanding of the market?
– Do you have meaningful opportunities?
– Can you go forward and build a portfolio point of view?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, go back to the market understanding step and repeat until you have true opportunities and unique ideas that can differentiate your business.