Connectivity and Talent
Connectivity across the customer touching functions of marketing, sales and service to create a revenue ecosystem that better serves the 24/7 customer. At the 2021 Executive Forum, we heard about four ways to build the desired connectivity.
- Appointing a single leader, a top customer-touching functions in charge of revenue growth.
- Single revenue operations team charged with serving multiple customer touching functions to ensure programs are harmonized across organization boundaries.
- Metrics and compensation as a powerful means to drive consistent, team-oriented behavior.
- Shared digital platforms and tools so that customer touching functions all see the same customer information.
And what it’s going to take to attract and keep the talent needed to grow revenue in a world where the customer dictates the terms. Employees want to be heard. They want an opportunity to express their ideas about what works and what does not. And they want to be able to do this easily and not feel threatened in the process.
Today’s workers want to be part of an organization that is connected to something bigger than commerce. For a business to thrive, it must also attract the kind of talent that can win the hearts of the 24/7 customer. Such talent wants to be a part of a company that cares deeply about the customer and the community.
Hello. Gary Tubridy here, Senior Vice President of the Alexander Group, with topline findings from our 2021 virtual executive forum. Lorie Harmon of NetApp said it well when she recalled that members of each of these functions were seeking allies in adjacent functions to reach and exceed customer expectations at each stage of the journey. Tiffani Bova of Salesforce explained that this is because the customer does not care about how their vendors are organized, they simply want to see one company that is serving their best interests. We heard about four ways to build the desired connectivity.
The first is by appointing a single leader atop the customer touching functions in charge of revenue growth. Sometimes this is called the chief revenue officer, sometimes the chief commercial customer officer. Their job, harmonize programs, policies and behaviors across functional boundaries so customers see only one company. Now, sometimes it’s difficult to appoint a single revenue leader, so harmonization of policies and programs must be driven another way. And we saw many cases where a single revenue operations team was charged with serving multiple customer touching functions to ensure programs are harmonized across organization boundaries. Chris MacDonald, head of AI and Analytics and Digital Transformation Solutions at PTC, had this to say on the subject, our ultimate goal is to create an integrated view. We want to anticipate customer needs at different points. We want to align our offerings optimally and reduce frictions. And we want to minimize the pain buying and understand how they’re using our products. We want to see where they have issues and how we can make it easier. This all gives us a view of our customers and how they are relating to PTC. At PTC operations drives cross functional connectivity by looking at the customer first. Central to such programs are metrics and compensation.
We heard many examples of how revenue goals were assigned across all three customer touching functions, and were baked into incentive compensation programs too. Revenue might be weighted more heavily in the sales function, but its presence in managing expectations and perhaps compensation in marketing and service was viewed as a powerful means to drive consistent team-oriented behavior. Last, we saw how many best practice companies are driving toward shared digital platforms and tools so that customer touching functions all see the same customer information. And, these functions share in the latest activities and updates so that their actions can be calibrated.
A quote from the September 2021 edition of the Harvard Business Review sums up the impact of digital technology on their revenue function well. Giving employees the time and space to double down on the tasks humans are best equipped to handle, connecting with other humans, using empathy to understand problems and ingenuity to solve them, could enable them to create considerably more value than they did in their original roles. Doing digital right enables and empowers the revenue team to deliver great customer experiences.
Which brings us to our last topic, talent. Of course, there was discussion of the millennials who make up about half of our workforce and are reputed to be hard to please. Add in the pressures applied by the pandemic, and there are lots of questions about what it’s going to take to attract and keep the talent needed to grow revenue in a world where the customer dictates the terms. Two of our speakers, Warren Stone of Ortho Clinical Diagnostics and Tara Jaye Frank, noted DEI strategist and author, spoke on some depth of this topic and both pointed to research that suggests what workers in marketing, sales and service value most. Yes, the employees value things like compensation and reasonable workload. And yes, they attach some importance to work life balance and the ability to work remotely. But what these speakers told us was that, while these items are important, three other factors rate even higher. Many of you will recognize them.
Employees indicate that they want to be heard. They want an opportunity to express their ideas about what works and what does not. And they want to be able to do this easily and not feel threatened in the process. And they want to see that their input matters, that it is valued. The best way to do that, of course, is to put the best ideas into action. Last, not surprisingly, employees want to be recognized for their efforts, for their ideas. This could be a simple call out, some form of public recognition. It could mean money. It could be both, but recognition matters.
Without these three fundamentals, all the remote work in the world is not going to make a difference in finding and retaining talent. But there is one more thing. Today’s workers want to be part of an organization that is connected to something bigger than commerce. Of course, it’s understood that growth and profit are necessary for a thriving business. But for a business to thrive, it must also attract the kind of talent that can win the hearts of the 24/7 customer. Such talent wants to be a part of a company that cares deeply about the customer and the community. This is frequently manifested in how companies define their mission, where there are so many great examples, such as Warren Stone at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. We improve and save lives with diagnostics, because every test is a life. Today’s talent cares about what their employers actually do and stand for. Businesses that pay attention to this and care about customers and community as more than just transactions will have a powerful tool to attract the talent they need to thrive and hypercompetitive times.
Many of the companies cited in this video have a long history of success. I hope you’ll join us in our Forum series in 2022, where we’ll explore the characteristics of companies that delivered such enduring success, companies that survive and thrive consistently over time without regard to economic tailwinds or turbulence. Alexander Group has identified a short list of organizations that have led the pack in growth over the past 20 years, despite recessions, political turmoil and pandemics. In 2022, we’ll explore what makes such enduring leaders tick. Join us in the Leadership Series to learn more about the management principles that these companies follow. There will be three major events, Women Revenue Leaders Forum, April 18th and 19th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, the Operations Forum on August 15th and 16th, also at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago and the Executive Forum November 16, 17 and 18 at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort at Dana Point, California. I look forward to seeing you there.