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Sell More as a Strategy

And How It Works?

I had a great talk with my customer some time ago. This company has grown for several decades through downturns and upturns. Their strategy has been very clear and precise: “Sell more”.

The solid foundation of the company had been in customer’s need. Founder of the company had always been keen to understand customers business and their everyday processes. The focus of this company was a customer. But since the founder was not in charge anymore, the focus started to fade.

Technological innovations and improvements started to play the main role, replacing customer. If you looked the history of the company, there had been technical innovations all the way. But always there was a close link to satisfy customer’s need. “Sell more” strategy was in a danger of being misunderstood.

The ground for getting your strategy rock starts when creating the strategy. The bottleneck number one lie in the purpose strategy gives for your customers and your organization, for your employees. In the end it is up to them whether the strategy gets implemented or not. What’s in it for them?

C as Customer

Unfortunately many companies nowadays say that customers are in the center point of their strategy without really given a tangible meaning to it. Customer need doesn’t work as an icing of a cake where it never should be placed.

Bringing customer in the center of the strategy you’ll need three core elements:

  • Customer Value Drivers – What are the most relevant motives for the customer when choosing a product/service in your industry? What is the role of each motive in customer decision making?

  • Competitive advantages - Where can you create most value? Which of these customer value drivers you can turn into your competitive advantages?

  • Competitiveness – What you already have to build on? What else you need to create new competitive advantages? What you need to give up?

This process clarifies the value of your strategy and it will lead to concrete implementation already from the very beginning. But why would anyone in your organization engage?

E as Employee

Since the days of patriots in western world providing their employees decent living are gone, only the shareholder value hardly motivates people to work fully. Why would anyone in your organization engage? What gives your employees the purpose of the work?

Studies show that 60 % of middle managers don’t understand the grounds or content of company’s strategy. This is due to at least two factors:

  • Middle managers are not involved in the strategy process.

  • Strategies are not enough down to earth giving concrete tools to see your own input in the implementation.

While responsible of the strategy in Caverion Finland I involved everyone in the organization, about 2.500 people, in the process. Actually plumbers, electrician etc. were involved first since they are working closest with customers.

Open up your strategy process and give it a thought: who are the most important people implementing the strategy? First, your customers that are willing to open their wallet. Second, your employees that are willing to produce superior customer value, your competitive advantages, for your customers. The role of the management team and the owners is to ensure the organization has everything it needs to work this through.

In my experience there are not many people refusing to improve or change their performance when they see the effect of that in the customer value. That creates a purpose.

C as Competitive Advantages

Customers decide whether you succeed in the market or not. They decide in the long run what your margins are by judging the value you can create. And that value is not only in tangible, but more and more in intangible values. In the end all the decisions are made by emotion, and explained by ratio.

When you start your strategy process by analyzing what are the most relevant motives for the customer when choosing a product/service in your industry, you are able to decide which of these customer value drivers you can turn into your competitive advantages.

The link from the customer value drivers to competitive advantages is your people. This needs to be concrete, tangible. Messua, an event company, has decide to create HIT for their customers – H as Helppous (Easyness), I as Idea (Idea) and T as Tulokset (Results). Every investment made needs to create HIT for customers. Everyone working for the company has created concrete list of improvements in his or her work to be able to build HIT. Every time people have to make quick decisions they ask if this is HIT for the customer.

No, this does not happen by just creating nice words and telling people. People, your customers and employees, must get involved before and after creating the strategy, because your strategy is not ready until it has been implemented. Your strategy is rocking when the competitive advantages you decided to choose, are the reason why your customers choose your company.

“Sell More” as a strategy

“Sell more” – is a great strategy when it involves your customers and when there is the foundation of customer value drivers that everyone in the company are aware of. It is a great strategy when everyone in the company knows what they need to do and what they can do to create more value for customer. “Sell more” is a great strategy when both customers and employees understand why sell more.

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