an inspirational leader who is hugely respected for his ability to drive the best from his staff, listen to customer requirements and change the status quo. He completely transformed how the Marketing, Analytics, Products and Services departments work, which allowed every team to over-achieve targets and still realise significant efficiencies.”

Global Head of Client Services

THE CHALLENGE

A successful software company with several thousand customers had no differentiated approach to how it managed these clients. The software it provided had a universal appeal so its customer base included both SMEs and large multinationals and everything in between. It’s client approach was uniform – and as such it was unable to deliver higher levels of service and focus to its larger, more strategic customers.

THE APPROACH

Step 1: Try something different. The first point on the journey was to establish that – even though this was a company with several years of growth and commercial success – it had to adapt its approach as it evolved. This message was sold in at Board level and across the management teams in the company.

Step 2: Create a team. The concept was that a greater focus on a very limited number of strategic clients would deliver far greater value for these clients. At the same time it would lead to growth of these strategic accounts. This approach would require a specific type of individual – ones who on the one hand had enough experience, gravitas and know-how to be able to build a real understanding of the client business model and their present and future requirements. At the same time, these individuals would need to be able to translate this knowledge into  solutions which would  meet and exceed these requirements. Two senior individuals with both technical and commercial skills were hand-picked to get the ball-rolling.

Step 3: Set the targets. As this was a completely new endeavour, there was no precedent available for setting targets. We decided to apply a number of different measures – revenue targets around customer retention and customer new business. At the same time targets were set for the team on bringing innovation ideas into the company – based on their in-depth client knowledge. Similarly, they were expected to create proposal both for new products and for new commercial partnerships.

Step 4: Learn as you go. We agreed early on that – given how new this approach was – that the targets and progress would be reviewed and, if necessary, revised as we learnt lessons.

The outcomes were over-achievement of revenue targets (both for retained and new business) in the first year and in the two subsequent years. Net Promoter scores improved for the targeted clients. New product ideas were put before the company and new partnerships introduced.