Seeking Revenue Growth? Create A New Playbook for Customer EngagementNovember 23, 2020 | By Wayne O'Neill
Legendary NFL head coach Bill Walsh once made the statement, “If individuals who prevail in a high competitive environment have any one thing in common besides success, it is failure — and their ability to overcome it.”
Many firms that I work with are trying to win project scope in highly-competitive markets. In the meantime, revenue has plateaued or even declined. Eventually, business leaders will come to the realization that it’s time to pursue new business growth strategies to reverse the trend and get back on the offensive.
Here’s a good starting point when you reach this point: think differently about customer engagement. And, if you’re still following the old sales model of trying to win work based on price, then you need a completely new playbook for customer engagement.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to create a new playbook. You just need to know where to start and how to get your team to buy into a new approach to engaging with target customers.
Where to Start Creating a New Playbook
If you’ve watched sports for any period of time, you’ve watched teams or players begin to decline. The strategy that led to multiple championships isn’t working anymore. The players get older, the competition catches up, and teams start compromising their principles trying to maintain a previous level of success. You probably have a few teams or players in mind.
The same can be true of the construction and design game where old ways of engaging with customers are no longer effective. If you want to get back to your winning ways, you need to create the most effective playbook for today’s environment. Then, you need to teach your team how to execute the plays to increase your opportunity for success.
So, where to start? First, before you create a new playbook and implement new plays, you need to diagnose the current problem. Just like 99 percent of sports teams need to assess why they didn’t win the championship, you need to assess what’s holding back your firm.
- Are we pursuing the wrong clients?
- Are we not aligned with clients’ business and political issues?
- Are we talking to the wrong people in the organization?
- Are we not identifying the larger problem behind the problem?
- Are we not pursuing a collaborative approach to customer engagement?
- Are we limiting ourselves to a smaller solution?
Maybe you are pursuing smart clients. Maybe you are aligned with each client’s business and political issues. But, if you’re not leveraging intelligence from project/scope delivery partners (P/SDPs) or internal influencers, then you can’t effectively leverage your solution for value and impact. Then, you’re stuck playing the numbers game where you become just another firm bidding on project scope.
Or, perhaps you need to go all the way back at the beginning of identifying smart clients to pursue. This way, you’re not wasting valuable time engaging with clients that are not interested in leveraging you.
The key is to find that core problem — whether at the beginning, middle, or end of the customer engagement process — and be honest about how to address it. Then, once you identify the problem, you can work toward building a more effective playbook to support customer engagement.
What Should Be In Your Customer Engagement Playbook?
After you diagnose the problem, you may think you are ready to jump straight into creating a new playbook for customer engagement. Pause. Before you do that, it’s important to reset your thinking to focus on collaboration, not an individualistic approach.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would we risk losing project scope or giving up a cut of revenue by bringing in other partners? Because there is so much more opportunity for revenue growth through collaborative thinking. When you bring together multiple teams to create a more comprehensive solution to solve the larger problem for your client, you will be well-positioned to grab larger pieces of project scope.
Your new playbook for customer engagement starts with utilizing these connections to other companies to pull together information, resources, and client intelligence to get your arms around how to solve the client’s problem.
Think of a sports team that wants to pursue a new approach next season. They’re not going to approach a competitor in their league to share notes, so where else could they turn? They could engage a non-sports organization to crunch numbers and run analytics, pick the brain of coaches and general managers from teams in other sports, or talk to parties that have keen insight and perspective that can help team leaders think bigger about how to be successful. This should lead to a treasure trove of information to support decision-making. The same applies to your firm.
When you’re creating the playbook to support project scope creation for your firm, you need to keep track of all the intelligence you are gathering through your new collaborative approach. You should be sharing and collecting information from P/SDPs, vendors, customers, industry organizations, and other sources that can help you draw lines of connection between all parts of the information you collect.
When you have all the puzzle pieces together, then you can bring together relevant parties to share perspectives, identify the best possible connections, and lead you to identify the best possible solution to solve the problem for the customer. This is your new customer engagement playbook.
The next step is training your team on how to use the playbook to run new plays engaging with clients and partners in a collaborative environment.
Training Your Team on the New Customer Engagement Playbook
I’ll tell you right now that implementing a new playbook for customer engagement will lead to pushback from your team. They will want to run the old plays from the old playbook to engage with clients. But, if you’re going to grow revenue and be more successful in your market, then you need to keep pushing for using the new playbook.
Here’s a simple step to get the ball rolling training your team to think differently about customer engagement. Start with encouraging your team to ask themselves these basic questions:
- Is the client or project worth pursuing?
- Who are the influencers in the target organization?
- Do we have multiple paths of connection to gain a better understanding of the project?
- Who is already connected to the client to gather more intelligence?
- Who else is interested in working with us that we can leverage to create a comprehensive solution?
It starts with a basic question of examining whether a client is worth engaging. If the answer is no, then everything should stop. Your team should be trained to recognize whether a target customer is worth pursuing because they are interested in collaboration, or if you need to immediately exit because the company wants to create a bidding war. (I encourage you to find out more about how to train your team on this thinking.)
Your team should also understand how to answer the next questions in this progression of investigative questions before taking any action. Reinforcing this approach — and holding your team accountable — will help build the right habits for customer engagement.
It’s about establishing a disciplined approach to run new plays in the new playbook. This way, there is a sense of purpose to each customer activity. In other words, no wasted time or effort continuing to run plays that produce no results.
Once your team becomes proficient and efficient analyzing each opportunity through the lens of collaborative thinking, you will increase your chances of converting these opportunities into winning bids. The result is more revenue and more sustainable revenue.
Work with RESET to Build and Implement Your New Playbook
If your firm is not growing and you are thinking through business growth strategies, let’s have a conversation about resetting your approach to customer engagement.
Whether you need help identifying challenges, building a new playbook, or training your team on how to approach client engagement differently, we can help.
We utilize our proven methodology, The Connection Process, that leverages connections to create faster, more sustainable revenue. With it, your firm will grow in a more collaborative and intelligent way.
If you’re ready to start winning more project scope and larger pieces of scope, reach out to us today to discuss your firm’s challenges. We’re here to help facilitate change and support project scope creation.