Transformation Pathway 4: Data-Driven Double-Down

by Abhik Sengupta

In this series on accelerating marketing & sales transformation, we’ve explored the key obstacles faced by enterprises today and outlined 4 common pathways for accelerating change, depending on the current state of the business. Pathway 4 describes organisations that have a moderate business imperative and operational maturity, and who are facing the challenge of transferring momentum from successful transformation projects into business-as-usual. We’ve called this pathway ‘The Data-Driven Double-Down’.

At our recent executive breakfasts held in Sydney and Melbourne, 11% of those in the room identified with this segment. A pretty good place for an organisation to find itself in, and chances are most had already implemented, or gone a long way towards implementing a customer-centric transformation. The challenge faced by the typical business on this pathway, is one of carrying the momentum gained from successful transformation projects over into business-as-usual. 

Operational Maturity/Business Imperative Matrix
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Case Study

When I think of Pathway 4, I'm reminded of the story of a B2B division in a major Telco. They embarked on a customer-centric transformation in response to challenges around frontline systems that were not fit for purpose and a siloed functional operating model that was holding them back. As a result, employee experience, customer experience and financial results were all lagging behind that of their competitors.

They responded by building a technology backbone to support the frontline, as well as a whole new sales and marketing model. At that point, they started to see great, positive results taking place around employee engagement, NPS and revenue. Instead of sitting back to admire their achievements, they moved forward to harness the flexibility of the platform and the agility of the operating model, to capture and respond to customer needs in real-time. This is when the magic truly started happening - they discovered that they could change and close the offer on the 'fly', which became a true differentiator in the eyes of their customers, leading to another step change in performance. 

Accelerate by moving from common practice to best practice

For most businesses on Pathway 4, the common practice is to succumb to the temptation of a consolidation phase and to ‘rest on the laurels’ of past achievements. Successful project implementations provide bursts of energy and excitement, and with notable progress made towards customer-centricity, will often evoke a core group of customer-facing staff to act as evangelists within the organisation. This generally leads to ‘inside out’ innovation, whereby changes are made based on what the company thinks is best for the customer.

Best practice on the other hand, raises these capabilities to another level altogether. Innovative organisations don’t look to consolidate, but rather to gear up and drive further and faster. Learning and growing are no longer the exclusive purview of project implementation, but have become an everyday operational reality. Everyone in the organisation will embrace customer experience as their responsibility. At this point, innovation starts to happen in an ‘outside in’ manner, with real-time insights coming from customer data and feedback. The organisation will therefore be able to stay one step ahead of the competition as the market evolves.

Seek out the spirit of restless excellence

Conventional wisdom would have us allowing the transformation to bed down, letting people settle in to get over change fatigue. At Blackdot, we believe in the unconventional wisdom of harnessing the energy generated by success and in gaining momentum to seek out the next level - continually evolving in a spirit of restless excellence fuelled by what customers are telling you every day.