CHANNEL MANAGEMENT

Managing distributors and their sales reps is very different from and significantly more complex than managing one???s own sales team because one cannot directly control and oversee them. Yet one relies on them to do so much: represent one???s brand, overcome regulatory hurdles, set reasonable??pricing, manage an opportunity pipeline, build??relationships, conduct market intelligence, navigate the local culture,??expand??access, be financially disciplined, and close deals. To further complicate matters, most distributors are distracted, splitting their time between selling on your behalf and selling for other companies in adjacent product categories.

This leads to the two fundamental challenges of channel management:

  • Performance Management: How do you get distributors to continuously put forth their best effort and finest skill on your behalf, regardless of market ups and downs?
  • Transition Management: How do you decide when it is time to leave a partner and switch to an alternative, and how can you transition smoothly and painlessly?

Unfortunately, most organizations do not really equip their channel managers to tackle these challenges with confidence. They do not provide an effective process for how to manage a distributor, what??KPIs??to measure (beyond backward-looking commercial results), how to run a quarterly-check-in meeting or what kind of support to provide. They do not explain how to set effective tone, how to encourage information sharing or how to discuss underperformance in a way that generates more than just excuses and polite promises to do better.

Asking a direct sales manager to be a channel manager with no further guidance is like asking a an old-school, battlefield military general to drop their uniform, put on a tuxedo and be a diplomatic envoy. They might do quite well, but if so, it will be due to fortunate circumstances or strong internal instincts, not because you set them up for success.

The good news is that there are strong answers to these ???how??? questions, based on sound principles of channel management that are proven in the real world.?? As a result, they have more consistently outperformed their competitors, have grown steadily even when markets are stagnant (by grabbing market share), and have grown faster than competitors when times are good.

So what works? In our experience, each of the two challenges has three main principles, as follows:

Performance Management:

  • Measure inputs, not just outputs: Build a scorecard with KPIs that put a spotlight on improving high-priority capability gaps, not just commercial outcomes.
  • Schedule collaboration, not just accountability: Commit to a transparent calendar of interactions with your partners across the year that includes various forms of partner support and interaction, not just quarterly performance reviews.
  • Reward with status, not just margin: Give distributors higher partnership levels to strive for (and lower ones to fear) with commensurate privileges and consequences, not just deeper rebates or bonuses

 

Transition Management

  • Plan months ahead, not just weeks:??Prepare for transitions well in advance based on a forward-looking timeline, not just as a response to crisis.
  • Evaluate how candidates act, not just what they say: Examine the detail with which potential partners tailor their proposals to your needs, not just the lip-service they pay to your goals.
  • Treat outgoing partners graciously, not just efficiently: Avoid turning a former ally into an enemy by taking their concerns into account even during an exit, not just abiding by contractual rights.

These six principles may seem straightforward. In fact, many of them will sound familiar from a different field ??? that of HR (e.g. how to hire, fire, motivate, develop, reward, plan, promote). Talent management practices cannot be imported directly to guide the channel manager, but they are cousins of what works for channel managers.

Business Process Redesign

We help clients to improve execution and meet the needs of customers better by applying business process redesign. Typically, our work generates cost savings of 20 percent to 30 percent of the addressable cost base, but its real advantages are reduced cycle times and increased quality and customer satisfaction

Business process redesign (BPR) examines the efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s most critical processes. It is a key enabler to deliver the highest-quality of service, in the most productive way, at the most competitive cost and time to output.

We works with each client to prioritize key processes based on the value at stake. For each priority process we develop a view of the current state based on operational data, using detailed process maps and analysis to help identify major gaps. We then work together with a cross-functional client team to define a series of principles that will guide the solution generation phase, and create a vision of the future state of each process from the ground up, along with the roadmap to achieve the near and long term results.

We work very closely with our clients in this type of project, enlisting a team from all the functional areas impacted at the leadership and the solution generation level. This allows us to eliminate waste, unnecessary wait times, reports, handovers and sign-offs, while ensuring the integrity of the process

360?? Digital Consultancy

Digital disruption can be a self-fulfilling prophecy: A threat to businesses that view it that way, but a rich opportunity for those who see it as a way to deliver on core strategy, delight customers and operate smarter and faster. Our digital experts help companies across all industries, regions and growth stages to determine not what digital will do to them, but what they will do with digital.

Digital experiences, such as online shopping and mobile apps, are now a standard part of daily life. Leading companies recognize that new digital technologies present multiple growth opportunities, including delighting their customers with heightened convenience and customization options, leveraging the wealth of data trails from digital activity to get even closer to the customer and using technology to operate faster and better.

Digital leaders are capitalizing on macro forces that are affecting daily change in the way companies think about their brand, their products, their service experience???every element of the value proposition:

Digital Strategy – What we do

We help our clients invest wisely by working with them to answer the key questions business leaders are asking about digital:

I have initiatives in progress but need a clear roadmap. What will matter most and how do we get there?
Where should we be shifting to digital marketing, spending less to get more? What can we be doing real time?
How can we keep up with new and nimble competitors? What will it take to increase our speed of innovation, delivery and learning?
How can we make the right IT investments to support our digital aspirations? How do we develop a technology operating model that enables the delivery and operational capabilities needed to deliver on our digital priorities?
Customers are interacting less in our physical channels???how do we make the most of in person interactions and how can digital help in-store?
With a shift to online, how can I justify my physical infrastructure and costs? What are the best options to get costs out?
How do we develop next generation capabilities that allow us to adapt as we go?

In addition, our offerings help companies across industries bridge the digital and physical worlds. Our experts team with clients to define their vision and operating strategies, and adapt their organizations and offerings to meet consumers’ changing needs and expectations. With our support, companies can capture wholly new sources of value.

With the field quickly emerging and advancing, our experts from across our industry and capability areas???including Strategy, Organization, Information Technology, Customer Strategy & Marketing, Consumer Products and Financial Services???stand ready to help companies address these issues.

Our digital consultants help our clients achieve digital leadership. Using a robust set of proprietary tools, we work with clients to create highly customized roadmaps based on their unique circumstances and needs. Our approach to digital transformation is guided by four distinctive elements:

We start with the consumer.
We use the latest and most relevant consumer intelligence to inform strategy, rather than building upon existing infrastructure and operations that may or may not fit emerging marketplace demands.

We build organizations that are adaptive.
In the ever-changing digital world, reactionary quick fixes won’t cut it for long. We help companies create the capacity to continuously innovate through such processes as rapid prototyping, test and learn and customer learning loops, so that the investments in digital lead to sustainable growth even in a tumultuous marketplace.

We develop robust technology operating models.
Our holistic approach addresses all elements of IT???organization and talent, delivery capabilities, operations and technology???and ensures that our clients have the right technology foundation in place to support their digital aspirations.

We take a proactive approach to change management.
The best-laid strategy can sink if employees choose to resist it. From day one, we help clients think about how to drive a cultural mindset shift within the organization, involving change champions to co-create and roll out the plan.

Performance Improvement

We are the best consulting partner for companies that are committed to quickly achieving and sustaining their full potential. Our clients realize, on average, results yielding 25 times returns on our fees and margin improvements of seven percentage points within two to three years.

We help our clients with both large-scale integrated transformation solutions as well as more focused, specific functional solutions.

Our integrated solutions include:

Performance Improvement Diagnostic
: Change industry boundaries to redefine full potential.
High Speed Cost Diagnostic: Quick diagnostic to identify immediate and longer-term opportunities
Sustained Cost Transformation: Strategically transform the cost structure across the organization to obtain cost leadership and gain competitive advantage
Accelerated Transformation: Rapid cost transformation approach for an urgent turnaround and restoring profitability
Complexity Management: Effectively manage all elements of complexity to unlock value and turbocharge the organization
Lean Six Sigma: Working back from the customer to deliver better outcomes with lower cost and higher quality
Business Process Redesign: Achieve operational excellence at a company’s most critical processes to deliver high quality service at a competitive cost
Capability Sourcing: Acquire the right capabilities from the right source, and the right shore, at the right price
Cash and Capital Management: Create cash visibility and a disciplined capital allocation process.

Our process-specific solutions include:

Procurement: Make procurement a source of competitive advantage by finding quick cash and building procurement capabilities
Supply Chain Management: Turn supply chain into a source of competitive advantage for meeting short- and long-term cost, flexibility and service-level goals
Manufacturing Optimization: Optimize the manufacturing footprint and shop-floor operations
Service Design & Operations: Deliver the promised customer experience at the right cost across service channels
Optimization & Org Design: Create lasting improvements in efficiency and effectiveness of G&A functions, aligning process goals to business objectives
R&D/Product Development: Optimize the R&D function to maximize the return on investment in R&D

Our holistic and data-driven approach enables clients to achieve leadership in their core business, leverage their core strength to grow into adjacent opportunities, and operate at superior levels of performance to drive industry-leading results.

We start by analyzing what full potential means in practical terms???for a whole company, a business unit or a function. Our first step is to perform a diagnostic and size the opportunity based on hard factual data. Our strategic and cross-functional approach helps clients unlock value beyond cost containment measures within a specific area of the organization. In fact, in our experience, addressing operating problems at the nodes???the points where business units, functions, geographies, and layers of management intersect and have to make and execute critical decisions???creates between three and four times as much value as traditional approaches to right-sizing and functional excellence.

Once we have defined stretched, yet realistic targets with our clients, we work together to craft the most effective path to deliver the value. We follow a “board room to shop-floor” engagement model. We work with teams across all levels of the organization to ensure that our client companies capture the identified benefits, bank the savings, and build the internal capabilities to keep on improving performance long after our engagement ends. Our performance improvement work is at the heart of what we do as a firm, and is part of a continuum of tools for successful delivery of results. These also include customer strategy and marketing, mergers and acquisitions, organization and information technology.

Our definition of success is aligned with that of our clients???, and as part of our commitment we often tie our own fees to our clients’ results.

360?? Customer Strategy & Marketing

Customers are the source of real growth. We??combines in-depth customer insights with practical expertise in operations and economics to help our clients create sustainable, organic growth.

 

 

Applying an outside-in perspective and helping clients achieve growth are fundamental to our approach.

With our expert team we??brings depth of experience in the following areas:

  • Customer insights and segmentation: We help clients understand customer needs and behaviors using our BothBrain?? approach and develop actionable segmentation from the resulting insights. We help clients define the target customer or “sweet spot”???the area of distinct advantage over competitors???to inform business decisions and investment allocation.
  • Product and category management: We help firms break down barriers to innovation and improve ongoing customer-led product development so their value proposition is differentiated and meets customer needs.
  • Pricing: We help resolve the pricing paradox???pricing is almost always the #1 profit lever, yet it remains under-developed in most companies???by building long-term pricing capabilities and capitalizing on in-year-revenue opportunities.
  • Sales and channel effectiveness: We help companies identify quick, targeted, customized solutions as well as strategic and operational improvements to boost underperforming sales organizations.
  • Marketing and brand strategy: We help companies align marketing and brand strategy with overarching business objectives; ensure marketing investments are generating highest returns and reinforcing the brand positioning; and build a loyal customer base through branding that cultivates a strong, trusted image.
  • Customer experience: We work with companies to develop a series of positive interactions with the customer to earn their advocacy and inform consistent delivery of experiences to drive top-line growth.
  • Loyalty: We help companies nurture promoters???loyal customers who are more profitable, and who are active proponents of your business in good times and bad.
  • Go-to-market strategy: We help companies build powerful, integrated go-to-market systems that build a bridge between a company???s strategy and the exceptional customer experiences that are the ultimate driver of customer advocacy and loyalty.

Customer-centric businesses build a virtuous cycle we call the “customer wheel.” We help companies at every stage of growth, developing custom solutions and collaborating with all levels of the organization.

CS&M - Six elements wheel

Few levers have as much power to influence profitability as pricing does. For a typical company, a one percent increase in price boosts profits two to three times as much as a one percent increase in sales volume.

Yet pricing capabilities are underdeveloped in most companies. Real challenges cause companies to fail or simply shy away from addressing pricing strategy. We work with clients to improve pricing strategy and manage pricing over the long term.
We work with clients to uncover key near-term opportunities???these quick wins alone generate an attractive payback to build momentum for change. Value erodes, however, when important long-term capabilities, which account for 80% of value, are ignored.
We approach pricing strategy by industry, market, product and transaction. We identify how customizing prices across markets and products can affect buying behavior and differentiate offerings. Working jointly with a client team, we identify pricing opportunities and build sustainable capabilities and repeatable processes to generate benefits today and tomorrow.
??

We help our clients succeed by transforming three building blocks of customer-led growth???the 3D lens through which clients solve problems and identify opportunities. We work with our clients to:

  • Design a customer experience that is differentiated and tailored to meet customer needs. We do this by identifying a company’s most important customers and appealing to those needs by creating a value proposition that is unique.
  • Deliver on the promises they make by building capabilities to optimize customer interactions at every touch point.
  • Reprogram their DNA to put customers and employees first. We focus on generating near-term results and building a long-term foundation for growth and giving companies what they need to keep listening and responding to change.
Three Ds

We have proven methods to measure the health and value of the customer relationship. We have a deep understanding of the ways that customer advocacy creates competitive advantage, producing faster organic growth at lower cost.