A Customer & Marketing Theory for Team Coaches, by Jordi Martí; from the creations of the Flash team (and other teams), within the module 3 of Team Mastery Iberia
When we think about a Circus, we first think of the people that is part of it. We may not know their names or their faces, but when our mind recalls a circus, thinks of the clowns, the trapezists, the ones who control the fiery animals, … And we, as customers, we know that all is under control thanks to an inviisible flow that goes throughtout the whole experience; this flow is driven by the man behind the curtains, as he inspires all these people so they provide the best experience ever to their customer.
Your business is a circus, and you are the man behind the curtain.
A CUSTOMER DRIVEN BUSINESS
A circus is completely customer driven; the whole team acts only for their customers. There is no difference between the one who sells the tickets, the man behind the curtain or the clowns. All of them are there to make the customer happy.
In companies, sadly it is not like these anymore. There are these guys in their office who sometimes go out and sell, there’s other department who might plan the experience for the customer (through a design process), and there are these guys who execute what these both departments’ request. These three groups of people work quite disconnected, and even, some of them, totally disconnected from the customer They can’t even put a face on a customer, although they are the ones whose needs have to be satisfied.
Nowadays, most people in companies are not used to talk to customers, even they are afraid to do it. People are afraid even to talk about money, what, being fair, is the value exchange that is happening in most of the offers that are made in companies. So, if Results are needed to make a company sustainable in the future, why are only a few people in the company dedicated to customers?
Customer & Marketing processes within a team-company should be totally inherent to the operative of the company. This process should be for the company as breathing is for a human being. While a person doesn’t need to think about breathing, why companies make such an effort to talk and deal with money and customer experiences?
That is why a shift is needed; and there’s where Team Academy methods make the difference:
CUSTOMER & MARKETING PROCESSES
When talking about customers and marketing, some processes are involved within. It is the job of the man behind the curtain to make the whole team-company aware of what is their situations within these processes. And he has to know how can they move forward, so they are totally customer optimized, they breath customers.
The processes involved in this global process are:
– Brand development: the process of creating a brand from your product, your business model and your leading thoughts.
– Marketing Process: the process of communicating your brand to the world (and reach your customers).
– Customer Relationship Process: the process of creating long term relationships with customers.
– Offering Process: the process of sending offers to your customers.
All these processes are constantly receiving feedback from others. For example, a change in the brand, will affect the way you market your customers, the way you address them or the way you send them offers. And also the other way around: if your customers relationship starts to change, for example, maybe your brand is not well communicated, or maybe it’s useless.
All these processes should also be inspired by the 15 ingredients of the brand: 4P + 5E + 6Y.
As these are mainly the core of the customer & marketing processes, some supporting processes are needed to make these succesful:
– Transmission of the Leading Thoughts to the C&M processes. All processes in the company should be inspired by these LT, and C&M are not an exception.
– Cocreation with customers. In all levels of these processes has to be interaction with customers, and cocreating with them to know what they expect, and what and how we can provide their needs.
– A measurement framework to know in which stage teampreneus are for each process, and also to control the budget of the whole process.
– And an all time aware coaching process who makes the dance and the flow continuous, who inspires teamsters to dance in this process. It is the coaches’ responsability to assure that this happen.
NOTE: In Team Academy Rocket Model, these processes are spread in other different bubbles. This theory pretends to provide a template to create awareness of the importance of these processes in the RM to the teampreneurs.
BRAND DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
The process of creating the brand has to be aligned with the Leading Thoughts. It is not only a name, but the first impression for a customer. In that sense, all teampreneurs have to be confortable when talking about the brand, aligned with it, and convinced when dealing with it.
Coaches’ responsbility in this process is to make sure that all teampreneurs know the brand (and possible mantras around it), are not afraid of talking about it and that are passionate about it. Teampreneurs should feel inside the brand of their product, in their hearts.
The involvement of teampreneurs in this area can be, for example:
– Creation, modification or playing with the brand logo.
– Suggesting and prototyping possible marketing products, as cups, tshirts, …
– All team members should have business cards with their name on it.
– Proposing new mantras after their interaction with customers.
– Creation of new subbrands based on their personal projects and how they connect with the main brand.
– Create a pitch of the product; the value proposal and explain how it differenciates from the competence.
Each action in this area of the teampreneur should be measured to know how involved is the team and its members in this process.
Marketing is the art of thinking and designing how to get to new potential customers. In that case, teampreneurs can have more impact that they do in old organizations, as any contact with any individual is a marketing action. In that sense, all teampreneurs should be aware of this process.
Some useful techniques of marketing that teampreneurs should experiment and master at some level are:
– Guerrilla Marketing: the art of creating big impact with low budgets, thanks to emotions and experiences. Useful theories and books can be grabbed by Joe Pine’s books, or Marketing With Love book.
– Creating awareness of the problem you solve, as a tool to users demand your product.
– Creating a tribe (through the sharing of the values of the brand, and communication with all members and empowering them to evangelize your product)
– Being a reference: by creating quailty content that users can found; for example by creating an anual report about what your service is expert at (and publish it free) ; or creating posts in blogs that talk about the problem that you solve.
Team entrepeneurs should also master and know the “Start with the Why” theory of Simon Sinek, to explain and market the product with the right message and emotion.
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP PROCESS
Customer relationship is not easy. Although not everybody might have the skills to address the user confortably and talk with them about money, all teampreneurs should be aware that a user has a face, know their name and know their position in the company they work at.
At the same level, teampreneurs should be able to position the customer in the proper step of the v bcustomers ladders (from the “Up the loyalty ladder” of the book).
All teampreneurs should know that the responsibility of the customer relationship is of all, not the customer leader. At the same times, in organizations who have specific salesman, these should be leading the customer process, although it doesn’t mean no one else should intervene in it.
PRINCIPLES OF A CUSTOMER VISIT
All teampreneurs in a team company should have some common principles; and thus, work together to build them. Common principles of the CV should be affected by the values of the company, the people and the brand.
A customer visit should also be specific and close opportunities. A good practice for teampreneurs is to create premotorolas before the customer visit; and set some SMART goals for the CV (learning and operative goals). SMART as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result oriented and Time Oriented (from Katzenbach’s Wisdom of Teams).
Setting common SMART goals for each customer visit that one or several members of the team are going to do, allows to:
– Be able to quantify the success of a customer visit.
– Put in common between all the teams, WHY the CV exisis in the relationship with the customer, and which goals all are satisfied with.
Taking into account the result of the CV, and the setted goals, all teampreneurs should reflect after the CV with a postmotorola.
THEORY OF CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP
A customer relationship within companies is made of a progression of customer visits, all of them framed in certain projects. With that vission, a customer relationship could be visualized as follows:
One customer visit in a specific moment is framed within a specific project, and this one, within a specific moment of the customer relationship. All customer visits should open possibilities at the beginning, and close them at the end (as stated in the point of Principles of a CV). This way, customer visits are a process that opens and closes. At the same time, teampreneurs should be aware in which status of the project is framed the customer visit that is being held; as all projects have the same cycle: they diverge at the beginning, and converge at the end. The teampreneur must take it into account, because the interaction with the customer should not be equal in one point or the other.
One step above these continuos flow of Cvs and Projects, is the customer relationship; which should always be visualized in a diverging stage, thus, creating new opportunities. Customer relationships can be catalogized at this level as A3 customers (potencial customer), A2 customer (a gained customer) and A1 customer (an influencer or referee).
There are these important moments (after Cvs, or projects), in which feedback should be recollected, and impact other points in other levels. It should also impact in other customer relationships.
SOME ACTIONS FOR TEAMPRENEURS
Some actions related to the customer relationship that all teampreneurs should practice:
– Check and update once in a while all names of the customers: picture, name, position in the company.
– Check and update the position of the customers in the customer ladder, and how the current project and customer visits
– All teampreneurs should be able to practice Customer Visits, create premotorolas, postmorolas and set common SMART goals that are agreed by the team.
– In service companies, all teampreneurs involved in the project should have contact with the customer. For example, in software development companies, demonstration of the products can be done by teampreneurs (as new agile methodologies are addressing).
– All cards of customers of the team should be in a common place.
– Create and share common principles of a CV
The offering process has to define what you give to the customer and what you demand in exchange. The offering process can be visualized as the Sales Pipe described by Lainema: Hyviä Yriyiksiä.
From this process, it is interesting that teampreneurs understand how to make a proper offer to a customer:
– All teampreneurs should work proposals once in a while (not just one person of the team).
– All teampreneurs should know the budget of each proposal, and understand the whole of it: how much money is spent in each of the concepts proposed; so all teampreneurs can optimize budgets in the future.
– Proposals should be targeted to customer, according to their requirements.
– There should be standard documents for proposals in the whole team.
According to Johanes Partanen, new teampreneurs need to do 100 customer visits to get 10 new potencial customers to get 1 offer accepted.
MEASUREMENT AND INDICATORS
All teampreneurs should be advised to measure themselves in the customer and marketing process. The goal of this measurements and indicators is to check both things:
– How well is the team performing the customer and marketing process.
– How much is each of the individuals of the team involved in the customer and marketing process.
Proper indicators should be advised by the team coach.
THE PROCESS OF COACHING
The man behind the curtain, the team coach, is responsible of the flow of this process. It means to empower teampreneurs to be aware of the whole process, and understand why it is important they are involved in it.
Some basic principles of the process are:
– A coach SHOULD NOT interfere with the process, neither go out and sale for or with teampreneurs.
– A team coach SHOULD offer contacts to provide new opportunities for the customer.
– A team coach MUST make sure all teampreneurs are involved in the process, loosing their fear to talk and address to customers, and measuring themselves with the right indicators.
– A team coach SHOULD know the sector the teampreneurs work at, as the team coach should understand and correct the actions and indicators used by coachees.
Nowadays, companies and organizations have delegated their sales job or customer contacts to specific persons; disconnecting the ones who do the work with the customers. This also has created a fear when teampreneurs think about the customer…
It’s team coaches’ responsability to make sure all teampreneurs are in contact with customers, and that they address the customer in a friendly way, thus, loosing the fear to get in contact with them. Not only when designing the projects, but also when doing offers or delivering the final result of the project.
Teampreneurs should feel the breath of the customers during their daily job and be in contact with them, as it is the only way to obtain real results in a company,
And remember, you, as the man behind the curtain, you have the responsability to make the circus flow.
So let the show begin!