What are best practices for building a client-centric products and services global organisation?
To build a truly client-centric product, I’d advise bringing clients into the process as early as possible - not only can they influence how you proceed, they can be advocates for your products. Similarly, it is worthwhile to set up a client advisory board, and be open to the feedback the clients give - that way, you can ensure your products remain client-centric. I also believe that selling should be based around solutions - how your product can actively solve the problem of your client, rather than selling them on simply the product itself. According to Sales Insights Lab, your customers want to ‘talk to someone who can demonstrate insight, someone who shows that they can bring value to their business or to their life. This is central to solution selling’. By showing that not only are you selling a product but providing a way to enhance their lives in some way, you are more likely to gain a customer. Similarly, what I find most useful about solution selling is that it allows you to dig deeper into a conversation, and work out how best to service your clients. As Sales Insight Lab aptly states, ‘most salespeople reply, “We can help you with that!” But a great salesperson says, “Help me understand what you mean by that…” or “Tell me more…” or “Unpack that for me…” The deeper you go, the more layers of the onion you can peel back to get to the core issue—and the better you can demonstrate that you’re the right person to solve their challenges.’
What challenges have you faced with scaling team knowledge and a client centric culture globally?
There are certainly challenges that come with creating a client-centric culture on a global scale - especially when it comes to scaling team knowledge across the board. One of the more obvious challenges is enabling a sense of collaboration across teams, and having a clear sense of communication - when you don’t have collaboration and communication, it leads to poor processes and unsatisfied clients. In order to support a global client-centric culture and ensure you have scaled your entire team’s knowledge, it is important to have clear communication of your goals - with regular offsites with your team. I’d also advise making sure everyone on your team has had up-to-date sales training - to ensure best practice ensues.
What challenges and opportunities has a hybrid way of working brought about?
The new, hybrid model of working has brought both significant challenges and opportunities - the primary issue with hybrid working is the lack of consistency across teams: with some members being in meeting rooms together, others calling in from their homes remotely, it becomes difficult to truly collaborate and get things done efficiently. This is not to say remote working is not suitable for businesses.
Of course, a mix of office working and remote working is inevitable - what businesses now need to do is find a way to make this more manageable. One of the easiest ways to achieve a more seamless hybrid working environment is to make sure you are mindful of how your workers want to communicate - for some, it will be video calls, for others, an email will suffice. This, of course, will depend on the communication itself, but figuring out the most efficient way to communicate with employees across the hybrid spectrum will serve to bring a sense of consistency to the team. I’d also suggest bringing your team together for on-site work for specific days, if possible - this way, the team can work together on projects that are more difficult to complete remotely, and will leave more time and space for remote working to focus on what is best suited to that style.
Regarding the opportunities of remote work, the increase in flexibility cannot be ignored - this has led to a happier work environment for many, and through this, an increase in output.
What are you thoughts on the future of client relationship management and ensuring client success?
I think the use of technology in supporting and enhancing client relationships will be key to the future of client relationship management - ideally, there will be a way for artificial intelligence to automate regular administrative workflows and how key information is surfaced, and this will be managed automatically and digitally, rather than manually through teams - this would free up teams to focus on the client and the product.
I also think that in order to ensure success across your teams they need to feel valued - and by this, I mean making sure each team member understands how their work fits into the overall goal of the project, and making sure they are rewarded for their efforts clearly and often.