By Phil Larson, president of Shepherd Consulting OK and author of “Manage Well: Eclectic Tips on Excellence."
Grow and Sustain Multi-Channel Offering - 2
Goals, results, communication, and broad skills start the journey to keep your multi-channel offering growing. There is more. Don't stop with that. You will need alliances, boldness, continually learning and an "add attitude".
"All you need is all you have. All you have is enough." Not really. You will need more than you have. But you can get it and then you will have it when you need it.
Let Alliances Fill Gaps While Learning: Don’t be too self sufficient. Don’t give business away to competition, but don’t do it all yourself. Ask your vendors for trustable partners that live five states away that can help with small pieces. Find out if the vendors have contract resources that might be able to do the job faster than your team. You might lose your profit on a job, but keep a customer coming back. Alliances will teach your people new skills and ways of looking at doing the same work and increase their speed and value.
Not to spill the beans, but I remember being up against a deadline for a client when they decided to change the delivery options on a set of landing pages. We just did not have the time to learn the skill needed and the client insisted mid project on the change. I pleaded with a service vendor, who did the job for half price. It was painful. It was awful. They did a good job, but we were negotiating for time with the client while communicating to the vendor while they were working overtime because we had not scheduled ahead long enough with them. It worked. Our negotiations with our clients improved and we learned to work more smoothly with the vendor in case we needed their support again. We did. It cost more, but we got quicker and more accurate delivery.
Boldly Use Your Knowledge: Put it out there. When you discover a new use or tool or gem of a solution, be bold to use it for a customer. Hiding in the shadows will not improve your product offering or bring in the customers. Your best marketing is your performance. People will talk.
When you use what you know (and that includes what your team knows that you don’t), everyone learns. You learn what you don’t know. Improve. Build. Add value in the eyes of your customers and coworkers. Your own team gets a sense of pride and accomplishment that motivates for the next step or the next product addition.
In one shop, we put a sign outside the door of the advance team working on new multi-channel offerings. It was a picture of a ferocious lion with the words, "CAT SKINNERS" as the title. Stir up the fire in your team.
Be Willing to Learn Trying: You won’t die. You might get some egg on your face. You might be embarrassed. You might learn a lot. You might become more and more valuable to your customers. Most of us learn best by doing. Read and read and study and research and then try it out. That is where real learning gets into the souls of your team and they become skilled craftsmen.
Keep Adding: Yep, never give up on adding features and channels and options and supportive services. Learn a lesson from the IPAD. When will the last release become the last release? Never. Your customers have an insatiable appetite for growth. You have now opened a door of inquiry on their part.
Stay Customer Centric: Listen every day to needs your customers have in other related areas. Approach them the same way as you did multi-channel. You might add one or two services or products supported a year. Over time you become a much more full service supporter. Trust me, your customers do not like to go other places to get service. Everyone likes to go one place, get it done, get it done right. Be that one point of accountability. Growing alongside your customer needs puts you on the top of their call list. They know you care about their business not just business.
Go Ahead and Grow. THRIVE!
This article focuses on Sales/Marketing/Operations and Communications levels of the operational pyramid.