Continuities and discontinuities
There are repeating patterns and cycles in the world. Industries and companies have them to. This is why it's useful to learn history.
We can identify dynamics that have occurred in sales and marketing and find parallels to the current partner moment. These are valuable insights and can speed up progress as past pitfalls are avoided.
But no pattern involving humans repeats exactly. It's also important to find the discontinuities - the ways in which is really is different this time. Otherwise the thing that worked in the past will get re-used when upgrades are available.
PhD reader Jessie Shipman of Partner Fluent shared this great breakdown of an interesting article from McKinsey.
McKinsey identified 6 pitfalls to avoid to have a culture that puts customer experience at its center.
The list is eerily similar to the challenges organizations face when they are trying to shift focus to Ecosystem.
1. Failure to link CX (PX) to Value
Organization have a hard time succeeding with Ecosystem when the initiative to improve partner experience is not tied directly to leadership led strategic initiatives.
Organizations that try to build an ecosystem all at once, instead of focusing on an atomic network (one integration, one integrator, one service partner, one enablement program, at a time) and building from that tend to only see incremental change and then have a hard time justifying value (see number 1). A singular successful, focused Ecosystem motion can be replicated and socialized much more efficiently then trying to turn the whole Titanic with one flick of the wheel.
3. Solving for touchpoint
Organizations that are seeking to build an ecosystem should consider the entire customer journey from the way that they’re acquiring leads, to how customer facing employees are taught to ask questions, and listen for answers, to enabling those same employees on ecosystem solutions, to helping them decide on and implement a solution using the ecosystem. Focusing on a single co-marketing event of email as a way of improving Ecosystem success isn’t enough.
4. Limited Creativity
Organizations that are wanting to focus on ecosystem have to remove from the company lexicon the phrase “that’s how we’ve always done it”. How they’ve always done it isn’t going to work anymore. Ecosystems are largely experimental especially at the micro level between sales, or CS or marketing and the customer, and require the flexibility and empathy at an executive level. Giving these customer facing employees the freedom to experiment with the ecosystem will help them to discover new ways to innovate and sell, and realize value.
5. Sidelining Customers Upfront
Ecosystems require holistic communication from partners and customers. The customer should have a clear line of communication to all relevant members of the ecosystem so that the ecosystem can respond to the customer needs. Developing these channels will be critical to ecosystem success.
6. CS (PX) on its own island
Organizations who are choosing Ecosystem as the top of their sales funnel, must also recognize that ecosystem isn’t just at the top, but surrounds every aspect of the business. Partner organizations can no longer live on a “channel” island. It has to become an executive led cross functional, highly integrated aspect of the business in order for it to succeed.
Quote of the Day
“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”
― Alfred North Whitehead
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