Thinking Globally and acting local

Thinking Globally and acting local

Thinking Globally and Acting Local

 

 

The COE creates the fine balance by driving the corporate shift, aligning the vision and mindset and providing an aligned communication and business process while enabling the local groups to focus on customer intimacy and relevant value

In addition to everything we’ve covered above, the global COE is also responsible for connecting global groups within the company to the local affiliates. They are accountable for aligning the organization to the business and strategic account planning processes, as well as connecting and aligning how the strategic accounts engage with the rest of the commercial teams in the markets and local affiliates.

By providing this central leadership and process, they are using the Pareto principles of 80/20% by providing the 80% to enable the local affiliates to customize to their local needs but saving them from having to start from scratch and duplicate efforts. The COE can provide capability and training development as well and help them established their customized Strategic account management roadmap aligned with the global strategy.

In return, local teams can look at their market environments and, from them, prioritize their local roadmaps. The more the marketplace is integrated and features complex customers, the more they will need to move from a transactional sales model to a strategic account management business model. It is by helping the local teams – who are focused on their market and customer understanding, customer journey and decision making – that the Global COE can support localization of the roadmap and prioritise the help and support needed to preserve and enhance local customer intimacy while being the guardian of the “one voice” at the corporate level.

 

The Global COE can also help foster the creation of communities of practice to exchange on best practice and scale them. These communities help accelerating the SAM journey, connectivity and dissemination of ideas. they can be the anchor point for business case creation, communication and scaling opportunities across the organization. 

 

With one of our clients, a company with a well-established COE we recently helped them customize their role, impact and support investment to the needs of their local affiliate by creating a framework that adapts to the status of the affiliate and focuses on providing a step approach to go from this starting point. This enabled this COE group to clarify and enhance its role while customizing its support to the affiliate market status, needs and capabilities. 

 

Having worked with many organizations in this cultural shift and business transformation, our experience is that without a COE, we find the project and transformation are at significant risks of being derailed by lack of resources, lack of focus or lack of leadership needed to instill the required change.

 

We have also seen that, in this acceleration of adapting how we do business and how we engage with customer in our new reality, some pillars of the COEs are taking on a front-line role. For example, learning and development investment is increasing in these times when SAMs are working from home and the skills needed in this new environment are shifting. 

 

Conclusion

 

Finally, when creating your SAM Center of Excellence in line with these critical success factors, your will end up with a COE that spans across the organization, breaking silos and driving the SAM roadmap and journey today and for the future. 

It can bring expertise for more customer value and differentiation, which will result in your customer remembering that you care about their success. The COE helps the SAM build trusted partnerships by supporting their processes and needs, focusing on what is important to your customers and enabling customer -facing teams to show up as one organization in a coordinated manner. In short, the COE helps the SAM elevate his and her game.

View the Full PDF Article Here

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Creating customer-centric curricula

Creating customer-centric curricula

Creating Customer-centric Curricula

 


Simplicity and sustainability are created when we move from role competencies and curriculum to customer centric curriculums

When looking at SAM’s competencies and skillset, many of our clients struggle to integrate and connect with the diverse competency models used by the different commercial or customer facing teams. Each role often has its own curriculum, and the complexity it creates divides the customer-facing groups in the way they engage.

Having the Learning & Development function represented in the COE enables three things. 

  • Ensuring resources and efforts to support the strategic account managers’ development in their account management skills set and personal learning journey to elevate their interactions with their most important customers. 

 

  • Taking a curriculum developed for SAM to engage and plan with their complex accounts and using the same core principles to align the overall communication and ways of engaging throughout the organization. 

 

  • Building the curriculum as a customer-centric curriculum – a curriculum that serves all commercial facing teams. Shifting from the role curriculum to create a common engagement model and account planning competency model aligned with the complexity or strategic level of the account. This helps creating alignment on how we engage and communicate. 

 

  • Collecting performance metrics & measures on the SAM role and impact of training investment. As this is a mid to long term evolution; having a way to measure the behaviours and performance impact of the SAM on the Revenue and growth is critical in sustaining the organization’s attention and focus on driving this business transformation.  

 

The core principles used in complex accounts can certainly be used in more transactional one-on-one interactions. Principles like understanding your customer, being focused on their needs, being authentic and providing value, to name a few, are done at a different level of depth and details – but are universally useful.

It creates simplicity and focus in people’s development, continuity in the career pathing and facility of personalised learning journeys.

View the Full PDF Article Here

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Developing and enabling the cultural shift

Developing and enabling the cultural shift

3: Developing and enabling the cultural shift needed in the new SAM business model

The COEs an emerging best practice and critical success factors that can be the catalyst to create the right mindset process and skillset while ensuring evolution and sustainability.

Disruption, although most times unwelcome, gives way to innovation. Could the mother of creativity and innovation be, in fact, disruption? 

This last year has certainly proven this saying in our customer-centric aspirations.

1: Having one! Making the decision and investment to have a dedicated Center of Excellence 

2: Having the COE reports directly to the executive team to ensure strategic impact 

3: Developing and enabling the cultural shift needed in the new SAM business model 

4: Customer centric curriculums 

5: Thinking globally and acting locally for enhanced customer intimacy

 

You can find an illustration of these critical success factors below: 

 

1: Having a dedicated Global Center of Excellence 

Each year, the Strategic Account Management Association (“SAMA”) issues awards for “Outstanding SAM Program of the Year.” Looking at the past 10 years winners, we see at least one thing nearly every winning company has in common: a dedicated COE. 

Is this a coincidence?  We think not. 

Establishing a COE is the number one most critical success factor for implementing an effective strategic account management business model. Despite this fact, only 10 percent of SAMA member companies have a COE, let alone an effective one. 

When I started my career as a commercial and SAM roadmap leader, you always had the commercial team and enabling functions working together to collaborate  in their day to day customer engagement. 

When we see the investment that some companies are making in pivoting their engagement model to be more strategic, customer-centric and value enabling; we are always surprised to see the enabling functions still being focused on supporting the more transactional model where the number of interactions is the metric -what we use to call in the pharma world the share-of-voice model. We continue to see the difficulty in shifting this  enabling structure to support to the SAM journey instead.

 

Establishing a COE is a step approach, and the structure needs to grow as the strategic account managers and strategic accounts are also growing in numbers and needs. Starting slow and evolving at the pace of our customer landscape changes is critical. 

Below we illustrate how a COE can be structured with a combination of full-time dedicated roles and part times roles that report back in their respective department.

The lighter boxes illustrate part time or connection to the department versus dedicated support. The above is an evolution and can be planned on a year-on-year evolution and aims at illustrating options. 

 

To be successful, people that compose the COE need to understand what strategic account management is and align on the fact that it is a business model, not a sale model and requires change management. One common role that the COE colleagues have is being a change agent and a champion for the journey. This should be part of every member role profile and mindset requirement in selecting the people to drive the COE structure, strategy and work.

It takes alignment for strategic account management to be successful and the COE is the guardian of this alignment.

2: Having the COE reporting to the executive team 

There is more than one way of doing this. Some organizations start this journey by creating a COE to support the SAM organization as a separate unit with a remit to test, iterate and pilot for speed. They then integrate this with the rest of the commercial group. Others will start with an already commercially integrated COE working across their business units. 

In both models, shifting the corporate focus from short-term goals and objectives to mid and long-term partnership is not an easy task. The corporate world has for generations been trained for generations to think inside out and sell products or services. In executing SAM transformations, we ask organizations to think outside-in, build trust and long-term objectives and focus on the customer objectives first in order  to generate growth and revenue for the customer and the organisation .  Although we know from the SAMA research that a strategic account will generate 2x the revenue of a regular account1, we also see that it does require our corporate minds to think differently by providing value beyond products and services, aligning to what matters to our customer (as opposed to our own internal organization)and providing value offerings that are customized to the accounts and customer needs. This has shown, time and time again, to be the best avenue for sustainable revenue generation.

 

Moving an organisation from a go-to-market strategy based on products and services to an outside-in thinking based on the customer’s customers unmet needs and what they care about requires to be part of the senior level agenda.  Creating customised solutions to respond to its customers’ and customers’ customers unmet needs require a cultural shift and mindset change. To drive a business transformation and cultural shift of this magnitude, two things must be present: This evolution must be among the company’s strategic imperatives and the COE must sit at the right organisational level. 

Reporting at the executive level enables the COE to having a broader view of the organization including its imperatives, goals, strategies and capabilities – as well as being peer to peer with business leaders who are necessary to the execution of the SAM roadmap.

 

3: Developing and enabling the cultural shift needed in the new SAM business model 

The COE is an essential unit for driving the cultural shift mentioned above. To do this they need to be the expert in the strategic account management world and dedicated to driving this journey. They are part of the strategy and lead the operational steps from outlining the vision/ mission to creating business processes, building the structure, outlining the desired competencies and equipping the SAMs. 

They should be instrumental in selecting the account team and extended teams as well as the departmental point of contact. These points of contact are technical expert providing part time support for specific topics. The COE team is the one responsible for identifying champions who understand the SAM journey and purpose and who have the right mindset and willingness to be part of the transformation. Being SAM experts, it is critical for members of the COE to work with groups like human resources and line managers to define role profile, competencies and traits needed to be successful in the role. Finding those individuals with the right mindset, passion, and the resiliency to drive change will be a catalyst for the Strategic account organization’s success. For strategic account management success, mindset, talent and traits are more important than past roles experience. It is a combination of mindsets, experience and skills that create the right SAM. 

 

Clients tell us that, in most cases, their internal organizations are more challenging to navigate than their customer organizations and often present sthe most significant barriers to action and partnership with strategic accounts. 

The COE can certainly help and be accountable to break these internal silos by providing an aligned business process and communication. They need to drive the Passion/resilience to think outside-in for revenue generation. Being a centralized expert group, they can work across units to align matrix and complex organizations to the strategic accounts that have been identified in providing change management, business process and strategic account toolbox for an aligned way of working.

In leading the cultural shift, the COE can then establish the mid to long term roadmap and next steps of the journey. They can prioritize what needs to be done, from aligning business leaders, upskilling the strategic account managers to providing an aligned integrated business process.  

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Center of Excellence

Center of Excellence

Center of Excellence: A Critical Lighthouse to Provide Successful Journey Direction & Leadership

So, what is a COE?

One could argue that in today’s environment that COEs (Center of Excellence) is overused. Whether you call it COE or “SAM program office”,the message is the same: These enabling units are critical to your SAM roadmap’s success. 

As we work with organizations on their SAM journeys, we see the impact of setting up a SAM commercial enablement structure can have on the SAM roadmap’s success and sustainability. A COE serves to accelerate and ensure the needed transformation, evolution and sustainability plans.

By COE, we mean a centralized group of SAM experts and people who “get it” and who should be leveraged as the catalyst for instilling the mindset, processes and skillsets for distinctive go-to-market and customer-centric engagement models. 

 

These are the people responsible for the day-to-day global strategies and operational execution of the SAM roadmap and “Sherpas” of its future evolution as it grows and adapt to the customer changes.

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Want to accelerate your SAM journey?

Want to accelerate your SAM journey?

Want to accelerate your SAM journey?

Three critical areas to tackle.

Disruption, although most times unwelcome, gives way to innovation. Could the mother of creativity and innovation be, in fact, disruption? 

This last year has certainly proven this saying in our customer-centric aspirations.

We have seen seismic shifts within industries like event and hospitality that have been devastated by the pandemic. However, many have pivoted and transformed themselves by, for example, hospitality providing office spaces for people in need of quiet working environment, adapting to survive. Customer buying behaviors have also reshaped Amazon and others to deliver the everyday goods.

 

In general, and across businesses, engagement models have been shattered. Although we are all looking forward to going back to having human interactions in our day to day, we all know that the end of the pandemic will not mean a return to what used to be our norm. This past year has created a new normal, one  where virtual engagement will remain even as we re-introduce some  face to face into our lives. Organizations we work with are already planning for this next or new normal hybrid model and have spent tremendous efforts to elevate the needed skillsets of their commercial teams – especially strategic account managers. 

 

If we try to draw some positive from  the year that just passed;

Covid 19 has accelerated and catalyzed several exciting aspects of the future work and organization design. These changes would otherwise have taken years to do, but the pandemic has forced all of our organizations to pivot and reinvent the way we engage with our customers. As a result, we have seen an increased interest in moving to a more focused, value bringing and high impact engagement model. 

This is leading many companies to accelerate their strategic account management journeys and transformations.

On the customer side, we see companies seeking interactions that bring them new insight, knowledge, ideas and innovations. They are looking for business partners to help them return to growth. Companies that have seized the opportunity and cared for their customers have elevated their trust level and customer loyalty.

Based on our recent clients work and interviews, we have discovered three areas we believe are essential to establishing and accelerating the SAM journey: 

These critical success factors are:

1: Having a Center of Excellence – an emerging best practice.

2: Executives “buy-in and be in“ –  to ensure resources allocation and the necessary cultural shift.

3: Account-Based Marketing – as a co orchestrator of the Strategic accounts teams. 

Having these three pillars in place will lead to the key ingredient for success:  The ability to differentiate yourself, sustain and ensure continued evolution while successfully and positively impacting the growth of your strategic customers.

In this three-part series, we will deep dive into each of these above topics, starting with the Center of Excellence as the lighthouse to the Strategic account management journey.

About the Author

Dominique Côté brings  30 years of experience leading commercial teams in global pharmaceutical and biotech organizations.  Her consultancy work is focused on Commercial Excellence, Executive coaching &  leadership, KAM/SAM roadmaps & journeys, as well as Account based Marketing.

She is an accomplished international business leader, recognized as a chief architect of global account program journeys, leading corporate changes and cultural shifts for customer-centric innovation and patient value.

Dominique is  a panelist and keynote speaker in Europe and the U.S. in the areas of commercial  Excellence and Customer centricity. She writes and is published in journals like Journal of Sales Transformation, Velocity, and others on these topics.

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COE Components: Avoiding Complexity

COE Components: Avoiding Complexity

COE Components: Avoiding Complexity

Avoiding the tendency toward too much complexity and focusing on the center of excellence components that are really needed is an art.

The essential components of a COE are also important drivers for success. Avoiding the tendency toward too much complexity and focusing on the COE components that are really needed is an art.

The Pillars

1. Competency and training curriculum to develop personalized learning journeys aligned to the learner’s needs while ensuring the cohesion of the engagement model. 

2. Business analytics that include the tools, advanced analytics and insight production, as well as case-based recording to scale and replicate within the organization, aligning solution and value enablers to the account needs. 

3. Account-based marketing and innovation to have the digital marketing align with the strategic account. This brings the customer buying journey, the 360-degree view of the account, the oxygen to enable the SAM to deep dive into the real needs of the customer and what they care about. It also supports the design thinking competency to push innovation for co-creation and broader value creation for the accounts.

The Process

Process is often a scary word, but a necessity. The process aligns the definition of a strategic account, the criteria to select and prioritize them, the account plan itself and the metrics and measurements. You find here as well the operating mechanism, meeting and reviewing strategic accounts with its purpose, members and outcomes. The more this process is done in conjunction with the customer, the better the outcome and often the opportunity. One of the most important processes is creating a community of practice, the people process to increase communication, alignment and best practices exchange. In complex organizations, internal communication is a huge challenge. A strong community of practice helps share learning, project and best practices, driving innovation

 and accelerating the agility to scale and communicate within its own organization. This community of practice composed of the SAM with enabling functions, management and leaders creates the cohesion to the journey, sustaining the vision while being the agents of change and ensuring agility of the COE and processes to always adapt to the customer and the customer’s customer. This process of building a community of practice is most essential in decentralized matrix organizations to break internal silos and contribute to ongoing alignment. To be successful in the SAM journey requires a cultural shift with a mix of mindset, skillset and process and the freedom to pivot and adapt to the account environment and needs. In our complex, often-matrixed organizations, a well-established COE will enable real differentiation for the benefit of the customer and for profitability.

Download the Article HERE

About the Author

Dominique Côté brings  30 years of experience leading commercial teams in global pharmaceutical and biotech organizations.  Her consultancy work is focused on Commercial Excellence, Executive coaching &  leadership, KAM/SAM roadmaps & journeys, as well as Account based Marketing.

She is an accomplished international business leader, recognized as a chief architect of global account program journeys, leading corporate changes and cultural shifts for customer-centric innovation and patient value.

Dominique is  a panelist and keynote speaker in Europe and the U.S. in the areas of commercial  Excellence and Customer centricity. She writes and is published in journals like Journal of Sales Transformation, Velocity, and others on these topics.

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