Learn the Three Essential Activities of Customer- and Market-Driven Organizations

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the three essential activities of customer- and market-driven organizations.
  • Explain what you can do as an admin to support the three activities.

Introduction

So now we know that the customer- and market-driven approach is the way to go. The next question is what makes this type of company different? What distinguishes them in the way they operate? Based on a review of the research (over 500 articles, which we have spared you reading!), there are three essential activities that customer- and market-driven organizations are great at (Figure 3). Let’s run through these.

Activities essential for cusotmer- and market-driven organization

Figure 3. Activities essential for customer- and market-driven organizations

Essential Activities

Engaging and gathering customer and market information

It is hard to make the right decisions without the right information. Customer and market information needs to be generated to support the decisions your company needs to make.

Engaging with customers and market entities to gather information consumes resources, so it’s important to stay laser focused on gathering the information decision makers actually use (see Table 1 for ideas). As you know, this cannot be the job of just one individual, or even one department. The entire organization must be listening to customers and getting a pulse on the market—everyone in the organization must contribute. If they don’t, it limits the intelligence gathered, and reduces the potential for critical insights.

Table 1. Common customer and market intelligence information and sources.

Types of information

Activities and sources

Customer

Intel

  • Customer profiles and account activity (purchase history, retention, and so on.)
  • Customer service activity
  • Customer social media activity
  • Customer satisfaction (NPS scores, and so on.)
  • Non-customer profiles

  • Sales and Service activity and logs
  • Marketing activity and logs
  • Social media engagement
  • Customer surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Advisory boards
  • Customer websites and press releases

Market

Intel

  • Competitive profiles and activity
  • Entry of new competitors
  • Changes in supplier behavior
  • Changes in customer behavior
  • Political and legal environment
  • Environmental and economic conditions
  • Social sentiment and opinion
  • Technology advances
  • Increased popularity of substitute products
  • Competitive analysis
  • Industry reports
  • Analyst reports
  • Advisory boards
  • Supplier and partner meetings
  • Technology research
  • Academic research
  • Industry conferences

Analyzing and sharing customer and market information

Best-in-class companies understand the benefits of sharing intelligence, such as:
  1. Improving decision making across the company
  2. Developing a state of shared situational awareness across the organization so that individuals and departments work together
  3. Supporting learning

Best-in-class companies put systems and people in place to make it easy for stakeholders to access the information they need, when they need it. This is the opposite of dumping information into a repository, then expecting others to find it, or expecting others to perform complicated spreadsheet operations to get it into a format they can use, or restricting access to only a few people. Some people do it that way, but we can do better!

It might be necessary to educate folks in your organization that sharing intelligence across the company is not a “one and done” activity, rather, it requires continuous effort and attention.

Sharing information also means that someone must facilitate the flow of information, make the information searchable and findable, grant user permissions, enable both push and pull retrieval, encourage collaboration, and enable people to generate insights from the information using tools such as Einstein Analytics.

Making decisions and taking action

In most organizations, it isn’t enough to just share information and assume that the right things will happen. In reality, thoughtful business decisions need to be made, and actions taken for customer and market success.

To do this, the intelligence needs to be carefully interpreted, and creativity and vision used to create viable plans. Often, the appropriate decisions and actions are not obvious from the data. For example, customers do not always know what they want, or might have difficulty expressing their needs. Or, significant market forces changes might not be apparent at first. In other words, decisions can be tough to make—largely because intelligence is almost never 100% perfect.

Once a decision is made, the organization needs to focus on flawless execution. As you know, a good decision with excellent execution is way better than an excellent decision with flawed execution.

Summary

As an admin you play an important role in the three essential customer- and market-driven activities. A well-designed and implemented Salesforce solution provides critical customer insights and trends, facilitates sharing of market insights with those in the field and in-the-know, and serves up reports and dashboards that aid in executive decision making. You are in the intelligence business! Let’s take the next step in the following unit.

Resources

  • Jaworski, B. J., & Kohli, A. K. (1993). Market orientation: antecedents and consequences. The Journal of Marketing, 53-70.
  • Porter, M. E. (2008). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. Simon and Schuster.
  • Darroch, J. (2005). Knowledge management, innovation and firm performance. Journal of Knowledge Management, 9(3), 101-115.
  • Bossidy, L., Charan, R., & Burck, C. (2012). Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. Random House.
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