The COVID-19 pandemic has put huge pressure on US businesses over the past 12 months, and put the strength of the economy (and its ability to recover) to the test. The increase in GDP in the third quarter of 2020, combined with the roll-out of vaccines in 2021 signal the beginning of a new phase for US companies in the B2B space. Here’s what we’re expecting to see unfold in the months ahead, as more companies orchestrate the transition from cash preservation to driving growth:
B2B companies will continue to pursue multiple concurrent ways to recapture headroom for growth, but they will push harder on the strategy. We saw this approach take hold mid-year 2020. There are still plenty of uncertainties about the pandemic, with the ultimate, lasting impact on customer demand remaining top of mind. That’s why companies are willing to actively change so much. They’re experimenting in real time and adapting as they go. As a result, aiming for incremental changes is the preferred approach, rather than one big bet.
The fruits of innovation will emerge from investments into digitizing every aspect of commercial interactions, or end-to-end customer experiences. Many companies are speeding to adapt to remote work. Now we’ll learn who’s figured it out. Who’s managed to skip past shuttered industry trade shows? Who’s secured new loyalties through on-point digital revenue marketing campaigns? Where are viable alternative revenue models, like subscription or consumption being rolled out successfully?
The next six months will test capacities to be agile. Many companies will be challenged to adopt an experimentation mindset within and across all of teams responsible for revenue growth. Capturing new types of data is a part of this. Fresh insights will guide actions and collective decision-making on what going back to normal will look like. How can you prioritize for both the short and long term at the same time? An RCC for front-end functions can help.
When time is of the essence, organizing yet another virtual meeting slows you down. The fact is, tighter coordination across marketing, sales, product and pricing is the key to moving quickly. This is where an RCC comes in, allowing leaders from front-end functions to more effectively manage quality. An RCC measures whether the experience is simple and compelling from the B2B customer’s point of view. For example, they’ll probe whether marketing messages are clear, whether offerings can be consumed by a customer without traditional on-site support or if pricing is simple and predictable. An RCC gets everyone in the same virtual space to act off the same data. This way they can prioritize investment and tactical moves to accelerate revenue.
The RCC concept should sound familiar to any company that’s gone through a major deal. It’s how an integration room functions. Departments that don’t typically work side-by-side come together to identify the most efficient way to integrate. There’s a single purpose to the exercise: to make the deal work as fast as possible and address critical dependencies on tricky business issues. An RCC uses the same idea.
For some companies, an RCC may be a temporary fix meant to signal changing priorities. For others, it could become a permanent fixture. The trend toward more tightly integrating front-end functions has been underway for some time.
An RCC works when leaders across different functions agree on the levers likely to drive growth and the data they’ll need to capture insights and measure success. Technology and real-time data and insights are at the heart of an RCC, meaning that department leaders can quickly respond to market changes and drive new revenue.
Already, leaders across marketing, sales, product and pricing are responding to rapid changes across their industry and in customer expectations. For example, marketers are streamlining online and low-touch transaction processes, doing away with multi-step purchasing processes driven by phone calls and emails. Product developers are building virtual training and digital communities to help promote adoption of subscription models for products.
Insights from data can help generate revenue in many ways. They can:
To be sure, companies are likely to face obstacles. For a Command Center to work, leaders will need to address the following institutional challenges they’ll likely come across:
Reluctance to act decisively on data insights. Many companies continue to struggle with acting on insights derived from data in real time. Do people have access to the information they need? Is the organization capturing the data to create insights? By streamlining data availability and using advanced analytics to develop proprietary insights, business leaders can add predictive power and agility to their organization.
Resistance to collaboration and cross-functional experimentation. Leaders tend to operate within their own functions instead of navigating across the enterprise. This inevitably slows decision-making or worse, acts as a block on the kind of experimenting and learning that can carry an organization through disruptive periods. When functional leaders aren’t tightly coordinating, too many initiatives are given equal importance, which makes it that much harder to focus their energy on the specific initiatives that generate optimal revenue.
There are many other growth levers to consider, but establishing an RCC can help companies clear a path to set fresh priorities. By evaluating the same data and insights, members of a RCC can build on successes and reassess efforts that aren’t producing the results they expect. t’s what everyone should expect more of in an agile organization.