Navigating Go-To-Market Alignment As Your Portfolio Evolves
By Matt Troy, Director, Strategy
Recently at Dorn, we’ve been talking a lot about changes that occur in the marketplace or the business landscape that affect how your business is positioned to grow.
But oftentimes, the biggest changes you have to deal with are those that you create yourself. Many of our clients have either been recently acquired as a part of a mergers and acquisitions deal or, they have added to their portfolio on the buy side of an acquisition. Still others have aggressive ongoing new product initiatives that are constantly changing the landscape of what they’re selling, who they’re selling it to, and how they need to be positioned in the market to have success.
Common Challenges Surrounding Mergers & Acquisitions
If you’ve found yourself in either of these scenarios, you’re probably very familiar with some of the following challenges:
- After the completion of a round of M&A, your brand and/or your product portfolio have new overlap and possibly new holes that are more complex to navigate than you previously realized.
- After pricing or other competitive pressure, the market’s appetite and willingness to buy both your ‘better’ and ‘best’ lines of product is getting squeezed – and with it, both your top-line revenue and margin are as well.
- Perception within the channel of who you are as a company and how to best partner with you is outdated. Your channel partners and their salespeople see you as you were five years ago, but five years ago’s strategy isn’t really working in today’s marketplace.
- Internally, your teams know things have changed, and they’re looking to you to crystallize a strategy to move forward. You had a pretty good pulse on how things operated pre-M&A, but post-M&A, you don’t have quite as keen a sense of how your new inputs all fit together in the most optimal way.
Evaluating Your Go-To-Market Strategy
If you’re in a position similar to any of the four listed above, we recommend taking a good long look at your go-to-market strategy and evaluate at a high level the following factors:
- Overall organizational architecture. Has it been impacted to the point where any of your portfolio brands should be repositioned, or even consolidated?
- Once you’ve gotten your arms around the brands you think make sense to continue to support, do they mean – or should they mean – the same things in the market that they did before?
- In the new reality that the answers from the above questions create, is there congruence with what’s best for the organization and what will optimize channel-partner performance?
- If not, what’s best for the customer and the in-market end users?
- And then based on what’s best for the customer, what gaps are there between where you are today as an organization, and what the above answers tell you is optimal?
Undoubtedly, answering the above five questions will snowball into creating at least ten more areas to investigate and probably twenty more things to address. The biggest piece of advice we give growth-minded executives when they’re in the process of answering these questions is to always work ‘customer back’ as often as possible.
For decades, industrial manufacturers, and even channel partners neglected the voice of the customer. As long as orders were coming in fast enough, who they were for, and why those customers needed or liked the product wasn’t as important to those that were further up the supply chain.
Listen to Your Customers
In recent years, manufacturers have realized the importance of informing their decisions with voice-of-customer research to better be able to serve end users. They’ve built end-user databases, they’ve started to work with customers more directly – in many cases, they’ve even started to sell direct.
However, simply building a database, and committing to an end-user nurturing program doesn’t guarantee much of anything if the organization isn’t set up to best serve its customers at every touch in the buying experience.
As you work your way back from the customer, all the way back to your executive suite, more times than not, we believe you’ll come back to your go-to-market strategy time and time again when it comes to getting things realigned for growth.
If this is you, and you’re in the midst of one of the four scenarios we laid out at the beginning of this article, Dorn is a team of experts who have come alongside executives like yourself for years in order to help you align your organization’s efforts to stimulate growth.
If you need help gathering VOC insights, interpreting them, or creating strategies to exploit what you’ve learned, give us a call; we’d love to chat.