8/8/12

The Cross Marketing Challenge

Enterprise by Design (Part 4)
In an ideal world cross marketing products, services and value would occur in an enterprise like dominoes creating a ripple effect through the company resulting in additional sales each time a lead, customer or transaction occurred anywhere in the enterprise.

That concept is the dream and objective of the enterprise but rarely has a real chance to occur.  The reason is that there are no systematic pathways of processes in most companies to facilitate the process and few rewards for additional effort.

Most companies initiated from a core business.  The ownership saw opportunity to sell products and services under the company to the same set of customers which created an added value of convenience for the customer and company alike.  However since it was very important to keep the core business machine producing it created a silo effect.

The silo effect was the result of each business component growing with relative independence to all others.  Each had different leadership, different sales teams, and different incentive/compensation systems.  Right from the beginning, a new hire from orientation through training and recognition received for achievement was on a path to contribute to the silo they had been hired into.  The information and introduction to other components of the business were there and the opportunity was there but it was not on the path, most often it was on branches that required taking a bit of detour from their primary path.  When it occurred, it was seldom by plan.

Marketing personnel also tended to be focused on the silo where they had been assigned responsibility with little training in thinking of integrated marketing that potential would have multiple touch points and potential results.

The sales teams did not have real cross market understanding of how to integrate opportunities into sales and in most cases see little if any compensation for their efforts if they do try.  In some industries this has led to business being referred to a friend who at least appreciates the effort or a company who will exchange something of value directly to the sales person with no benefit to the company.

Management teams viewed cross selling as an additional responsibility bringing more problems and challenges for them to deal with in transactions.  Since most managers also need the respect, loyalty and like of the people they manage, there were few reasons to invite the challenge, especially if there was no compensation to be earned.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator) reports to the leadership gave great information on the state of the silos and the overall state of the enterprise but little information regarding the efforts or results of internal cross marketing.  As a result, the challenge was invisible until it reared its ugly head from time to time when a competitor directly benefited because someone in the company gave a reference to an outside resource.

The fix is not simple and it is multi-dimensional, touching nearly every component structurally and strategically for businesses who want to cross market.  There are both passive and active options to be considered for efforts.  It also requires a change in culture to incorporate enterprise thinking and a machine with well-meshed cogs to produce optimum results.  No contact should be forced to find resources internal or external to the company if they exist in the enterprise.  Nothing is impossible if it is incorporated in the mission and processes which support the mission, it is enterpriseby design.

For additional information on operational machines and KPI’s, you may want to read the Operations and Opportunities series.


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