In the first part of this series we discussed achieving productivity savings for an organization. In this part, we will focus on an utilizing technology to grow revenue for an organization. There is no better way to serve most clients than by helping achieve growth for their business. If you can align a technology solution with business growth, you will quickly become a valued partner.
Lets take a look at a real world scenario to why business growth is should always be a focus item when servicing your clients or employer. This is example is from a real world fortune 500 company that is known throughout the world. Currently I am working on several different projects for this company that revolve around productivity, but I am pushing hard to get into areas of revenue growth for reason’s which will become obvious. Here is a break down of this company’s past and predicted (numbers are slightly different to protect client identity, but overall trend is accurate):
Revenue 2012: $49 billion
Revenue 2016: $43 billion
Revenue 2020 (predicted): $33 – $35 billion
This company has faced a challenge in the market place. Its primary line of products have fallen out of favor due to a shift in consumers’ attitudes towards healthier lifestyles. Even though the company has a fairly diverse set of products that are attractive across all demographics, they have not been able to maintain overall market share. This company is going through sizable layoffs every quarter to stay ahead of the revenue erosion to try to maintain margin.
Productivity gains are are a critical part of this company’s plan, but it is readily apparent that this company cannot cut costs only to survive. They will have to find additional revenue growth or at least stabilize existing revenue quickly otherwise shareholders will eventually force the company to take drastic actions.
As a technologist, what can we propose to this company to help stabilize it’s business? At first it may seem like we will have to get extremely deep into their product mix, research, marketing, and overall strategy to make a difference. Eventually, that would be a great place to be as a partner, but you can still provide value by solving the basic problems any company in this situation has:
- Stop the bleeding of existing customers
- Identify potential new customers
- Identify potential new investments / acquisitions that will grow revenue
Each one of these items can be solved by various technology solutions, but all of them will require the company to undergo fundamental change in the way they conduct business. The technology can show them the path, but in many cases it will be an uncomfortable path for the customer to take and there will be resistance to change. To be successful you will need to overcome that resistance while implementing the technology solution.
Some solutions to each of these key challenges are:
- Execute a churn analysis and implement a customer retention strategy
- Market and customer segmentation analysis to identify underserved customer segments
- Predictive market and competitor analysis to identify new strategic opportunities
Technology can help with each of these analysis to give more accurate and timely results. In many cases the summary analysis can be done with publicly available data. Coming to a client meeting with such an analysis can go a long way to showing the customer that you invested in seeing them succeed and not just your own interest. Be prepared to get some feedback that your are missing key pieces of information to make the analysis accurate (which is probable). Take the opportunity to offer to include that data in the analysis and give a quick turnaround.
The initial set of analysis that you would want to perform for the client are well known and easily transferrable across different clients and industries. Our Azure marketplace has many Microsoft and 3rd party models already created to perform the various analysis and you will just need to plug in the relevant data and desired metrics for your particular clients.
Some key models to utilize:
- Customer predictive churn analysis models. For these you will need to some sample data from the client most likely.
- Customer segmentation and trend models. Various consumer research firms make subsets of data available that you can utilize (i.e. Nielsen). They also provide standard customer segmentation models that you will want to use so that you are talking in the same terms as the client’s marketing and sales teams. In addition government and health agencies also provide such data. You may also find valuable datasets on sites such as Kaggle.com
- Predictive models to show changes in customer behavior at a market level. You can utilize various aggregate sales data sources and sources typically used by financial firms to gauge new investments. In particular you want to highlight smaller companies that appear to moving fast in small, but growing segments. You want your clients to invest in companies when they are worth $100 million dollars and not when they are worth $5 billion and have already saturated a market niche.
Bringing It Together
Ultimately you bring all of this together into a concise story for your customer. For many situations the following statement would be a good starting point:
Our goal is to improve your key business metrics by identifying productivity and revenue generation opportunities through application of key technologies to analyze your internal performance metrics and the behavior of current and potential customers in the marketplace
From the initial engagement through maintenance of deployed machine learning models, you want to be consistent in your message that our success is always tied to the success of our clients. Don’t sell technology solutions, sell customer success stories!