During these tough economic conditions, many companies have turned to a strategy employed in the 1980s and 1990s: buying companies to create a larger portfolio of products and services for their clients. Just within MindTree’s industry, we have seen Dell, Xerox, and HP all acquire services companies this year. The hope is that by casting a very wide net, large conglomerates are well positioned for most IT opportunities that are presented to them.
This strategy is wrought with many concerns in my opinion. One concern is that the acquiring companies are about products; and the acquired companies are about people. Marrying these cultures so they peacefully coexist is very hard to do.
But what I want to discuss in this blog concerns sales and marketing organizations. Companies with complex offerings and broad product/service offerings need to harness the plethora of disparate marketing messages they are (unwittingly) communicating to their key clients. It must become our job as sales and marketing professionals to confront the complexity of our organizations and ‘shield’ this from clients.
How is this accomplished? The solution lies in creating new approaches to strategic account programs to help match the right messages and capabilities to client’s problems. Instead of having different sales reps assigned to different buyers within an account, companies will be better off assigning a single account executive, supported by an account team of pre-sales specialists, to a client. The account executive cannot be expected to have deep domain knowledge in every area of the business. But he/she can be expected to coordinate, to orchestrate, the communication between the account team and the client.
In the transformation process to look and act like one company, marketing organizations need to ramp up their own programs to provide the right field support on an account-by-account basis for key clients. Marketing and sales professionals must work together to convince senior management that staying with legacy sales models is not the right approach to take.
Are you and your company up to the challenge?