Today’s post is brought to you by our guest contributor John Klein, managing director at Cevoh. Cevoh is a Management Consulting Firm that provides guidance to improve business equity along five key offerings: consulting, elevating customer value, validating performance drivers, optimizing results and harmonizing people assets. Visit www.cevoh.com for more.
In my discussions with a local media organizations and local search providers, there is a common pain point or thread that exists throughout the space. For most, the commonality that connects them is the need to develop robust digital offerings while managing an incredibly complex legacy business. At CEVOH, we’ve spent some time trying to better understand this, how the complexity happened and what to do next and I think there is good news to consider.
When you count all the products, items, rates, market prices, bundles, discounts and exceptions – a large multi-product publisher will have millions of iterations to keep track of. This sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. Much of this is with the legacy business, but some traditional publishers and digital pure plays have duplicated some of this complexity with their digital offering and the customers, reps and fulfillment groups struggle with this. It causes confusion around the value story, and there are too many choices.
The reps can’t keep up with all the products/prices and try to make-do while understanding the differentiators of choice because the increments between each choice are too small. Many reps tell me they have to pick a few ‘favorites’ to focus on. But this can make it hard to follow another rep and the ‘inherited complexity’ from separate companies makes it nearly impossible to “merge” and extract the efficiencies.
When it comes to the SMBs, they are interested in offerings that are more clear and transparent. Complexity is burning time and energy, bridling all employees. Innovation, systems and processes are taxed.
While it may seem risky to move away from a formula that has proven so profitable in the past, adapting to client needs and desires is more critical than ever in today’s market – a market that offers plenty of alternatives for an unsatisfied client. Simplifying the menu of services makes sense and can help drive some meaningful improvements to the space. Here are some of the benefits to this approach:
- Sales reps can focus on the value of each offering rather than trying to explain the differences and complexities. A clear, focused and easy to understand presentation is much more effective than a convoluted one and helps with a sales rep’s credibility.
- Clients are more willing to commit to purchase something they understand and are comfortable with. They are more likely to say “yes”.
- Clients will pay for “easy” as demonstrated by companies who have leveraged its sale-ability. Staples still uses the “easy button” effectively and Apple monetized easy over free when users migrated to iTunes from Napster.
- Removing complexity makes room for new/innovative products, important segmentation approaches and leads management initiatives that didn’t get traction before.
In summary, trying to transform the business to digital with all this complexity is like trying to run a race while pulling an old car. So view simplification as a way to lift your revenues and bring greater value to your customers.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to keep the conversation going.