Shifting Focus from Products to PROSPECTS
This ‘challenger’ mining company in Africa was up against major suppliers around the world. Their core product was a low-margin commodity, and they were losing economies of scale to larger producers. They were looking to build their volume to gain scale as well as expand into new areas… that had even stronger competition!
Internally there was no agreement on direction, or even what the problem was. Typical of engineering firms, the focus was on the product, putting the marketing team in the position of “finding buyers” for what they produced.
To avoid the ‘not invented here’ phenomenon, we started by engaging the management team through in-depth discovery sessions that uncovered each stakeholder’s initial position on the market, their company and their future.
We then interviewed current and prospective buyers from around the world. This gave us with an independent view of the company, its competitors, and most importantly, the criteria that drive supplier selection. We compared the internal assessment with that of external customers,
Armed with this perspective, we headed back to rally the troops and plan a course of action. We presented our findings and engaged the entire team in voting on the strongest alternative actions, which we presented to the president.
The entire company — from the lowest member of the product team to the president — has embraced the goals we identified with the team. The strife in perspectives has disappeared, and there is great energy to address the many challenges we identified.