Marketing Organization

March/April 2001
Marketing Organization

In working in strategic market planning with many firms, three relatively new issues seem to repeatedly arise. All three have a major impact on your firm.

1. Maximizing Work from Each Desired Market

In doing market research, one of the questions asked of clients interviewed is:

“If you could create a ‘Dream Team’ to
serve your needs, what would it look like?”

In municipal markets, for example, clients prefer the project manager and the project team to be nearby … typically within an hour or two … to both serve their technical needs and to get to know their town. Firms that provide a host of water, wastewater, road or environmental services to municipalities are therefore most often organized by geographic regions, and have many branch offices. Principals in charge of geographies are usually responsible for marketing to the municipalities in their geography … and for project fee volume and profitability.

In the Independent Power Producer market, on the other hand, clients want their contact person to be within a few blocks of their headquarters, if possible. Then they can be there whenever they’re plan-ning a new venture. They also expect that teams can be mobilized to do a project anywhere (often globally) they need a project done. Geographic organization for this market means nothing. Someone in charge of this market should focus on how many clients, how much revenue, and what profit level he or she can attain, regardless of where the project happens to be.

The problem: If a firm is traditionally structured to serve municipal clients, then tries to weave this type of industrial client into their business plan, the geographic divisions become barriers to their firm’s suc-cess. They can get into “turf wars” over who gets credit for what dollar volume and profit … and who controls each project.

It becomes a “Lose-Lose” scenario for the firm.

In his “Leadership Legacy” video interview, CH2M Hill’s Phil Hall shared his firm’s creating of a wholly owned subsidiary to serve desired industrial markets, because the origins of the firm focused on municipal, state and federal clients. The questions for you are:

What’s the ideal organization for
each of your desired markets?

And …

How can you mesh two
or more really different organizations
to create a single entity in which the parts
support each other (or at least co-exist) productively?

2. Maximizing Work from Each Desired Client

You’ve likely heard the term “Client Service Manager” bantered about over the past few years. Some firms have created their own variations of terms. What’s important is …

What are the roles for people
involved in helping your firm win work?

Here are three:

1. The “System Thinker” is to maximize the work you win from a specific client organization. He/she needn’t know any of the client individuals personally, but must ensure that a great interpersonal bond is built and maintained between someone in your firm and each client individual in that organization. This person’s effectiveness is measured by:

What percent of all work awarded to outsiders
does your firm win … and for how many years?

2. The “Client Contact” is the person responsible for identifying all needs that client has, regardless of technical skills required, winning as many projects as possible, and ensuring client satisfaction with project team efforts on all projects. This person’s effectiveness is measured by:

What percent of all work awarded by this person
does your firm win … and for how many years?

3. The “Project Leader” is the person traditionally responsible for ensuring a quality job is done, and done with reasonable profitability.

In some cases, the same person could perform all three roles. But it’s unlikely that the same person will have a superb interpersonal match with everyone in the client organization. And it’s unlikely that person will be well suited to every project situation. The greater the clarity of the three roles, and the effectiveness of the people in each, the more you can maximize workflow from each desired client organization.

3. Maximizing Staff in Each Desired Market

Later in his “Leadership Legacy” video interview, Phil also shared an observation about people’s “change metabolism.” He noted that professionals in his firm and those on the client side were considerably slower to change in, for instance, the Highway market than they were in, say, the Chip Manufacturing market. Consequently …

Fast-changing people who are constantly looking for a better mousetrap would always drive the highway client crazy! And his “slow-but-reliable” engineers would be an anchor around the neck of his Intel clients. He found that, in addition to the right basic technical background, “environmental” people (for example) working for municipal or highway or industrial clients really had to meet different expectations in how they worked with their clients, how decisions were made, and even how they produced their deliverables.

How do you measure each of your people’s natural style?

And …

How do you create client and project assignments
that take advantage of that style
… for everyone’s sake?

• • • • • • • • •

“Stu Rose and Lou Marines’Library of Leadership Legacies” in-depth interview of “Phil Hall of CH2M Hill” is a 4-cassette, 3½ hour video program featuring candid and insightful perspectives about a huge range of success strategies … plus commentary by Lou and me, to help you apply them. It’s an awesome program you really should have! Announcements are out. Phone to get yours or to order the video set.

A “Mastering Client Service Management” video description is also attached. It helps clarify CSM roles, and has input from three seasoned and proven Client Service Managers.

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