Verve Consulting

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Improving global collaboration

News Archives

Improving global collaboration

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Strategy implementation for a global telecommunications group

This leading telecommunications group needed a well-defined, global, change management programme to drive improved collaboration across international boundaries and business groups.

The client wanted to improve efficiency and effectiveness through greater collaboration between its subsidiaries around the world. To achieve these aims the client developed and planned to introduce a common global business networking tool.

A major internal change programme was essential in order to achieve these objectives and, after a slow start using internal resources, the Client brought in Verve Consulting to re-establish the implementation of this global change programme. Verve Consulting had previously worked for this client and demonstrated its skill in achieving results in large international programme management, which combined business issues and technology.

Working closely with the selected members of the client’s Board and other key staff, Verve initially developed a plan to deliver the programme on time and within budget. The complex nature of this strategic work demanded an equal measure of experience in large-scale technology projects and sensitivity in managing behavior change with culturally different groups and diverse working methods.

Verve established ownership for delivery of the key work streams in the plan and developed relationships with key stakeholders around the world, and in the global business units, to gain commitment to implement the changes required. As part of this work, Verve coached a new internal programme director to take over the work when the first, key milestones had been achieved.

Verve led the direction of the plan which covered over 30 countries and included the standardization of IT hardware platforms, specifications of user requirements for the applications, engaging the community to develop the content for the first phase roll-out of the system, setting up common user standards, gaining buy-in and traction with key influencers in the user community and homogenizing different company practices around the world.

Verve’s leadership of the programme resulted in a successful outcome for this global telecommunications company. The launch of the tools and global roll out was delivered on time and to budget, with users actively bought in to the new, standardized business networking systems and the company benefitting from a more efficient way of working.

Selling the intangible

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Marketing strategy for a multi-national services business

You know you should be selling ‘value’, but value can be hard to define, value can be ‘intangible’.  But once you realize that value is expressed in terms of what the customer believes you can do for them, and what that’s worth to their business – then creating propositions and shaping deals becomes much easier – and much more sustainable.  This is hard enough to do for a market you already understand and it gets so much harder to do when you are moving into a new market … like the organization in this story…

This on/off shore, multi-national business services organization had been spun  out from a large airline in 2002. It had well established legacy businesses in a couple of verticals but wanted to expand into others.  However the company had no experience of entering new markets and winning new customers, having always relied on incremental business from existing customers.  The Venture Capital group who had financed the spin out had high expectations and the management team were being put on the spot to deliver.

We worked with the organization to develop its go to market strategy sector by sector with marketing plans and approaches to position the company in each market, clear value propositions built around what the customer needed backed up with focussed account plans for each key customer account.  We designed a smarter and shorter approach to the sales cycle which demonstrated fit and value early and helped them to qualify out so they didn’t pursue bids where they were unlikely to win so they could re-direct the effort to where it counted.

As a result the sales team were absolutely clear on what they were going after in each market, the sales cycle was dramatically shortened, and the win rate increased.

“Their input enabled us to become clearer about where we wanted to focus our sales and marketing effort and how we could communicate the value we bring to customers effectively and efficiently” Chairman

Shaping commercial relationships

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Global sales strategy with a leading Indian software company

Getting into a bad relationship can really hurt.  It’s in everyone’s interest to get the relationship to work, and to work at the right level.  Businesses interact on many levels, no one individual can own the whole relationship – but a team can – and a team acting in concert can build trust and enable partnerships that neither organization could previously have imagined.

This Indian software company realized they had lost focus in their sales approach.  They had become reactive and were falling behind the competition.  The needed to increase business with their key global account, but couldn’t get any traction through the network of dispersed local contacts around the world.  Locally relationships were good but there was no bigger picture.

We worked with the account team to identify and agree a global approach.  We wanted to get the whole global team directly involved.  We set about systematically building the customer relationship map, working out who the key players were, understanding their background and identifying if they were friend or foe.  Then we figured out who was best placed to work with them and what approach to use.  We also uncovered critical information about how the customers perceived the company and what needed to be done to address that.  We developed a value proposition and overall account vision, and derived focussed detailed action plans.

It didn’t happen overnight but the new approach paid dividends in the level of trust and built a perception of quality and commitment with the customer.  The team was focussed and energized as new opportunities began to emerge and revenues increased.

“The approach and input was very helpful.  It enabled us to focus and structure our relationship planning for our most important key account – this saved us a lot of time.  By building a global account planning process and involving people from around the world we got complete buy-in from the whole support team.” UK Account Director

Building performance teams

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Team building for a UK IT services company

Every organization has teams – its just that not every team works as a team.  Teams don’t happen by accident, they happen as the result of thoughtful selection, team development and ownership of shared goals coupled with a common desire to achieve.  A high performing team really is much greater than the sum of it’s parts.

This UK based IT services company wanted to break into a new sector and build a serious presence – but they came from humble origins and were not seen as a player by the market.  Not only did they need to target new customers they also needed to shift to higher value deals.  So they brought in new sales people, but knew it would be an issue to mesh them with the existing team and deliver the challenging targets.

We worked with the team as a group and as individuals to agree clear business and personal goals – because we recognized that to commit to outstanding personal effort, each person would need to feel inspired by the challenge.  We used team building techniques focussed on the real business, creating a motivating vision, and making sure each person could see the part they needed to play to ensure they were successful.  We provided performance coaching for them individually and as a group to keep them on track with success.

The company pulled together, gained focus, impetus and traction.  They are now winning significant deals which have given them exactly the market presence they wanted.

“We became productive quickly, in fact we realized the expected benefits and more.  The team has fully met their goals and we have clear development plans for the future.” Senior Vice President

Strategy under uncertainty

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Strategy development for a UK technology company

Even very successful companies can become paralysed by the complexity of a changing market place, and plotting a strategy can feel like heading into thick fog, no visibility and no landmarks.  By using uncertainty about the environment as one of the metrics for characterising it a company can produce a map of the market based on uncertainty and can take a view as to how best to respond if certain things happen.  With this kind of planning ahead it’s possible to set out on an ambitious journey undaunted by the fog of uncertainty.  This is the story of one company who are now well along their chosen road…

This fast growing British company with a strong technology heritage had reached a critical point in their development as the founders departed and professional managers took the helm.  The company had conflicting internal views about the maturity of their niche market and about the overall technology adoption pattern in the wider market.

We carried out a strategy process which engaged customers, competitors, managers and staff in developing a view of the opportunities and uncertainties in this fast moving market.  Then we helped them to lay out an ambitious map based on the most likely future trends.

The result was a five year plan and a business case which managers and investors used as a basis for a successful public share offering.  The company continues to deliver 25-30% year on year growth while it diversifies out of it’s niche to provide a full technology service to customers.

We had many of the pieces but we couldn’t put the puzzle together, now the picture is clear and the organization is really energized.” CEO

We have learned to continually scan the environment and adapt to shifting opportunities and threats but we don’t loose momentum…” CFO

Climbing the growth curve

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Marketing strategy for a fast growing biotechnology company

Young companies or novel products often have growth projections which look like a hockey stick – slow start and then geometric growth, but they struggle to reach the elusive take off point.  Part of the secret is moving from selling to other like-minded enthusiasts to finding a true niche market where your product satisfies most or all of the needs.  Once established in that niche a company can start to build a more mainstream presence.  This is the story of one company who had exactly that experience…

This transatlantic company has been around for about 8 years, they had an interesting product in the competitive and innovative field of genomic research, but unfortunately had struggled to achieve real growth.

We visited Universities, Hospitals, and Laboratories and interviewed researchers at the leading edge of genetic medicine.  Interestingly those who were most enthusiastic about the product were those who were using it for clinical research close to the patient.  The technique offered a ‘gold standard’ in terms of quality of data on a result by result basis, which obviously appealed to clinical researchers who can see the potential for life critical decisions based on a single test.

We advised the company to re-direct their sales messages and marketing effort at this clinical niche, where they had a complete and compelling offer.  This moved them away from the larger but more competitive market for basic genetic research which relies on accumulating large databases and uses statistical methods, and where cost per test is the main driver of buying decisions.  As a result of this refocus they are now one of the fastest growing in their biotech sector.

“We got everyone together and listened to the findings and the conclusions, the recommendations were so compelling that we walked out of that room and started doing it…” CEO

Turning vision into reality

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Implementation planning for a leading UK charity

With a clear strategy in place for a major shift in their front line operations, a leading UK charity needed to ensure effective implementation to deliver the benefits.

This involved hands-on engagement from large numbers of staff, translating a strategic vision into practical activity. This was all done to a very tight time-table, defined by external factors. Verve worked intensively with key managers to finalise the design work. We then moved onto implementation of a plan that required coordination between all functions, with changes affecting all 750 staff.

A team of internal Change Managers led the process and Verve ensured that they were equipped with the skills needed for consistent, high quality management. The process has so far met all the identified milestones and been flexible enough to accommodate additional requirements that emerged during implementation.

Commenting on this phase of the project is the Services Director, “The challenge in this phase of the project was to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the key managers. In this respect, Verve’s work has been fantastic.  It would have been impossible to do without help and it has been useful to have consultants from ‘outside’ to act as a foil.”

Maximising business potential

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Strategy development for an international telecommunications group

To maximise new opportunities for next-generation technology, this leading telecommunications group needs to move fast to develop its international strategy and assess business potential.

A potential application for a new technology was being worked on independently in several different countries. Corporate management, however, wanted to combine these into a single strategic project and rapidly identify the total business potential for the group. The result was a complex project, which took place in several phases, all for completion against tight deadlines. They involved senior commercial and technology teams in each country, with group management and third parties. Verve audited existing national projects and then unified these into a single proposition for presentation to the group CEO.

In the next stage, Verve led operational management of country projects to ensure consistency with the Group’s strategic goals. This culminated in a forum which allowed the group’s senior team and their external partners to debate the opportunity, make their decisions on the business potential and agree the way forward.

The telecommunication group’s Head of R&D explains, “The job required a rare resource – experienced, senior, large-scale project management skills. Verve was ideally suited for what we needed. As well as bringing the operational project management skills, they skillfully managed the different cultures to draw great clarity of thought from our people, which helped ensure a successful outcome.”