Your customers are loyal when you provide them a Platform. Those same customers pick and choose based on price or spec sheet when you provide them mere point-products. A Platform approach rewards you and your organization with devoted customers with lower Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and higher Customer Lifetime Values (CLTV).

A Platform elevates your offerings from merely functionally adequate to a driver of an emotional bond with your customers.

 

To get there, you must set the standard across four key facets of your organization:

 

  1. Product Management
  2. Operations
  3. Human Resources
  4. Customer Success and Customer Experience

     

 

You must orient your organization around your customers. The Platform Transition Checklist Tool defines these critical areas and common challenges, evaluates your organizational readiness, and guides your efforts to transform your organization.

 

The reward for this internal consistency is lower Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) along with an appreciation for your products, your team, and your role in the organization. Doug Bain, an SBI principal, wrote an article on CAC and LTV that is an excellent refresher on the importance of these metrics.

 

Customers First

 

Superior Customer Success (CS) and Customer Experience (CX) motions drive your transition from point to Platform. For background on CS and CX, download the SBI CX Strategy 2019 Workbook. If you feel you have both nailed, benchmark your CS organization to discover the true maturity of your organization. Of course, you still need to deliver the best, cutting edge products.

 

The Best Products

 

As a product leader, you’re undoubtedly aware great products do not always lead to great commercial success. If you’ve managed to dodge first-hand experience, history is rife with examples of great, technologically-advanced products that ultimately flop such as BetaMax and TiVo (time.com).

 

Though great products alone don’t guarantee success, without them you cannot deliver the complete, end-to-end experience your customers desire. To create that experience, or Platform, your product lineup must underpin your transition to a Platform approach. Your Product Leadership drives the organization-wide change.

 

Product Leadership: Do You Deliver to Your Customers the Best, Leading-Edge Products?

 

As mentioned above, product excellence is a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement to build your product Platform. Product Leadership, the ability to deliver the best, leading-edge products, requires you focus your product development strategy on Purposeful Innovation.

 

Merriam-Webster defines innovation as:

 

  1. The introduction of something new
  2. A new idea, method, or device : NOVELTY

     

Innovation by itself does not lead to commercial success nor can it alone form the basis of your product Platform. Standalone innovation leads to more TiVos: cool products that don’t meet the demands of your customers, the demands of your internal organization, nor the demands of the market.

 

To differentiate your products, focus your innovation in a purposeful manner to meet key customer, organizational, and market requirements. Utilize Purposeful Innovation to shape your product portfolio and start the transition toward a Platform.

 

Purposeful Innovation

 

Three motions separate Purposeful Innovation from the innovation that leads to TiVos:

 

  1. A crystal-clear product strategy
  2. Organization-wide stakeholder integration
  3. A well-coordinated market introduction

     

Each of these motions focus your innovation and product development efforts on what matters: what your customers want, organization-wide orientation around your products and their strategy, and the appropriate go to market motions to introduce and ultimately sell your products. Without them all, you won’t get there.

 

SBI’s Revenue Growth Methodology, or RGM, allows you to accelerate your rate of revenue growth through functional alignment of the strategies of product management, sales, marketing, pricing, and human resources.

 

Specifically, the three-step Product Strategy step provides in-depth guidance on Product Planning, Product Principals, and Go-To-Market.

 

We’ve worked with hundreds of companies across dozens of industries to develop impactful, growth-spurring product strategies. That experience helped us identify the most common gap in each step, gaps that threaten to torpedo your Purposeful Innovation. The RGM details each step along with implementation solutions.

 

Let’s turn our attention to common Purposeful Innovations barriers, the gaps that threaten to derail your transition to a Platform strategy.

 

Three Gaps

 

Gaps in product strategy are as common as they are lethal. Each has the power to stymie your development efforts and derail your transition from point-product to Platform.

 

Does your organization:

 

  • Lack formalized Product Lifecycle Management?
  • Lose innovation due to project-specific enhancements?
  • Lack “packaged releases,” leading to lagging visibility by all functions and customers?

     

Loose or Non-Existent Product Lifecycle Management

 

Remember, a clear product strategy is the first requirement to transform innovation into Purposeful Innovation. Without a formalized lifecycle management process, you can’t translate your product strategy, no matter how clearly defined, into Purposeful Innovation.

 

Niche Product Enhancements

 

Everyone wants a say in how your products look, work, and interface. The gap arises when one group or project dictates the enhancements through the product lifecycle. Each project-specific enhancement bumps the product further from your carefully-defined product strategy. Before long, your product no longer fulfills its obligations as part of your product Platform.

 

Incoherent Product Launches

 

If you don’t carefully orchestrate your product releases, you lose impact potential. When different constituents, internal and external, are aware of different aspects of the product launch or enhancement release, you can’t maintain a cohesive, compelling narrative.

 

Beyond Product

 

Your products are a key element of a point-product to Platform transition. The best, cutting-edge products are the cornerstone of your Platform, though you can’t do it on your own.

 

A successful, compelling Platform requires organizational excellence across these additional, non-product key functions:

 

  1. Operational Excellence: Do you deliver the best total cost package?
  2. Customer Intimacy: Do you deliver the best total solution through personalized services?
  3. Employee Empowerment: Do you create the best possible workplace culture?

     

To affect change across these non-product facets of your organization, download the Platform Transition Checklist Tool.

 


 

Additional Content

 

Schedule a working session at SBI’s Studio.

 

Located in Dallas, TX, our facility offers state-of-the-art meeting rooms, lounge, full-service bar, and a studio used to tape our TV shows. SBI provides the location and facilitators, all at a compelling price point.

 

As a guest of The Studio, you’ll get unlimited access to SBI’s CEO, Partners, and a handpicked team of experts.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Traenkner

Helps companies overcome their biggest sales and marketing challenges to accelerate revenue growth.

As a Management Consultant with a solid technology background, my expertise is in creating and executing strategies to resolve business challenges. Being effective, though, also requires strong leadership skills. Among those, is my ability to …

 

  • Establish and maintain client relationships. Even with client-side turnover and reorganizations over the past 5+ years, I have built and nurtured enduring client relationships. One such relationship has generated over $1M in business revenues over the last year, with the opportunity to enter into a new market with an existing client.
  • Provide analytical leadership, structuring unstructured problems, suggesting and developing frameworks to resolve unique business challenges, guiding model development, troubleshooting issues, and guiding project teams. In one instance, I collaborated on an extremely complex contracting situation with multiple levels of stakeholders and a wide variation of control, in an area where the company had very little experience. I developed a new approach and model to assess market potential and led development of the internal approach.
  • Develop and mentor high-functioning, global teams. My philosophy in developing people and investing in their career growth has led to deeper personal relationships that translate to personal and professional development that benefits them and the company.
  • Manage beyond the present, which translates to being a forward thinker and then following through with the requisite actions to achieve the goals. Staying on top of industry trends and linking those trends with specific outcomes, has not gone unnoticed by my employers.
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