Strategic Convergence: Workforce, Customer & Channel Performance Management
What goes around, comes around. Once again, in an evolving uncertain business climate, different relationship and performance expectations begin to re-emerge: “new” to some, “back to the future” for others.
Across every sector, a single-dimension focus on workforce sales is again beginning to reveal a fundamental weakness in representing success. As new and existing distribution models emerge and converge, as new channels of sales and service establish themselves, as both the workforce and the customer base begin to explore and seize new relationship opportunities, never before has it been more important to manage total relationship performance: the outcomes and value-propositions of all interrelationships between providers, customers, and channel partners.
The last time we were in this stage of the Relationship Cycle, the “sales culture” emphasis that was effective in the shorter term, exposed downstream structural weakness in customer and channel partner relationship profitability.
Most sales-focused performance management and incentive compensation programs that primarily rewarded volume production ignored customer relationship enhancement and retention. This resulted in high incidence of costly account and customer attrition, ruined relationship profitability, and led to steep declines in customer satisfaction. These consequences are re-emerging as customers explore expanding market opportunities and better service levels.
Today, more than ever, channel partner relationships also create significant provider-to-customer relationship dependencies. Managing the performance of post-sales channels of distribution and service will have more impact on providers’ abilities to maintain high-profit customer relationships and sustain competitive advantage.
Leading firms are deploying unified performance management and pay-for-performance reward automation systems that recognize both the initial and follow-up sales Events and the ongoing relationship Process, including partner-to-provider, customer-to-provider, and cross-enterprise provider-to-provider referral and service fulfillment processes.
Now, to fully converge strategy execution to optimize total relationship profitability, from the same customer-provider transactions enterprises can create and manage performance scorecards and performance compensation plans for their workforce and management (commissions, bonuses, merit pay), their customers (loyalty, frequent buyer), and their full-range of sales, distribution, service and support channel partners.