B2B people
October 26, 2015

How is your People & Competency Development for B2B success?

By Peter Lavers

This series of blogs, from guest blogger Peter Lavers, explore how different aspects of Customer Insight can be used to drive B2B Customer Management.

For the second instalment, over to Peter…

Knowledge is the starting point for our Customer Attuned Assessment (CAA®) methodology, which is about building better relationships based on trust; working together for mutual commercial benefit.

The sub-sections that sit beneath the model (illustrated) have been arranged to give twelve “golden threads” of critical CM capability.

CAA model
CAA model

These blogs draw from the international research exercise undertaken in summer 2015 regarding their relative strategic priority, and the CAA® benchmark database.

B2B People and Competencies

People and Competencies” came out as 2nd priority overall in the research. A company that has this as a defining characteristic of its corporate DNA:

  • Sees them as a key competitive advantage
  • Consistently ‘lives’ its customer culture
  • Demonstrates high levels of knowledge, skill and attitude
  • Has customer management professionals with both broad-based commercial skills and technical expertise
  • Invests in its people to stay ahead of the competition
  • Hires for attitude as well as technical skill
  • Has no trouble attracting and retaining the best
  • Uses a customer-focused competency framework for staff development

The priority ranking by sector, region, business size and seniority are presented below. It shows a range in ranking of 1st to 6th across all sub-sets, with the Americas being the only discordant result.

Table 2 Peter Lavers

These rankings confirm that staff interpersonal skills and account team stability will remain of vital importance within B2B: “Excellent customer satisfaction cannot be delivered unless employees are happy, emotionally engaged, knowledge empowered and willing to put in discretionary effort to deliver the company’s commitments” (Non-profit, India).

Competency Benchmarks

The chart presents the highest, lowest and mean (benchmark) scores for companies on the CAA® database for the knowledge aspect of this golden thread, which is all about staff knowledge, skills & attitude for good customer management.

Graph 2 Peter Lavers

The highest score ever achieved is only 65%, which is the equal lowest ‘best’ score of all the golden threads. This shows that insight for this aspect of customer management is still relatively immature.

The range between highest & lowest scores is the lowest of the 12, showing a capability ‘bunching’ around the benchmark.

The companies that have prioritized People & Competencies, therefore, have a good opportunity to differentiate themselves if they can beat these benchmark or top levels of capability.

The lowest score registered shows that some companies in the sector have little effective insight upon which to build their customer culture.

What you need to do to improve

In order to score well in this section of CAA®, a business needs to have solid capabilities in the following areas:

  • Do you understand what staff knowledge and customer insights are required for different roles that impact on customer management, ease of doing business or relationship quality?
  • Is access to customer information and insight appropriately and well-managed?
  • Do your Insight practices assure you against ‘tribal wisdom’?
  • Do you have a database of the competency profiles of all staff?

How about you? Would you say that Peter’s description rings true for your organisation? Have you managed to use insight skills to understand & best use your own people?