When assessing buyer-seller relationships, we tend to focus on elements of the relationship itself. Makes sense – at least superficially. However, when I evaluate the current state of buyer-seller relations, I feel like we’re evaluating a solar system minus a “hidden planet,” which is exerting an unexpected gravitational pull.
I suspect the unusually high ambient stress level people carry with them today is exerting that unaccounted for outside influence. Buyer stress appears to be introducing suspicion, mistrust and even conflict (all manifestations of stress) that do not stem from buyer-seller interactions themselves. Do you agree – or disagree?
Historically, virtually all corporate entities have been designed from production/service delivery out (inside-out). And a few unlucky companies have been designed from accounting out (upside-down). In either case, when companies try to redesign strategy and process from the customer in (outside-in), they run smack up against their organizational structures.
Inside-out and upside-down companies are aligned and managed around functions. Customer-centric (outside-in) companies are aligned and managed around customers. Unfortunately for customer-centricity, companies can’t get from A to B by throwing a switch. The journey is rough and risky, which is a core reason why most customer-centric companies either started that way or transitioned before they were fully formed.
Based on my experience, the alignment change issue stops more companies in their path to customer-centricity than even lack of executive leadership. Do you agree?
If you’d like to do a deeper dive on this topic here’s a new white paper (parts of which will be folded into the book).