Technical and commercial excellence are not mutually exclusive.
But we often see teams who have built incredible technology with intense pace, rigour and clarity. However, often the principles which have underpinned the product evolution do not seem to translate to the commercial attitude and execution of the firm.
Technical viability (to an extent) is objective. It works or it doesn’t. We know when something is not working when it is broken. We know something is not complete because it isn’t working yet.
But commercial excellence is not so black and white. Opinion, nuance, shifting market dynamics, emotions and learned behaviour often leaves rigour compromised, debated or rejected.
What can you do to inject the rigour you use in the technical side of your business your commercial processes
Commercial actions need more precision
Technical actions are precise. ‘Fix this error’ is complete when the error is fixed. But commercial actions are too often high-level. It is not enough to say ‘Reach out to sweet-spot companies this week.’
- How many & what are we aiming for?
- What is the hook and ROI for that individual customer? How do we make sure they know that in every signal they get from us?
- What is the follow up cadence?
- What is the messaging and when does this need to be finalised?
Commercials need A/B tests and launch-dates too
With product, the obsession with A/B testing and timelines is rigorous. The subjectiveness of good commercial rigour however means the same is not true.
- Every different approach needs to be tracked. From messaging to response-rate, measure each month what has and hasn’t worked
- Work back from every target.
- For our F/Y ’21 target, how many customers do we need, and what is the current gap?
- If we carry on as we have today, based on pipeline health and conversion what is the gap?
The right steps need evidence
Technology naturally goes through iterations. It’s an iterative learning approach. We track errors and issues with tickets, and the problem is solved at pace. The same evidence-driven approach to excellence is often lacking with commercial. We make decisions from opinion, excitement, desire and what learnt at our last firm.
- “Shit in, shit out”. The data captured is often flat, sparse, and static. For example, the CRM data is a collection of barely populated inaccurate data. It’s difficult to drive the right commercial strategy from this.
- A prioritised look at the data we capture and will eventually show us what works, what doesn’t and what we should do.
So which elements of your technical excellence are not embedded into the commercial side of the business? Pick one area to inject commercial rigour into your agenda.