We Are The "Middleman": Do We Add Value or Cost?

Monday, 17 December 2012 06:30
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With the end of the year upon us, most corporate workers are engaged in performance reviews where they and their managers reflect on performance and goals. Similarly, many consultants await their clients' and prospective clients' decisions regarding how they will direct their budgets in the coming year. The following thoughts are shared with these traditions in mind.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

We Are The "Middleman": Do We Add Value or Cost?

A time honored marketing copy phrase is: "We buy direct, cut out the middleman and pass the savings along to you!" Their message is clear: We want to eliminate unnecessary cost from our supply chain and create greater value for our customers.

Whether we are corporate workers or independent consultants, each of us is a "middleman". By this, I mean that each of us should consider ourselves part of a supply chain of sorts that exists to deliver a product or service to a customer/user. Viewed in this context, we must continually assert our value in order to justify our respective cost contribution.

I can sustain and grow my business only if I help my clients to deliver against their objectives, versus them seeking to do the work themselves or to choose one of my competitors. For instance, in my role as a technology scout in addition to providing leads, I typically also offer my perspective on various ways in which the technology can be positioned as well as the marketing claims that the technology will likely support. These inputs in turn, help inform my R&D clients' discussions with their internal customers, including Marketing.

With the above thoughts in mind, each of us should regularly challenge ourselves: am I continually seeking ways to add value for my customers and importantly, do I consistently demonstrate this? Do I approach my work with a sense of urgency and devise viable workarounds to avoid delays and overcome obstacles? Do I help to develop others (including my managers) to contribute further to my company's performance and well-being?

Always remember, each of us is a middleman. Each of us should be diligent about proving our value everyday.

Build The Business Case to Avoid Corporate "Black Holes"

If you are in an R&D organization, there's a good chance that you or your colleagues have new opportunities that you would like to share with your Marketing counterparts. The problem is: many R&D professionals don't really know how to frame new opportunities to a business team (versus a technical team)...and most Marketers don't have the time to translate these new technical opportunities into new business propositons. The result is that many potentially attractive opportunities fall into a "black hole"...and never re-emerge.

Recognizing this, some companies assign personnel to perform this "bridging" function. This player's role is to quickly and efficiently translate technical opportunities into business opportunities, including: framing the customer opportunity, ensuring strategic relevance to the company's existing business, dimension opportunity size, positioning, competitive context, and more. This "package" can then be reviewed and shared with Marketing if appropriate, to gauge interest and to collectively decide next steps.

BFS Innovations provides this service for clients. Call Michael today at 614 937-2408 to discuss.

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