To a lot of organisations “Inside-out” is the only way they have worked their business, and rightfully so, it may have been a successful strategy when the customer was “unaware” of their needs and priorities. Service providers capitalising on their expertise and core competencies; exploiting their internal resources and their in-depth expertise to impress prospects. Does that sound familiar?
Current commercial environment demands we commit ourselves to customer insights more than our expertise. More so, considering our customers have abundant access to information on the internet to guide them through a decision-making process.
So, what is the big difference between the two – inside-out OR outside-in business strategy, what is better than the other and why?
The Inside-out strategy is strongly reliant on the inner or core strengths and capabilities of the organisation and their belief that this expertise will ensure the continuance of the business. Whilst they get busy with streamlining their internal processes and getting all the elements working end-to-end, they lose sight of what is most important to a customer i.e. providing their customers with an experience that will keep them coming back for more.
Understandably, a lot of organisational leaders shy away from changing their thinking from inside-out to outside-in. Their focus is primarily on day-to-day management or what is otherwise also known as “the whirlwind”, which restrains them from thinking about the big picture. It requires strong leadership to take the painful decision of thinking outside their comfort zones, ensuring a great customer experience, emphasis on innovation to identify with their customers’ needs, creating a value chain to improve customer’s processes.Two elements of a business strategy that are critical for its success are:
- The ability for a service organisation to adapt to the changing market needs and
- The commitment to provide customer value
The Outside-in strategy continuously focuses on creating a value-add to a customers’ internal business processes, rich customer experience and in general a strong focus on the customer success outcomes.
Organisations that are adopting Outside-in strategy are consistently being creative with the products and solutions they specialise in, to suit the demand of their customer’s needs and buying behaviour. They are either creating solutions to suit their customer needs even before their customers are becoming aware of such issues or at the very least are in line with their customer’s thinking.
Typically, an outside-in organisation focusses on the following elements:
- What are the available growth markets for our business?
- How can we exploit available opportunities?
- How do we work with the new trends in the marketplace?
- How do we serve the needs of our customers in a better way?
I get approached by organisations claiming their success has been on the strength of their expertise. Which is all very good, but most times they are not aware that there is more competition than there was ever before. The customer has moved on from being guided to guiding themselves. Most meetings take place when the customer has already decided on the tool that will help them in their journey.
So, how much do you know about your customer and what can you do to help them? For more information, reach out to me.