Most business leaders have bought into the concept of customer obsession. But in an uncertain economic climate, plans to operationalize it can slide. That’s a critical error: Centering your leadership, strategy, and operations on your customers — the very definition of customer obsession — is precisely what will help you thrive. Outdated, short-term strategies that focus simply on extracting value from customers will fail.
Aligning customer-facing and technology functions around customer value — building your customer-obsessed growth engine — is foundational to driving consistent growth, profit, and retention. When internal stakeholders and functions fly in formation, everything moves faster — including your growth curve. Firms with high levels of alignment across their customer-facing functions reported 2.4 times higher revenue growth and twice the profitability growth of those with no alignment in a recent Forrester survey.
Pursue The Right Kind Of Alignment
Most business leaders recognize the value of alignment. But not all forms of alignment lead to competitive growth. Aligning teams around internally focused constructs, for instance, can result in inefficient processes and irrelevant goals and metrics. To power your customer-obsessed growth engine, a shared focus on customer value must be the starting point.
Each team has its own valuable and unique perspective on the customer — so bring teams together to build a collective understanding of customers, create new ways to deliver value, and lean on each other’s strengths to move faster. Our new customer-obsessed growth engine research explains where to begin this work:
- In B2B organizations, fully aligned marketing, product, and sales teams can supercharge customer-obsessed growth and deftly navigate complex buyer dynamics. B2B marketing leaders are steeped in buyer needs and likely have the best understanding of the full customer lifecycle. Sellers know which opportunities they’re winning and how they’re helping the buyer purchase. And product teams are continually solving problems and identifying future unmet needs that can spark future sources of value.
- In B2C companies, the marketing, customer experience (CX), and digital functions are the power trio. B2C marketing leaders create brand experiences that inspire devotion through intimate customer knowledge, while well-functioning CX programs improve customer experiences through voice-of-the-customer research and inclusive design. Digital teams focus on core digital products, services, and sales — and can set the pace of the growth engine by connecting and maturing digital skills and processes across the collective team.
- Technology leadership, architecture, delivery, and security teams also play a critical role. Working in concert with customer-facing teams, they can magnify impact by aligning to quickly meet future customer needs with adaptivity, creativity, and resilience. Firms that have reset their tech strategy to be customer-obsessed see higher revenue growth than those that don’t, Forrester’s 2022 data shows.
Clients can read our full overview report, The Customer-Obsessed Growth Engine, or anyone can download our B2B, B2C, and technology reports to learn more on what it takes to build, run, and continually optimize a customer-obsessed growth engine. Use these resources as a guide to position your company to thrive — both through the current economic uncertainty and beyond.