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  • Writer's picturewilliam wright

Unified Commercial Engines 2.0

Change is inevitable

There's growing momentum around unification of commercial disciplines and for good reason. Radical change in commercial operations is almost inevitable as new frameworks, operating models and technologies unify strategy and execution around customers and opportunities. This has been 'on the cards' for a a long time. We first wrote about Unified Commercial Engines (UCE's) about 4 years ago, in our first blog on the subject Unified Commercial Engines, Sep 2020.

UCE backed by rigorous method

However, the concept of UCE's has been in development with Adaptomy for a lot longer through all our work on AdaptomyDNA a methodology and framework for commercial strategy and operations. We've helped many different corporates, ambitious SME and VC-PE backed businesses to transition from traditional functional commercial operations to more unified integrated ones underpinned by AdaptomyDNA.

Organising principles

In our previous paper we explained the need and value to build operations and organisation around the customer. This isn't Account Based Marketing, (ABM) which focuses on the most valuable accounts, the UCE approach applies to all customers, all opportunities. ABM only alludes to re-organisation, alignment between sales and marketing. In organising around the customer, UCE advocates all disciplines are organised around customers, in fact the concepts of sales and marketing as functions disappears, there's simply no need for these as departments or functions. The governing principle is to organise around clusters of customer touchpoints, experiences, or journeys, to align the business with models like the one shown below.

A new organisational model - POD's

By creating smaller, semi-autonomous organisations with all the requisite disciplines and capability to be commercially self-sustaining, businesses can amplify or increase concentration of customers, their needs and opportunities. Each POD is essentially self-contained, able to identify opportunities, plan, promote, sell and support it's own cluster of customers through each step of the model above. There are two ways to look at this:

  • POD's that manage everything for a group of customers from cognition to recommend

  • POD's that focus on one of the key stages like cognition or discovery and hand off to other specialised POD's

Both approaches are a step away from more traditional sales and marketing because they are organised around customers and their behaviours and not an internal function like sales or marketing - they are integrated and aligned with respect to customer preference.

There may be some need for multi-cluster governance, geographically or by some other industry or market grouping tom ensure overall alignment with business strategy and markets. This includes unification of overall strategy, performance management, brand building, data and insight, However, most of the time the POD's operate as an alliance, a confederation and coalition of customer focused, semi-autonomous commercial engines.

Going beyond organisation

Organising around customer touchpoints through POD's can bring efficiencies, it helps create a more agile and responsive business. However, everything still depends on the quality of execution, consistency of brand and alignment with overall business strategy. What's needed is a consistent shared operating model, an architecture to grow and develop capability and manage capacity. That's where AdaptomyDNA comes in.

AdaptomyDNA provides a unifying framework for consistent development of commercial strategy, operations, and capability. It helps optimise investment, compare, and build performance through over 60 commercial disciplines. It ensures that resource and capability, knowledge and insight are interchangeable and transferrable across POD's. It ensures siloes don't form around different practice, go to market strategy or operations and that best practice, new approaches and ideas are shared.

AdaptomyDNA is an underlying operating model and the key to effective UCE's. Without something like AdaptomyDNA any UCE is prone to decay and may simply create different siloes over time.

Without an underlying operating model like AdaptomyDNA it's difficult to conceive of effective ways to build commercial assets, intangible value, and intellectual capital with any degree of success. With an operating model like AdaptomyDNA investment and resource is more portable, flexible and can be directed specifically to disciplines that need it. In other words, the business can deliberately manage value across multiple disciplines.


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