Financial Services company
Problem: The company provided financial, insurance-based products to two main markets. The first was major manufacturers of high-ticket-price products. These were sold to end-users by the manufacturers under their own brand names. The second was through over 22,000 small dealers direct to end users. These were sold under the financial services company's own brand name. New EU regulation meant that the major manufacturer market was going to be opened up to much competition. It was in this market that the company had become the market leader, largely based on extreme levels of customer service, providing highly customised products. The company was weak in the 'small dealers' market, which was where the future growth potential existed. The MD doubted the ability of the organisation to handle the degree of change implied in the needed change of focus.
Result: The dominance of certain non-sales and non-marketing functions was demonstrated. Similarly, the extreme level of customer service survived only because of the superhuman efforts and achievements of one individual in Operations. This was evidently not sustainable under the new conditions expected within two years. Sales and Marketing developed a new, menu-based system for customising quotes and new packages. This took about 90% of the effort out of that stage of developing new business.
The MD changed his own pattern of intervening with key accounts â€“ this provided much-needed time and space for Account Managers to negotiate more standardised deals. Finally, the most courageous decision made was to take no new orders from anyone for a period of three months. This allowed both a new database system to be installed and to enable the new, menu-based system to be setup and tested without impacting on key accounts.