As we have discussed in other blogs, portfolio serves as the linkage between your organization and the value and outcomes you provide to your client. Looking at the critical functions to winning in a market segment, Portfolio defines your “Where to Play” or “Where to Act” strategy, effectively:
• Providing specificity for not only what needs to be offered – but why, and
• Defining entry points into market segments and specific customer accounts and
• Creating the “how” to create and realize pull-through opportunities (i.e. customer journeys).
However, while most companies agree with this description of portfolio’s strategic role, we consistently see organizations use portfolio as a catch-all at the end result of market sizing and R&D. Oftentimes, organizations fall prey to a “Typical State” portfolio that acts as a broad offer/sales catalogue over time:
Some of the common struggles of organizations in the “Typical State” include:
• Becoming overly enamored with market size and opportunity too early – and missing highly profitable segments that truly need their products and services and/or
• Lacking the patience to build their strategies before developing new solutions for a particular segment.
Building an Ideal State portfolio requires a different sequence of decisions. First, you need a robust and coherent segment definition. With where to play and act clearly understood, then define the segment-specific portfolio strategy to answer what you will address and solve for that segment. Then, determine how your current solutions fit for that market segment strategy, which allows you to prioritize new solution design to complete the puzzle required to solve your customer’s key challenges or opportunities. This may result in some high-value PS on the front end that is designed to pull-through much larger purchases.
There are 3 significant decisions to make when building a market-back portfolio that addresses your customer’s needs and drives significant value for both them and your organization:
1. What market segments and sub-segments are you truly targeting?
2. What challenges do they have that need solving and/or what opportunities do they have that we can help them create?
3. What solutions can we provide to address those challenges and opportunities?
We will dive into each of these decisions and their implications in later blogs in the series.
Written by: Mark Slotnik and Sarah Cushman
About the Authors:
Mark Slotnik has spent nearly 20+ years advising clients in the areas of designing and taking to market high-value business solutions, solution portfolio management, talent development, resource management, business process re-engineering and commercial software.
Sarah Cushman is a Senior Consultant with McMann & Ransford and has experience working with Fortune 500 companies to solve complex challenges, drive differentiation, and create long-term value.