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Home arrow Marketing arrow Value-ology: Aligning sales and marketing to shape and deliver profitable customer value propositions


The inside of the organisation, in simple terms, is concerned with making sure it’s agile enough to deal with what’s coming at it from the sell side to drive innovation back into the buy side, or simply to deliver against customer requests. In this omni-channel environment this is becoming increasingly important as customers expect to be able to receive a ‘tailored solution’ at the point of interaction with a company website.

Underneath this heading the specific issues of the sector or customer could be about the customer experience, and there may be issues about how efficiently customer orders are being processed. There could be concerns around how the organisation learns from previous experience on the one hand to straightforward operating costs on the other.

If you decide to develop a proposition theme in this area it’s likely to be about how you can help your customers be more agile, faster or more efficient.

Buy Side

The left-hand side of the model is all about how the organisation interacts with its supply chain providing a strong tie back to Porter’s inbound logistics. Under this heading there could be issues relating to speed and quality of delivery, information transfer and costs of supply. There may also be concerns about supplier relationships. For the largest suppliers there may be issues around their providing innovation to help your organisation exploit new opportunities.

If you think you can help your customers improve their supply chain management you are likely to develop proposition themes that focus on supply chain efficiency, taking costs out of the supply chain. You may be able to support a theme that talks about improved availability or better overall supply chain management.

We would advocate taking more of a demand chain management (DCM) focus. This focuses on managing customer and supplier relationships aimed at delivering best customer value at least cost to the demand chain. If you believe that you can support organisations to improve their demand chain you are likely to develop proposition themes around speed, innovation and efficiency.

We have used this model to help organisations think about issues that affect their customers and to help them develop themes. We acknowledge there are other sources that can help you with inspiration. For example, in his article ‘The triple A supply chain’ (2004) Lee talks about how Alignment (shared incentives), Agility (ability to respond quickly to changes) and Adaptability (ability to adjust the design of the supply chain) can help organisations enhance the value they provide to customers. We have already introduced Jeff Thull’s work in his book The Prime Solution, where he categorises eight typical business drivers in three big blocks around Financial Performance, Quality and Competitiveness. They provide useful pointers that can help with theme development.

We still run into sales people from organisations who have used our simple value chain model who talk about it fondly as something they can use to anchor customer value conversations. At the end of the chapter we have provided a simple template that helps you think about the issues customers face under our simple value chain model headings.

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