Assumptions, your hidden but very painful growth killers

One of the most stunning things we encounter when we run workshops about strategy, is the confidence managers usually have with respect to knowing their customers well. When we confront them with questions such as “how do you  know this is exactly what your customers want?”, “how do you know this is the way to go?”,  they answer, almost by design, that they know “because we have been working together for so long”, or “because sales have very good contacts with the customer base” or “because we’ve been around for so long in the industry”, and so on.

 

Phantom facts are hard to manage. They can destroy what you cherish most.

Phantom facts are like castles built in the air, with assumptions being the little building blocks of the master plan.  And assumptions are growth killers. They kill painlessly slow. But the result is very painful.

How can we bring ourselves to making fewer assumptions?

In order to know what your customers need (what they need is not necessarily the same as what they want), you must have a thorough understanding of their way of thinking, their challenges, their problems, their dreams, their goals. You will not find out by asking, because people do not necessarily tell you what they need. They sometimes even can’t know because they are not always aware of all the possibilities around.

So, what do you have to do as a supplier or a manufacturer?
Watch, follow and listen carefully. Give the customers the floor. Give them the opportunity to show you things and to learn from them.  And close the gap between “thinking you know” and “getting to know”. When you talk, you can only repeat what you already knew. But when you listen, you may learn something new.

There is a popular saying in the United States, based on a very simple idea that when you take assumptions for facts, chances are you are going to make a fool of yourself and the people you are taking along with you.

ASSUME = making an ASS out of U and ME.

So, to summarise,  stop assuming. Instead, start on a journey to find out what really matters to your customers by keeping the dialogue open all the time. And finally, by developing your listening skills, you will gradually master the art of catching the difference between what they say they want and what they really need.

Simplification is not rocket science

Your product or service can be complex or hard to build.
That’s why you have a complex story to start with.
But what people buy from you must make their lives easier.
That’s why you need to listen carefully and simplify your story.

At Galland.be, we offer a simplification trail to transform your company into a future-proof organisation that is loved by its customers.

It will make you go:

  • From organization-centric to customer-centric
  • From selling propositions to value propositions
  • From complex to simple

How to transform in 3 simple steps?

I. Identity mapping

Your DNA: WHAT do you do for WHOm and HOW
Your Passion: WHY

II. Messaging house

Your secret plan to conquer the world. The essence of what you want to be and are going to say. A clear plan in which choices are being made. You cannot be everything to everyone. You make choices you stick to in a consistent way.

III. Go-to-market plan

Your tailor-made plan, translating the chosen strategy into a concrete action plan. It explains all the different steps to be taken to meet the goals that have been set.

Is it really that simple? Yes!

Contact us for a first informal chat.
Or just ask for a simple proposal.

Het DNA van een kampioen

Column zoals verschenen in De Tijd van 26 mei 2015.

“Ann, weet jij nog waar RNA voor staat?” werd me onlangs gevraagd op een investeerdersevenement in Brussel. Zonder verpinken kon ik me de volledige naam van de macromolecule zonder iteraties voor de geest halen: “RiboNucleic Acid of ribonucleïnezuur” zei ik, “op school geleerd, heel lang geleden.”

Maar eigenlijk ben ik meer geïnteresseerd in DNA (desoxyribonucleïnezuur) en dan vooral in de figuurlijke betekenis van het begrip: een unieke set van kenmerken die je maakt tot wie je bent en die je onderscheidt van anderen. Een begrip dat ook steeds meer bedrijven en merken gebruiken om duidelijk te maken waarvoor ze staan.

Continue reading

Competition: forget about the usual suspects!

When we talk to CEO’s and marketing & sales directors about competition, we often feel they are most worried about their closest competitors. Competitors that do exactly the same stuff as they do. Virtually every company gathers loads of information on direct competitors.

At first sight, there is nothing wrong with that. Following up on what your main competitors do is just fine. But only “just” fine, because it is the Olympic minimum. You will hardly find out more than the things you already knew. In the first place, it will give you a good understanding of what decisions or actions brought other players to the point where they are today. Secondly, it may help you to see your assumptions being confirmed.  In other words, you are looking into data of the past. Whereas the future of your company is… ahead of you. In the future. Exactly.

Stop focussing on the competition you know
Why? Because analyzing the past and analyzing the things you are more or less aware of,  will in no way show you your competitors’ next steps.

Continue reading

Every visitor a homepage

Web Analytics are great, they produce a lot of valuable data. But what you really need are actionable insights in what brings people to your site. What you need to know is what drives conversations, what motivates people to stay on your site, what makes them come back, or what tells them to leave or never come back altogether.

Far too often, companies and marketers see their homepage as their most important webpage. They see it as the virtual front door of their company. Which it is, up to a certain extent.
Continue reading

Waarom Kito Electrabel niet kan redden

Column zoals verschenen in De Tijd van 26 maart 2014.

Kito, de grappige energieverspillende hond van Electrabel, is weer helemaal terug. Kito die feestjes bouwt als de kat (lees: het baasje) van huis is, en daarvoor naar hartelust allerlei energievretende toestellen aanspreekt. Onlangs werd hij de trotse papa van vijf schattige puppy’s, wat hem meteen veel oh’s en ah’s opleverde bij iedereen die hem zo al schattig vond. Mezelf incluis.
Continue reading

Why you should stop doing marketing

We stopped doing marketing. We didn’t stop just now ; we stopped already a while ago. Because marketing the way we know it, is no longer relevant. The 4Ps are no longer a big help because they tell you to promote products to people at a set price at the places you pick. And that is what people are running away from. The same is true for the artificial split between B2B and B2C. You do not do business with businesses or consumers, do you? No, you do business with people. People with emotions and ratio.
Continue reading

contact us



Ann Galland
My office is where I am