How to Respond to Serious Legislative or Competitive Threats
Contributed by Paul Gille
(One of Cerius’ interim executives takes you inside an insurance company to see reinvention in action).
A leading health insurer with a commanding market share and an outstanding capital position has enjoyed significant growth in a very narrow segment of the market. Faced with health care reform, new executive level associates, and dramatic changes in the behavior of major competitors, senior management came to the realization that the sales platform was no longer adequate to serve the rapidly changing needs of the enterprise.
Taking a holistic look at the organization, we found that historically the marketing and sales engine had been mostly reactive, and the rest of the organization rushed in, with an all hands on deck response, to forge an acceptable margin reduction to win the day. Based on the company’s new aspirations we analyzed the company in relation to the market and developed a game plan that when executed would not only support the company’s current position as market leader, but allow for a greater level of innovation and customer value generation.
By leveraging the company’s significant strengths in cost leadership, and a positive “get it done” culture there is great value in sharing. Across the entire enterprise, there are proprietary insights into customers, competitors, products, processes, and emerging research. When engaged as a focused value proposition and leveraging enterprise strengths in the face of market disrupting technologies, we are able to make the company’s aspirations a reality. Working closely with senior leadership, we are implementing a multi-segment transformation plan. It includes specific goals for growth, retention, and the aligned framework needed to create a new level of agility and innovation.
The fundamentals of the plan involve:
- Setting an aspiration and enterprise level strategy
- Expanding the target market to engage greater opportunity and reduce risk
- Focusing on actionable market insights that change the level of customer engagement
- Embedding new innovation processes in product development, and delivery options
- Mobilizing and aligning the entire organization around sharing knowledge to execute strategy
The biggest organizational change, as it is for most organizations, is to recognize that everyone is responsible for marketing and sales, and this provides both opportunity and accountability by establishing a new set of relationships between the marketing and sales function and the rest of the organization.
Though it can be very difficult to effectively share knowledge in a large organization, however when leadership is sharing the ‘sales story’ with every department, the desired outcome is a level of alignment where there is an urgency to share both knowledge and information. The right information is provided to the right managers at the right time.
In essence, the enterprise becomes a marketing and sales vehicle, responsible for establishing priorities and stimulating dialogue throughout the organization as it seeks to execute an aggressive new growth strategy.