Cross-sell is dead

Every companies’ strategy mentions owning the full customer relationship as a key goal. The thinking goes somewhat like this.

  • We have identified a customer need in a super specific niche area inside a large industry vertical.
  • Once we acquire this customer for this super specific need, we want to continue serving them and building a relationship with them
  • This same customer has varied needs that exist in the large industry vertical, a vertical that is unnecessary complex and filled with incumbents offering poor products.
  • We will build products that address all their needs. We will cross them into all these products
  • The customer is happy as there is only one place to go for all his needs
  • We will own the customer for everything they need in that industry vertical – we build high LTV
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Anti Pattern – The Head Of problem.

The anti-pattern I’d like to explore today is what I affectionally call the head of problem aka senior’itis. In my experience, this is the factor in org design that increases burn and bureaucracy. This anti-pattern is lethal for companies.

It starts off quite innocently. Let’s assume you are the CEO at the early stages of a company and you have identified a problem to solve, say in the general area of customer support. Customer support as a function doesn’t exist yet. You ask around your peer group, you look at successful companies and then you make the common mistake – you get afflicted by senior’itis. You decide that you need somebody senior to run that function, you need somebody who has done it before somebody with pedigree. You need a Head of customer support. You then spend a lot of time trying to woo the right candidate, the one that checks all the boxes. You hire him after a long drawn out courtship. You are happy, your customer support problem will be solved, you have found the right person. You have hired a person who will take accountability to solve the problem.

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