Changing the way we interact with stakeholders

May 12 | 06 min read

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Get things done, then do them the better way, then put a structure to it. Algorithmic Jugaad for you.

Reading ahead, you will know the stories of how we were able to make better decisions and get better results keeping the spirit of Algorithmic Jugaad at the centre of it.

 

This goes back to an age-old problem of clients (Senior stakeholders) not giving us time for a Monthly Business Review (MBR) or Quarterly Business Review (QBR). In my opinion, it happens if the client doesn’t see value in our insights or doesn’t find us knowledgeable enough. This had to change.

Insights-

Making and presenting insights was an open canvas. We could experiment and give it whatever shape we like. In the process, we identified what makes a good insight – Is it data? Visual presentation of data? Or highlighting how KPIs are moving?
We then decided to make insights with whatever understanding we had, and improvised in an attempt to get answers from the clients themselves. We understood what type of data/reports/insights comes to them from their team and what KPIs they want to track.
But it is not all about KPIs, is it? It is more about the outcomes, that can be a combination of some KPIs. We made some basic ground rules for the insights that we would show to the clients, and build on them.
  • Increase in Sales – Everyone wants it, very few know how to get it
  • Growth – Not just in numbers but overall growth with better presence
  • Past-Present-Future – An insight should have all three
  • Management perspective- Don’t just want to see growth but want a better hold on growth and projections
  • Good or bad – Just make and present an Insight and come back with notes on how to improve it. It was not the easiest of things to see your insights bombing flat.
But things changed, so did we.

So now that insights are sorted, let’s move on to becoming as Knowledge Leaders.

The first lock-down was a blessing in disguise for this. We made sure we shared daily mailers using our blogs and industry updates (Thanks and hi-five team Marketing) personally to every stakeholder in all our accounts in a brief email/WhatsApp. A team member took it upon herself to compile this data and share it with everyone. *Some excel-sheets were hurt during this process*.

Skill Building

After this, it was time to focus on skill building and knowing the absolute end-to-end stuff of happening in the industry. This needed efforts in the right direction, everyone agreed and pulled up their socks. We mapped the skills which are imperative and made sure to work on them. The lockdown meant fewer in-person meetings and we decided to utilize this time by preparing ourselves for the future. We took a lot of skill-building exercises with respect to key aspects such as – Analysis, Presentation, Articulation, and Perseverance.

A lot of articles were shared, discussed weekly, debates happened, team activities with a focus on lateral thinking (some very fun and non-KRA related topics) happened, opinions were shared and we found ourselves more aware of the industry.
Now, time to use this knowledge
CXOs were clueless, possibly for the first time in their long career as there was little data to take informed decisions or form an opinion on what’s going to happen. Enter Bizom Associate Business Analysts. Along with the email communication we also focused on short calls discussing what’s happening in the industry, both – related and unrelated to Bizom. By the end of it, our relationship with most of the stakeholders improved. Even after fighting it out on Covid-19 discount, we were getting meetings (mostly) and stakeholders started calling us to know our opinion on a few things.
We didn’t stop at this though. It was time to put a method to it and make it a habit. During MBRs we started asking tough, hard-hitting questions, there was a well thought fallback plan if this approach back-fired (and it did a few times, stories for another day), another age-old habit of finish making an insight at the 11th hour was replaced with a 30 mins dry run a day before the MBR. Practising objection handling, double-checking the data, not leaving anything to chance.
The last thing left was to get time slots for MBRs from senior stakeholders of a few accounts, these few stakeholders have avoided MBRs and their mid-management filled in for them. We tried sharing insights on WhatsApp, insight summaries on email, and a lot of other things. We then decided to try another way and share half of the executive summary with insights in bold, informing that the remaining insights would be shared in person in the next MBR. Voila!
In the last 3 quarters, there could hardly be any CXO from any account who hasn’t met us, talked or listened to us, argued with us or bought something from us. No one in the team has any fear whatsoever about sharing his/her opinion on the industry with a CEO and we are still improving.
We are in a position where we are truly helping our clients drive business outcomes and grow faster. Many success stories where we have played our little part.
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