Taking the Measure of Your Innovation Performance

Many executive teams still treat innovation as a black box, the serendipitous achievement of a few gifted individuals. But our survey found that innovation leaders consistently outperformed laggards on five manageable capability areas. The disparity suggests that innovators rely on a systematic approach, not just on finding people who happen to be innovative.

Winning in Turbulence: Turbocharge Sales

When companies are hit with declining sales and shrinking margins, the options can start to look bleak. Attacking one challenge–by raising or lowering prices, for example–can make the other worse. But one powerful way to shore up both sales and margins in a downturn is to make your salesforce more effective.

Winning in Turbulence: Price for Today and Tomorrow

Most companies need to lower prices in a downturn. But the range of outcomes can vary widely. And pricing decisions made now are likely to affect customers’ perceptions for a long time to come. What matters most is how effectively companies manage pricing.

Winning in Turbulence: Protect and grow customer loyalty

Loyal customers cost less to serve. They concentrate spending with companies they trust. And they help stretch marketing dollars through word-of-mouth referrals. The powerful advantages of customer loyalty help explain why the biggest changes in market share occur during downturns.

Dianne Ledingham and Darrell Rigby

“Good revenue,” is the kind that’s predictable and profitable, and holds possibilities for further expansion. Bad revenue, in contrast, comes from customers that don’t value your core business proposition, requiring excessive customization, complexity or discounting, and causing the sales management team to lose strategic focus. Tempting though it may be, no company can afford bad revenue with its explicit and hidden costs.

The Power of Managing Complexity

Downturns reveal a company’s weaknesses. An organization that seemed nimble and focused during a period of expansion may be sluggish and ineffectual when faced with declining demand. Its very survival may depend on determining which products are making money, what customers really value, and which organizational bottlenecks are getting in the way of effective action.

Taking Advantage of a Downturn

Call it a trial by fire, but a recession may in fact be good for your company.

The story behind successful CRM

The first step in leading a successful CRM program is to develop a robust customer strategy based on good old-fashioned customer segmentation. Step two is to realign your organization to support this plan. Third, provide the right tools and technology to support your customer strategy and realigned organization. And at every step of the way ask yourself whether customer loyalty could be better promoted by … [ Read more ]

Debunking layoff myths

Popular wisdom says layoffs are the reflex response for most businesses when the economy weakens. But Bain & Company’s year-long analysis of layoffs at S&P 500 companies proves that wisdom wrong. The results debunk four myths about downsizing. They reveal that: not all companies go into automatic layoff mode at the first hint of downturn; big job losses can actually hurt stock prices because they … [ Read more ]

Making CRM Work

Economic turbulence is forcing companies to sharpen their focus on customer loyalty. But a promising technique that emphases loyalty-building — Customer Relationship Management programs, or CRM — is falling flat. Bain’s Darrell Rigby and Fred Reichheld offer insights on turning the promise of CRM into profits.

Building an Innovation Engine

Disruptive innovation enables companies to do business in ways they never could before, but its turbulent track record promotes scepticism among managers. New research shows how to harness its strategic value for the long-term by following a three-step blueprint.

Panning for Gold: The Power of Customer Segmentation in Online Retailing

All customers are not created equal. The companies that excel, both in the short and long term, are those that are not only thoughtful about where they acquire customers, but also learn to quickly segment the profitable, loyal ones from the fool’s gold of bargain hunters.

Fighting Fire with Water – from Channel Conflict to Confluence

Some retailers are paralyzed into inaction by fear of cannibalizing their existing business; others have been tempted by potential market valuations into creating a spin-off without a coherent channel strategy; and most have been mesmerized by pure plays into thinking there is only one way to compete – on price.