Executive sponsor programs are becoming increasingly more popular and valuable for B-to-B companies. These programs pair executives from the customer and provider-sides with the intent of building a top-to-top relationship that is strategic and forward-looking.
One way that customer experience professionals can bring value to the executive sponsor program is by equipping executives with valuable intelligence that they can share with client execs.
Among B-to-B companies, it’s common to hear the technical buyers (or the individuals who are responsible for the day-to-day activities) share more favorable perceptions of the relationship than the executive sponsor. The technical buyer is involved in the details and takes ownership of the relationship.
While the positive perceptions are great, this is not an ideal negotiating position during the contract renewal time—especially when the executive sponsor gets involved—which they always do at contract time.
A well-defined executive sponsor process combined with formal and factual customer intelligence can turn this challenge into a competitive advantage.
With access to intelligence across the customer journey, customer experience professionals are in a unique position to equip the entire customer team with intelligence they can use in an on-going discussion about the real value being delivered. Factual data is a necessity, but only the first step. To really create the desired impact, executive sponsors must create a formal venue to get above the day-to-day activities and strategically discuss the state of the partnership and agree on the key improvement initiatives. We recommend meeting at least annually, but ideally quarterly. Customer experience professionals can equip executive sponsors with information that can be helpful in these meetings.
Said another way, the people that experience your services are more likely to see the value. In most complex organizations, this info will not get back to the key executive sponsor unless you create the environment to make sure it does occur. Executive sponsorships and discipline can create that environment.