Deciding where the value consulting/engineering function should reside within your organization is a pivotal choice that can significantly influence the success of your business. This decision determines how the function influences strategy, connects with customers, and drives revenue.
Here are seven common places where the value consulting/engineering function can be positioned within a solution provider’s organization, along with advice on the advantages and challenges of each.
1) In the Strategy Group: A Robust Incubator
Having your value consulting/engineering function as part of the strategy group can often be an ideal starting point. This positioning fosters a robust interaction between value engineering and corporate strategy, nurturing innovative thinking and more informed decision-making. By being integrated into the strategy team, value consultants can leverage strategic insights to create customer-focused solutions and value propositions. This role can also stimulate a more holistic perspective, ensuring that your value proposition aligns with the overarching business strategy. However, there can be a downside to this configuration: the potential for disconnect between strategy formulation and execution in the sales process.
2) In Product Marketing: Shaping the Value Proposition
Another common place for value consulting/engineering is within the product marketing group. This location allows value consultants to shape the product’s value proposition directly and ensure that the customer benefits are appropriately highlighted. As they understand the product intricacies and technicalities, value engineers can contribute significantly to the marketing narrative, focusing on the solution’s value. However, this placement could limit the team’s exposure to real-time sales scenarios and customer feedback, reducing their ability to refine the value proposition based on market realities.
3) In the Pre-sales Support / Sales Engineering Group: Customer Centricity
Locating the value consulting/engineering function in the pre-sales support or sales engineering group can significantly enhance customer-centricity. This configuration exposes the function directly to customer needs, pain points, and buying behaviors, allowing for the development of highly relevant value propositions. It facilitates quick, targeted responses to customer inquiries, thereby bolstering the effectiveness of the sales team. However, in organizations at an early stage of value selling maturity, this group tends to focus on technical product capabilities in pre-sales. This may be a mismatch with the value engineering scope of serving the cross functional needs of the sales, marketing, product and customer success teams.
4) In Sales Enablement: Bridging the Gap
If your organization has a dedicated sales enablement team, it could be a strategic location for your value consulting/engineering function. This placement fosters collaboration between value engineering and sales, enhancing the ability to translate technical capabilities into business benefits. The close alliance with sales training and content creation can result in well-articulated value propositions that drive sales. However, this group may not be familiar with all of the challenges associated with scaling direct customer facing roles. This alignment may also lead to an overemphasis on training / enablement and may limit the ability of the program to develop into the strategic influencer that comes with maturity.
5) Directly Reporting to Sales Leadership: Strategic Sales Focus
Having value consulting/engineering report directly to sales leadership might suit organizations aiming for a highly sales-driven approach. This direct link ensures that sales leaders have complete visibility into the value proposition development process, thus better aligning it with sales strategy. However, this position could potentially alienate the value consulting/engineering function from other essential areas of the organization, such as product development, marketing and customer success. Also, being deeply embedded in sales might skew the function’s focus more towards short-term revenue goals rather than long-term customer value delivery, product and growth strategy.
6) Customer Success: Customer Renewal and Growth Focused
Customer success organizations have grown dramatically in service organizations, as the importance of assured renewals and “land and expand” strategies reign. It is easier and less expensive to grow from existing customers than acquiring new, especially if you are able to prove the value realized from prior investments. Value consultants and engineering now reports to customer success leaders in some organizations who recognize the importance of proving the ROI from prior investments in justifying renewals, preventing churn and developing business cases for new use case growth. Embedding value engineer into customer success focuses the resources on existing customers, but perhaps to the exclusion of new account focus and acquisition.
7) The Value Office and Chief Value Officer: Elevating to C-Level Value Leadership
In the evolving world of customer engagement, where articulating and delivering value is paramount, the concept of ‘value’ has undeniably become the organization’s beating heart. Given this significance, along with the emergence of various C-level roles, why not raise the value management function to the C-suite’s prominence?
The Value Lifecycle model, the framework for value management / enablement practices, ingrains value into every customer interaction, starting from the first touchpoint and marketing initiatives, across all sales engagements – not merely those requiring a business case or involving the largest deals. It permeates delivery and customer success efforts (driven by the assurance and delivery of realized value) and is especially crucial in product development, where value acts as both a guiding principle and a metric.
Value impacts numerous domains within the organization, including marketing, sales, support, services, customer success, and product development. This wide-reaching influence underscores the necessity for a cross-functional office and role, one that benefits from executive vision, strategic objectives spanning the organization, and board-level visibility to optimize customer experience and drive company success.
We propose that the era has arrived for CEOs and boards of technology firms, tech-enabled services, and other B2B providers to consider placing ‘value’ at their vision’s core and within their organization’s structure. This strategic shift entails elevating the status of value consulting/engineering beyond its current role, creating a Value Office and appointing a Chief Value Officer. This new office and role will help align and uplift value considerations throughout the organization. With such a transformation, many of the existing limitations and challenges presented by organizational silos and barriers can be effectively resolved.
The positioning of the value consulting/engineering function in your organization depends on various factors, such as your business goals, organizational structure, and culture. Whichever place you choose, ensure that there’s a balance between strategic focus, customer-centricity, and sales enablement.
Remember that value consulting/engineering isn’t confined to a single department, but rather is a mindset that should permeate throughout the organization to maximize customer value and business growth. It is a multifunctional team that influences all stages of the customer journey. Therefore, it should be considered which group has the strongest organizational influence and is most capable of fostering the diverse needs of this critical function.
From a LinkedIN survey poll, where does Value currently report (7/8/23)