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THE AGILE BUSINESS MODEL AND THE SUPPORT OF SALES OUTSOURCING
Pierpaolo Bertocco, Managing Director of CPM Italy
According to the English Oxford Dictionary, the definition of Agile is “able to think and understand quickly” or “relating to or denoting a method of project management, (…) that is characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.” Contrasted with waterfall (adjective)
Today the business community recognise the complexity needs different business models to be adopted for success in business.
Disruptive trends are difficult to predict, along with quickly evolving environments, new technologies and digitalisation are turning the heads of industries and agencies who frequently have to deal with the unknown.
Responding to this level of complexity with one to one relationships, or traditional waterfall processes might be improper at best, and may have a detrimental impact to the success of the project.
“Flexibility” and “agility” are the keywords, and collaboration is the way to make things happen.
How does this match with the outsourcing model?
Today the most common approach to outsourcing is the ‘waterfall’ approach: the client “through a project over the river” shares all their needs and expectations and the supplier will execute at best, giving feedback at defined moments often through traditional reporting. Which works, but the result is just a sum of energies.
Faced with a challenging target often equates to multiplying resources, but to have exponential results can only be achieved using an agile way of working. This relies on having a one team approach, blending both in-house and client teams collaborating side by side to achieve their goals working in a true partnership approach.
Some companies are born agile, others aspire to be, whilst others are forced to become agile. Most companies are able to face market challenges very quickly by innovating products, services and, last but not least, their operational models. In these companies most of their functions, including sales, are outsourced.
Outsourcing can have many meanings, but the real aim should be intended as ‘one is in the shoes of the other’. Sharing this perspective makes a huge difference in achieving optimum results creating a win win for both client and sales agency.
Since 2012, CPM have had up to 14 people working in the office of Cheil which is within the Samsung building to blend the culture and expertise of Cheil. Cheil is the internal communications agency which is owned by Samsung and has the field operation expertise of CPM.
Initally the relationship was based on a waterfall model, where Samsung would brief Cheil, then Cheil would instruct CPM and vice versa. However, due to the complexity and dynamics of the industry the waterfall model hindered performance. This way of working impacted our speed of response, it took too long to react, make informed decisions and execute, it was too difficult to change direction quickly when needed. By implementing an agile model we were able to work in a true partnership approach, all striving to achieve the same goals with fluidity, it changed the direction and performance and the had an almost immediate positive impact on the results. Working in collaboration empowered members of the team and had a positive impact on their morale. The agility model is at the heart of the project with our people.
“As Cheil we share the same values of Samsung. Speed and quality are key success factor as per the brands as per the agencies, not only on deployment but also on catching quickly new opportunities of innovative solutions to grow the business together – adapting to the current context. This is the DNA of true collaboration and it’s up to us to push on it. Working all together in the same space with our different skills allowed us to reach all these goals ” says Isabelle Di Raco, Retail Director of Cheil Italy primary counterpart of Samsung in the Field Force project since 2014.
Improved results were almost instant: improved speed of response, from 2 days to an average of 4 hours, communication improved eliminating any misunderstanding or ambiguity and the knowledge of CPM on the fundamentals of Samsung Operations and culture delivered results never achieved before.
The lesson we all learnt from this process is despite it being tiring, sometimes difficult and restless at the beginning, the agile approach and outsourcing model is worth the investment as it’s often the best solution to the looming complexity companies are facing today.Working in true partnership with an outsourced sales agency will empower both client and agency teams, it not only encourages collaboration but transparency and creative thinking to deliver the best solution to drive sales for our clients.