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Building the Disruptor’s Organization for Market Leadership

(This post originally appeared on LinkedIn here)

The recently launched Disruption Selling Maturity Model helps companies successfully push their disruptive products and services through the innovation adoption lifecycle. It consists of 5 maturity levels, where a number of pieces have to come together in harmony to deliver the desired result: customers, the offering, and the innovator’s organization. If the three are out of sync, adoption will stall.

This post covers the organizational capabilities required for customer facing roles for each of the 5 maturity levels. 

Organizational Capabilities and Roles per Maturity Level

To meet the next level’s requirements, over time new roles and capabilities are added on top of the already existing ones and scaling out requires the simultaneous upgrade of both Offering and Organization. Keep in mind that as you progress through the maturity levels the responsibilities of a specific role in one maturity level can evolve into different seniority levels and/or more taylorism in the next maturity level.

Level 1: Technology Management. Customers evaluate offerings based on technical requirements, such as features and capabilities, to achieve business goals and integrate the Disruptive Innovation. To achieve this, the Disruptor needs a technical relationship with customers. This involves understanding the product, assessing needs, designing solutions, giving technical presentations, creating Proof of Concepts (PoCs) in the customer's environment, and maintaining a feedback loop with product development teams. These efforts ensure the product aligns with market needs and smoothly integrates into the customer's setup. Technology Managers oversee this set of activities, known as a technical relationship.

Level 2: Account Management. For two parties to do business, they need to agree on binding deliverables. A commercial relationship involves Account Managers handling tasks like establishing strong connections with customers, understanding their needs, tailoring products or services accordingly, and ensuring effective communication. They also focus on maintaining customer satisfaction, planning account objectives and strategies, identifying growth opportunities, resolving issues, agreeing on terms and conditions, gathering feedback for improvement, fostering customer advocacy, and monitoring performance metrics. These tasks collectively form the commercial relationship overseen by Account Managers.

Level 3: Partner Management. To achieve Ecosystem Fit, the Disruptor needs to build a partner ecosystem around their Disruptive Innovation. This involves Partner Managers handling tasks such as developing collaborative connections with partners, aligning them with company objectives, providing tools for effective promotion, tracking metrics, communicating updates, developing joint plans for success, resolving conflicts, managing legal requirements, overseeing marketing funds, collecting feedback for program improvement, and jointly crafting strategies for expansion. All these tasks collectively fall under the term “partner relationship” and are managed by Partner Managers.

Level 4: Delivery Management. After closing the contract, the Disruptor ships the product or provides the service. To do this, they need to: coordinate logistics, plan transportation, storage, and distribution; process orders, managing the entire order lifecycle; ensure resource availability by monitoring personnel, equipment, and materials; maintain quality standards and meet customer expectations; ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements; facilitate accurate and timely customer communication; resolve issues during delivery; manage on-site service delivery and address client needs; and analyze performance metrics to assess delivery-related performance. These tasks are collectively termed "delivery relationship" and are overseen by Delivery Managers.

Level 5: Program Management. To prepare for Strategic Alliances, the Disruptor must manage a cluster of connected projects. For this, they need to: ensure alignment with overall goals; oversee project scope, boundaries, and objectives; allocate resources for successful execution; identify and mitigate risks; engage stakeholders; establish effective communication; define a timeline and schedule; implement quality assurance; plan and manage changes; monitor and report program performance; and validate outcomes for alignment with strategic objectives. All of these responsibilities fall under the term "program management," overseen by Program Managers.

What’s ahead: Now that we have shared a summary of specific requirements for each additional role per maturity level, we will publish a series of posts over the coming weeks, highlighting nuances and how to avoid or overcome real life challenges relevant for your journey.

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