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The Importance of Co-Creating Value with Every Strategic Customer

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The Importance of Co-Creating Value with Every Strategic Customer

How do you define value?

We hear the word "value" all the time. What does it actually mean? And what if we take it one step further and ask what it means to "co-create value" with our customers?

And why does it even matter?

I stumbled across a research paper on co-creating value in B2B systems and thought it'd make a good topic to chat with you about.

Value comes in many forms – price, convenience, reliability, quality, service, and so on. But creating value requires more than a positive experience and happy customers.

We want the kind of value that brings mutually beneficial outcomes.

For something to be valuable (in my opinion), it should be:

  • Useful.
  • Unexpected.
  • Relevant.
  • Differentiated.

And of coursed, recognised. (After all, value is in the eye of the beholder).

Which is why co-creation is so powerful. You and your client become co-collaborators, co-producers and co-benefactors of value.

The Importance of Co-Creating Value with Every Strategic Customer

20 ways to encourage value co-creation with your customers

The research paper explains 20 ways to encourage value co-creation. I discuss them in more detail in the podcast episode

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Challenge traditional supplier-customer relationships - build partnerships and contribute resources through relationships.
  3. Clarify roles and tasks.
  4. Constructive customer participation.
  5. Commitment to common goals.
  6. Create a seamless, frictionless customer experience.
  7. Knowledge sharing and openness to generate innovative collaboration
  8. Knowledge as socially generated, maintained, and shared in peer-to-peer communities.
  9. Establish problem-solving communities.
  10. Define the appropriate level of interaction and adjust co-creation activities accordingly.
  11. Joint development of products, processes and resources.
  12. Designing and producing the solution.
  13. Define the value potential of the solution for customers.
  14. Use of knowledge management systems and learning with customers
  15. Provide value proposition for the customer's network.
  16. You and your client participate in activities to contribute and receive resources whereby they perceive benefits and sacrifices.
  17. Diagnose needs
  18. Adapt process and resources.
  19. Cross-functional involvement.
  20. Implement solutions.

+ Don’t waste time on the wrong accounts. Focus on those with the greatest potential, and an appetite for value co-creation. (If you're not sure who they are, check out my article on how to identify key accounts, with template.)

+ Think long term. You need a long term planning horizon for co-creation. It can take 12 to 18 months to design and implement initiatives (and to see results). And to stay on track, you need account planning and coordination processes in place. 

+ Organizational cooperation. You can do this alone. Bring the wider organization into your value co-creation mission.

You need their support to deliver and you must also respect limitations. Just because you could do something, doesn't mean you should.. Work within the boundaries of what’s in place. If you see things that need to shift, move those obstacles before committing to to your client.

The Importance of Co-Creating Value with Every Strategic Customer

Favourite collaboration app

Mural is an app centred around a digital whiteboard collaboration space. You can work with your stakeholders in real time to unlock conversations, insights and ideas. It comes loaded with 300+ templates to kickstart innovation.

It’s like Miro (if you’ve used that app) but for me, the layout, navigation and functionality are much easier to manage in Mural.

I love collaboration tools like this, because they're interactive and visual. They inspire creative thinking in a unique and engaging way. Much more than conversation alone. And they give you that sense of an in-person workshop even over Zoom.

Get started with Mural's Customer Discovery Canvas Template. Perfect to understand client needs, uncover opportunities and gain commitment to next steps.

The Importance of Co-Creating Value with Every Strategic Customer

Listener tip

Friend of the show Phil Bourne, shared his tip on how to manage overwhelm (in response to Episode 7 of the podcast).

[As] the work/pressure builds up, I automatically slow down to the point that I single trend……….. Do one thing, complete it and move on to the next. Doing this means that you have clarity on what you ‘have to do’ not what you ‘want to do’! That means you give yourself time and the space to prioritise what you have to do. And more importantly you get it done!

Great advice! And I've promised myself to do a lot more single-trending in future. 

By the way, check out my interview with Phil in which he shares the 12 Tenets of Account Management. It's had over 5,000 views on YouTube and jam packed with great tips.

The Importance of Co-Creating Value with Every Strategic Customer

In other news

+ Creating customer value through shared accountability. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview with Scott McCorkle, CEO at MetaCX for the Customer Valuecast. He has a fresh perspective on shared accountability and how to involve your clients in creating value, by mapping joint capabilities and looking for the whitespace.

Hyper Island Toolbox. This is an amazing (and free) resource kit of dozens of tools to bring creative collaboration to your meetings. They have different frameworks for every type of meeting, from 5 minute energizers to 60 minute creativity workshops. I use Hyper Island all the time to improve engagement, interactivity and creative thinking especially in client business reviews and account planning sessions.

Top 10 ways to avoid overwhelm at work. In this episode of The KAM Club podcast we explore why we get overwhelmed and offer some practical tips on how to make life at work easier.

The KAM Club. Learn more about the world's most amazing community of key account managers. And get access to tools, templates, guides, coaching and training, like How to Get Your Clients to Pay Attention and Take Action.

The Importance of Co-Creating Value with Every Strategic Customer

Quote of the week

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. ~ Henry Ford

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Have a great week

Warwick Brown

Warwick Brown

Warwick Brown has led business development and account management teams in Australia and Europe for more than 15 years and worked with some of the world's most prestigious firms, including Merck & Co, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone. As the founder at Account Manager Tips, his mission is to help organisations leverage the power of key account management to accelerate client retention and revenue.

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