Strategy is one of those exciting and fascinating things in the business world and in life in general. Occasionally, I watch from a distance as a neutral person as corporate giants take each other on in moves and counter-moves. The war is sometimes, perhaps quite often, brought to my actual doorstep.
What is really exciting about strategy and tactics is the depths and great lengths that organisations go to gathering information of all kinds, analysing the information, and using resources (human capital, products, services, technology) at their disposal to take on a rival competitor. The gradations of strategy and tactics do not only apply to businesses or corporate entities but manifest in other areas. In sports, for example, it is imprudent, if not suicidal, to enter a field of play without a game plan backed by thorough analysis of the opponent. The game plan, tactics and fielding of the players should be informed by the analysis done before the game and will continue throughout the game.
I am guessing that you may have heard or read somewhere that the origin of the term strategy is largely credited to military affairs in Europe during the 1770s, although some history scholars may argue otherwise. Talking about the military, I try and consume as much information as I can about elite forces around the world, such as the US Navy SEALs, the UK’s Special Boat Service, the British Special Air Service and Israel’s Sayeret Matkal. There are just way too many lessons to learn from these forces, and although in financial services we do not go gun toting to conduct the business of the day, we can take a few leaves out of their books. This is because the military outfits that I have already mentioned are the top 4 most elite in the world, according to several sources and publications. You must be in the best physical shape, even Olympians fail, the training is challenging and extremely brutal. The US Navy SEALs only accepts a thousand individuals to enter the training programme at a time and an average of 200 graduate.
After training, a critical success factor in all the missions is not determined by how tough, strong, intelligent, or state-of-the-art equipment a marine used. Prescience is key, the intimate use of information or data pre-deployment and during the mission are key inputs of a successful mission or a failed mission, staying alive or facing a demise.
In my opinion, Relationship Management and military ventures are synonymous. RMs are elite soldiers who need to harness and appreciate the use of data in everything they do. In advanced markets, this has become a basic operating manual where modern-day warfare dictates that organisations collect data for analysis and aid in pursing the next course of action. The analytics can be
in different dimensions, such as descriptive (what has happened), diagnostic (why did it happen or the cause of an occurrence), predictive (what is likely to happen going forward), or prescriptive (how can we make it happen), depending on the task at hand.
For organisations striving to set the bar higher in Relationship Management, operational protocols should be invoked and rules of engagement established for RMs and their supporting cast. Without being too prescriptive as organisations, an official set of procedures on what actions to take and when must be informed by data is necessary. The profiling of customers, their transacting habits and what could be learnt from these habits, customers’ preferred channels of transacting, customers’ lifetime value and many other dimensions should contribute to adding value to the customer while the business similarly uses these insights to create competitive advantage and meet set objectives.
The game has shifted from mere loyalty, which cannot be quantified, or a Relationship Manager claiming to know the customer all too well while just barely scratching the surface to intimate use of data protocols in informing various aspects of relationship management and how the RM should explore those in creating pockets of opportunities while remaining a key important aspect in the customer’s life and adding immense value to both the business and the customer.
LinkedIn: Gomolemo Kololo Manake