Case: FOSS
“Customer insight now steers our go-to market strategy”
| Interview

Since FOSS was launching a new, important global product in multiple segments, the company was in need of insight and guidance on pricing as well as coming up with the right approach. However, FOSS found that the collaboration not only provided new insight on pricing. As FOSS Global Market manager explains, working with ag analytics introduced the company to an interesting challenge of their previous perceptions regarding pricing and customer experience

Nicholas Malcolm, Managing Director and Partner, ag analytics: When we started the project, the main goal was to understand more about pricing. Can you explain, how we ended up scoping the project?

Peter Juel Christensen, Global Market Manager, FOSS: 
When we began working with ag analytics, our focus was indeed on pricing. We were about to launch a new product into multiple segments and needed guidance on how to price the product. Our initial focus on product features and pricing turned out to shift quickly, as you challenged us to take a step back in order to achieve a more extensive insight about our customers and the main challenges they face every day. We had to ask ourselves simple yet critical questions, such as: What do our customers every day at work, what challenges do they meet while doing their job, and what do they wish could be done differently.

We talked to customers in Europe, USA and China, which gave us a tremendous amount of new insight and an understanding of these people, who make decisions that have an impact on our business. This insight is closely linked to the solutions we develop as well as the features we provide to our customers, of which price is of course an important part. However, stepping away from all the talk concerning pricing, enabled us to broaden out; to gain real customer insight.

Nicholas Malcolm, ag analytics: What would you say are the most important decisions you have made, where customer insight has supported you?

Pricing and features of new solutions are of course interesting – however, what if we take a step back and get more insight into what our customers actually do?”


Peter Juel Christensen, FOSS:
One of the most significant changes we are experiencing in our organization, is moving away from talking about the features of our products and solutions only. Instead, we try to understand what jobs there are to be done and what gains and pain relievers our customers might have. We wish to obtain a deeper understanding of what priorities our customers have. Many companies have a tendency to focus on communicating the new features of their products from their own point of view, with no regard for the customers. With our new insights, we instead try to understand what priorities our customers have regarding their everyday work. Therefore, customers now experience a clear difference in our communication, as a result of our new approach.

Nicholas Malcolm, ag analytics: What have you learned from the projects, and talking to all these customers?

Peter Juel Christensen, FOSS:
The internal perception of price is that it is important. If you ask people in our company, what factors they think are important when customers make decisions about what solutions to acquire, a lot of them would rank price high. However, if you ask our customers, it turns out that price is much less important. The ability to have the right products, the right services and being able to deliver on services as well as promises are much more important factors affecting their choice of a supplier. There is absolutely a somewhat disconnect between the internal understanding about the priorities of our customers and what the priorities of our customers actually are. In my opinion, this unfortunately results in us tending to talk about the wrong things. Going into a customer dialogue, one is usually prepared to discuss price. However, it has greater importance to be prepared to talk about how you deliver on the promises and services associated with your product.

“However, it was clear when we asked our customers, that price is much, much less important for them. The ability to have the right products, the right services and the ability to deliver on these services and promises are much, much more important for their decision of choosing a supplier. There is absolutely a somewhat disconnect between the internal understanding about the priorities of our customers, and what the priorities of our customers actually are.


Nicholas Malcolm, ag analytics: How have you been able to communicate the conclusions and the messages from this go-to-market research throughout the organization?

Peter Juel Christensen, FOSS:
Firstly, what is important to understand is that FOSS is a fact-based and data-driven organization. This means that whenever you want to get an argument through, it is key to have it substantiated with data and facts. Having a very significant global qualitative and quantitative analysis helps me get my message across. There is also a lot of interest within our organization to hear about these kind of analyses – I am regularly asked by colleagues to come and present outcomes. For the management team, it is imperative to have these kind of analyses as to making the right decisions. Overall, there is a very big interest to learn about these analyses and their outcomes within our organization – because they are fact-based and data-driven.

Nicholas Malcolm, ag analytics: How would you describe the differences between the corporate management and the salesperson, who introduces customers to this new product? How do they respond to the data and the customer insight?

Peter Juel Christensen, FOSS:
The corporate management and the salesperson respond similarly to the customer insights, but for different reasons. To the management it is about being confident in making the right decisions, because these decisions lay the foundation for the whole organization. To the salesperson it is about having confidence in the product being sold. If presenting customer insight as the key driver for product innovation increases the confidence level of the sales organization, there is in my opinion a much higher likelihood of successful sales. I am certain that a sales organization with confidence in the innovation process finds it easier to make sales.

Nicholas Malcolm, ag analytics: How do you excite the sales organization?

Peter Juel Christensen, FOSS:
One of the key reasons for a successful introduction of an innovation or market launch is excitement. Creating excitement about what you are doing, what you ask the sales organization to sell and the service department to service will bring you a long way in securing a successful market launch. Confidence and excitement are both built around the feeling that the right decisions have been made. Having the right solutions, the right products, the right services, the right decisions on pricing, the right communication and being able to mobilize the organization in the right way creates confidence and excitement within the organization.

“The confidence and the excitement is built around the feeling that the right decisions have been made. That we have the right solution, the right product, the right services, the right decision on pricing, the right communication and that we are able to mobilize the organization in the right way. This is how you create confidence and excitement in the organization.”