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Understanding and Creating Value for Management Stakeholders

This is part four in this series. The first post was entitled The Gatekeeper. The second post addressed End-User Stakeholders, and the third spoke to Ancillary Stakeholders.

The management stakeholders are responsible for execution. They form an important bridge between executive management and the end user stakeholders, and as such, they have needs that incorporate the value creation you provide to both of the other groups.

Who They Are

Because this group is focused on execution, their role requires them to ensure that their end-user stakeholders have what they need to produce results. When there are problems or challenges, the management stakeholders work on finding and implementing solutions. Management stakeholders are concerned with how you will help make an improvement and help solve their problems at a transactional level. They are concerned with your ideas, your solutions, and your execution. They are responsible for ensuring that their people execute, and that includes their partners.

But this group is also concerned with the company strategy. They are sometimes concerned with setting the strategy; they are always concerned with executing the strategy. As such, their responsibilities require them to think about and act on the bigger picture. This is where their needs start to look more like executive management’s needs.

They are not only concerned with execution, they are also concerned with how what you can do can help them to generate more revenue, generate more profit, or reduce their costs. The management stakeholders have to ensure that they execute while also making sure that the solutions that they implement also contribute to the company’s financial goals.

How You Create Value for Management Stakeholders

This is often the easiest area to create value.

You start by presenting ideas that help them to solve their problems, overcome their challenges, or capitalize on their opportunities. This means working on building solutions that help them to produce greater results.

You create value by bringing them ideas—especially forward-looking ideas. You really help when you can tie what you do the longer-term objectives like increased revenues or profits.

You also create value by taking the actions in the preceding three posts by gaining access to the people and information that you need and by working through and with their gatekeepers; when you know how to help, you are more valuable.

When you have worked with and through the end-user stakeholders and ancillary stakeholders to gain a deep understanding of how things work, what it possible, and what are the constraints, you create value by having gained a working management-level knowledge of how to make improvements and what is necessary to produce better results.

You also create value by doing the work of building and creating the consensus around a solution, and by providing the management stakeholders with the business case for your product, your service, or your solution. They have to sell your solution internally, and you have to help them do so.

Risks

There is a plethora of risks here, most of which have to do with poor salesmanship, poor selling strategies, and poor execution of a sales process. A quick run through the archives here and you could make a fairly exhaustive list of risks and ways to avoid them. For our purposes here, there is one big overarching risk that needs to be addressed.

You have to meet the management stakeholder’s value creation needs as they apply to both the execution and their longer-term goals. Because they straddle the value creation needs of the end users and the executive management stakeholders, addressing only one half their needs can leave you open to competitive threats. Your solution needs to address execution and speak to how you contribute to their goals, if you are to be a strategic partner and not a vendor.

Management stakeholders are looking for partners that can help them reach their business goals. They are looking for salespeople to own an outcome that makes some contribution to their longer-term business goals, business plans, and their initiatives. Doing less then this, even if you have built consensus with end-user stakeholders, puts your opportunity at risk.

Questions

How are the management stakeholder’s needs different from those of the end-user stakeholders?

How do you create value for management stakeholders around execution?

If you are to become a real and valuable strategic partner, what level of value do you need to create and around what kinds of ideas or initiatives?

What do the management stakeholders expect from a salesperson?


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