If your business specializes in custom applications, translating your core competencies and attracting new customers can seem like a cosmic mystery. For starters, your website looks like a photo gallery of all the stuff you’ve created, some of which resembles R2-D2®’s second cousin. In your mind, these photos showcase your company’s core competencies. In the minds of potential customers, they are confused. What if they don’t “see” output similar to what they want to source?
Potential customers won’t call or email you for more information if you haven’t told them “what you do.” They will move on to another potential vendor.
If you can’t effectively explain your core competencies digitally, how well do you think your sales team is doing? As a representative of a custom fabricator or technology company, your company’s core competencies create tremendous breadth and depth for potential output. Perhaps your business development strategy should focus more on the translational value of your core competencies, instead of the end product. Your customers may be sourcing based on your throughput from their collaborative input. Now that’s something to chew on this week.
Core capabilities encompass one or more skills, talents, capabilities, technologies that you, or your company, bring to your customers’ tables, time after time. They are your business’s common denominators. These core capabilities are central to establishing and retaining your competitive position. Your core capabilities are the fulcrum your company leverages to deliver value and ROI to your market space.
Your core capabilities are more than your customer asking you “Can you design/manufacture/make this?” Your core capabilities focus on the value of the techniques and processes which your company utilizes in creating output for customers. There’s a big difference between showing a picture on your website of a product your customer asked you to fabricate, compared with showcasing your company’s expertise in friction stir welding. I may not be sourcing for that picture; I most certainly will be sourcing for products created by doing business with a company whose core competencies include friction stir welding.
You are responsible for understanding and articulating, in language everyone can comprehend, how your core capabilities provide cross-functional value to your colleagues, your company and your customers.
Start by re-defining your core competencies in terms of the common denominators your customers are looking for. These are skills, values, ethics, technology, capacity, quality practices that can be applied across customer segments. Core capabilities are the translational aspects of your product, service or platform. If you translate them in terms that everyone seated around the business table understands, they translate into the transactional aspect of business development: the sale.
How successfully do you and your sales and engineering teams translate your core capabilities to your customers and prospects?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups.