Harris Broadcast Communications: Case Study

The Situation

A $600 million business unit of a public company, Harris Broadcast Communications Divisions specializes in building solutions for major media companies and network broadcasters. While the industry leaders are fairly well known to each other and to HBC, the company realized it lacked deep relationships with customer executives that would enable the organization to fully understand market dynamics for strategic planning and specific insights into the business situation in individual accounts to drive increased satisfaction, sales and retention.

The Challenge

HBC realized the need to develop better relationships with key customer executives to expand business opportunities and understand market dynamics, but the pros and cons of various forums and programs made it difficult to determine next steps. The risks in dealing with C level customer executives who provide a majority of the company’s revenue meant that any approach with these executives must be proven to be effective, and required a carefully planned and executed approach.

The Action

After considering several program options, HBC determined that the most effective strategy was to form an Executive Advisory Board (EAB), coupled with an Executive Sponsor Program (ESP). The EAB was designed as a forum for customer executives to connect with the HBC executive team, and provide market based insights and clarity toward the development of the company strategy, solution portfolio and value proposition. The ESP program was established to extend the relationships developed in the Advisory Board to individual accounts. An executive from HBC was assigned to each account and worked with the customer executive to establish team to team relationships to drive account insight, solutions and sales.

The Result

The HBC team was able to recruit 13 “C” level executives from their major customers into the Executive Advisory Board. In the inaugural meeting, HBC was able to gain valuable market insight to incorporate into their strategic planning process. Most importantly, the inaugural meeting enabled the HBC executives to develop relationships with the customer executives to effectively launch the Executive Sponsor Program. The entire HBC executive team declared the program a huge success as it exceeded their expectations for recruiting, customer interactions, and insight into the market and HBC’s business.

Individual customer meetings with each EAB account are being planned and will include the sales and cross functional team from HBC as well as the EAB member executives and their key management leaders.