In Delivering Profitable Value, Lanning claims the primary business objective is maximizing over the long-term the value the company delivers at a cost allowing profitable returns. As we’ve seen before, value is defined as the net desirability customers perceive in their resulting experiences. So if the company should be focused on improving those experiences, who specifically does that? Who does the research to learn what the desired experiences are? Who connects the capabilities of your products and services to those experiences? Who monitors whether the intended customers are gaining more value or less value over time?

In most companies, no one does. Some would argue the CEO should also be the Chief Value Officer. In theory that’s correct. The CEO must evangelize and support a value-driven perspective for the company. They must create a strategy, an organization, and operating plans for a profitable value-delivery system. But their responsibilities are so broad they can’t get involved in the details. They have to delegate the tactics and operations to others. But who?

Many would point to the Product Manager and to some extent I agree. Unfortunately, in many B2B companies the Product Manager is the expert on the product and spends most of his/her time helping develop new products or helping sell the existing ones. It’s rare the Product Manager has the time, the priority and the skills to do the market and customer research necessary to feed value-driven decisions.

The best solution I’ve seen is the creation of an industry or segment manager. With responsibilities orthogonal to the product managers, this position spends most of their time researching, monitoring and predicting the trends in the target market. Internally they become the champion for the intended user and represent in detail the experiences that add the greatest value.

How about at your company? Are there other positions that spend the majority of their time on the tactical and operational side of value delivery?