Estelle Barre is Vice President of Segments for Schneider Electric. I caught up with her at Data Centers Europe 2013 in Nice earlier this year to find out why Schneider Electric has decided to adopt a segment approach to its business, and in particular, how this is going to help its customers.
Estelle told me: “OK, so Schneider Electric decided to adopt a segment approach for different strategic sectors and the purpose is really to focus on the end-user challenge – our end-user challenge. So we decided to have some specific target segments on which we will focus. Our purpose is to help them to meet their challenges by providing solutions which address the specific issues of their markets.”
“So how we do this? First of all we have recruited specialised sales teams.” In fact some of the recruits have come to Schneider Electric from the target industries, so they join with a working knowledge of the customers’ issues, market drivers, industry jargon and so-on. “They are tuned for their (the customers) needs, specific needs,” Estelle explained.
I asked Estelle especially how this kind of segmentation can help customers?
“OK so you know we have been changing a lot, we were a product company, let’s say a competent company but a product company. But we have been transforming to become a solutions provider – and the only way we can do this is by really achieving a better understanding of what is exactly the achievement they want to have for the business. From there we can provide an example of a specific or integrated architecture. So we can respond to their needs or provide integrated software for their needs, or specific services which fits exactly with a specific need.”
“So I give you an example: a co-location service provider will have their own end user to whom they need to commit to using service level agreements, you know it’s a call business for them: if they fail in delivering the service levels they promise it means a big, big loss of money. So the service we will provide for them will be different compared to a classical enterprise. So this is a way that we work with them.”
Schneider Electric’s segment approach to its customers allows it to focus on different user needs, and tailor the knowledge and remit of sales teams accordingly. As the company moves away from being product-led and into solutions provision, a greater understanding of different types of customers and partners is necessary to find the right approach. By segmenting down our resources in this way we can ensure that the right team is leveraged quickly and effectively to provide the right set of solutions.