Exciting times! My team is hiring a new commercial and propositions manager. A new journey to find a great balance between financial acumen and creativity has begun! And I hope this journey does not last long.

I often get asked whether you need to have previous experience in propositions in order to work in a commercial propositions team.

My answer is NO! Hiring a job title is not what we are after, but we are after the right skills and behaviours as commercial propositions’ area require versatile talents.

If you see yourself exercising and living those 10 behaviors below then you will excel in propositions. Most of those skills are transferable, you can exercise those in any industry and in a good propositions team you will be able to hone them further.

10 behaviors to enjoy commercial propositions

Owner’s mind-set

It is your baby end to end – from the raw idea to the finished product. It takes passion, tenacity, attention to detail and proactiveness every step of the way. And great accountability – you own it and if you do not care for it as an owner then it will always be a task you do to meet somebody else’s requirement, rather than your own creation.

Make it personal

Do not just put yourself in customers’ shoes, try to make it personal and defend the customer perspective in front of other teams or internal experts who might not have the inclination to look into the customer lens all the time. It happens more often than anyone would confess, but not all teams look after the customer experience in the same way.

Inquisitive and recognising the big picture

Whatever the industry you are working in, you have to understand how your market works and the customer dynamics within that market. This takes not only natural curiosity about the ongoing market trends but also a grasp of what these trends mean for your business in the next one to five years.

Comfortable with ambiguity

Propositions is all about charting new lands and putting new ideas forward. More often than not the opportunity you are developing has no precedent in your product (or service) set or historical information is scarce and cannot back your analysis. This is where someone who thrives in ambiguity shines through. In commercial terms this means inventing assumptions of how your product or service is going to be sold, consumed, and marketed or all of those.

You’re well on your way at this point. In Part 2, I will talk about numeracy, structured thinking and creativity. Ta!


If you have any questions, or you want to share stories, lessons learned around proposition development and commercial innovation please feel free to leave a comment.
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