If we haven’t met, perhaps I should introduce myself.
I’m Steve Tennant, Managing Director of Tennant Consulting, a management consulting firm located in San Francisco, California. We provide Strategy and Customer Experience (CX) consulting services, predominantly with B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) and technology companies. We work with many clients located in the San Francisco Bay Area and their teams worldwide.
My passion is working with leaders and their teams to develop strategy, transform customer experience, reduce customer suffering, and improve the planet. In 2024, Tennant Consulting will celebrate twenty-three years of joint success with our clients. I’m proud of the trust, great relationships, and accomplishments we’ve achieved together.
Since its founding, Tennant Consulting has focused on Internet, SaaS, Cloud, and high-tech startups. During COVID, I also spent 18 months in Accenture’s Customer Experience practice.
Tennant Consulting has:
- Worked with over 30 Tech companies, including SaaS, software, networking, and security providers.
- Led transformational initiatives to transform customer experiences, facilitated cross-functional workshops, created or enhanced customer success operations, built premium service portfolios, and created recurring revenue streams at companies like Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Aruba Networks, Zendesk and others.
- Driven clients’ strategy, marketing, product management, services, support, customer success, and alliance operations, avoiding common pitfalls and delivering top-line results.
- Built and sold industry solutions to multiple industries, including utilities, insurance, capital markets, retail, government, construction, high-tech, manufacturing, banking, and non-profits.
- Conducted win/loss analysis and competitive intelligence projects.
- Lectured at UC Berkeley, Stanford Continuing Studies, Technology Ventures, and the Silicon Valley Forum.
Before consulting, I gained operational experience in several executive roles at PeopleSoft (now Oracle) and Accenture.
I have spent my career understanding how to develop, market, sell, service, and support technology solutions that help my clients address their customers’ most pressing business challenges.
How Tennant Consulting Is Different
We view your business holistically. While many consultants specialize in a particular function — a sales methodology guru, branding expert, demand generation whiz, customer success expert, leadership coach, etc., who know their domain — we are familiar with all functions and examine your customers’ interaction across your entire business. We start with clearly understanding your target customer, the problem or challenge you solve, and how you intend to be different. We talk to your customers about their goals, desired outcomes, pain points, and how satisfied they are with your solution and experience today. We compare “what you think you do” to “what they say you do” and identify areas for improvement. We assess how all your functions — sales, marketing, product/engineering, services, customer success, technical support, and support functions in HR, IT, and Finance, and even your partner ecosystem — align to address the customer’s problem or have handoffs and gaps that create pain for your customers. Partnering with our clients, we collaboratively identify the changes needed across all business functions to deliver your customers’ desired business outcomes more effectively.
Our strategies are grounded in reality. We take an outside-in approach, working with your customers and employees. When appropriate, we go to your workplace and your customers’ sites to understand how people work, their needs, and existing solutions. We interview your customers and partners. We put the headset on, go to the front line, join the sales call, use the product, grab an oar, or whatever those “doing the work” are doing. We see far too many companies and consultants drawing conclusions and developing strategies without talking to employees, customers, and partners. With us, you get strategies grounded in your customers’ and employees’ reality, where the rubber meets the road.
We specialize in CX transformation. Whether you’re new to your leadership role, or a ten-year veteran, change rarely happens just because you “snap your fingers.” Customer Experience — the sum total of a customer’s interactions with your company — by definition, is not delivered by just one individual – the whole organization makes it happen. Yet most organizations have never intentionally designed their customer experience, let alone aligned their products, services, and organization to deliver an ideal customer experience. We show you how to start small and build momentum, like a snowball, across your organization.
We only engage if we both envision a strong ROI for you. Together, we need to see a path to deliver at least a 3X return on your investment in Tennant Consulting, or the work doesn’t begin — and ideally, 5-10X. A shocking number of consultants, including the largest firms, skip this and only focus on how much they can charge you by backing up the bus. We set the ROI bar unusually high and turn away more projects than we accept. I have learned A LOT working for, with, and partnering with all the leading consulting firms, and differ with them about how consultants create client value.
We aren’t driven by Sales. Consulting firm leaders are promoted for generating tens of millions in revenue by putting large teams of consultants to work. We don’t. We jointly focus from the outset on the value you’ll receive from us working together. When appropriate, we’ll share the risk and reward with you. This approach reduces your risk and increases the likelihood of your success. I’m not completely altruistic: when we do this together, you are more likely to want to use Tennant Consulting again and refer us to others — as we say in Customer Experience, my goal is to have you as my Customer Advocate.
We use a unique collaborative problem-solving methodology. This increases employee engagement, speeds capability implementation, and improves project success rates. Our collaborative problem-solving methodology increases your and your team’s ownership and alignment for a solution tailored to the needs of your organization, and accelerates implementation. We are the only consulting firm using this methodology in the software industry. After using it, clients have said things like, “We’re finally talking about the things we need to talk about around here to move forward,” “Wow, how did you do that!” and “How can I learn how to do that?” In my experience, large consulting firms focus on pushing pre-defined solutions, work more with their own staff than your teams, and frequently “steamroll” the client on the problem, approach, and solution — sometimes enabled by the client. The net effect is a lack of buy-in from your team because this is the consulting firm’s solution, not your team’s solution. This lack of buy-in means that despite impressive brands or best-selling books, beautiful PowerPoint slides, and 8- or 9-figure price tags, solution implementation is slow, business results tend to snap back after the firm is gone, and you’re left with lower employee empowerment, trust, engagement and morale.
We’re committed to delivering exceptional value to you. We don’t “win” by keeping a “consulting bench” of new employees busy. We “win” by accelerating the achievement of your desired business outcomes, so you’ll want to work with us again. My vision for Tennant Consulting is to be a premier tech industry consulting firm based on the Hollywood model. In Hollywood, people come together to work on a movie or TV series, and when the production is over, they disband and go on to the next project. People have a strong network and work together because they are known for their craft, and want to work together again on their next project.
Our prices are not inflated to cover a bunch of extraneous expenses that have NOTHING to do with your success. You are not paying for my sales and marketing team. Our project fees are not inflated to cover the cost of an “Account Management team” that wants to meet with you every week. My website is marginal at best, and you enjoy not paying for a team of writers and content developers. You are not paying for a groovy consultant workspace in the most expensive Class A office space in town WITH breathtaking views of the Bay AND bouncy exercise balls AND playground slides for adults in a colorful, hip office building. I work remotely from my home, and frequently from your office. You are not funding my company’s annual boondoggle President’s Club Sales Award Trips, receptionists, or an indulgent “wall of snacks.” We have none of those! You just pay for the consulting services, and we just focus on delivering value to clients.
You benefit from a pretty darn good network. When you need more assistance than I can provide, I collaborate with my network of experts. That means you get the expertise you need without hiring full-time employees. Sometimes, folks in my network bring me in to solve client problems. Other times, I bring them in. (The Hollywood model, remember?) To help my clients more, I founded the 5,800+ member PeopleSoft Alumni Network, a corporate alumni association of former PeopleSoft employees and enterprise software and Internet experts. My former peers have migrated in the last 20 years to leadership roles in software and tech companies across the San Francisco Bay Area and worldwide. My software and technology industry clients benefit from my network for quick advice and specialty consultants.
This model works. Having done this since 2001, with multiple years of repeat clients, you can be the judge.
Continue the tour by learning about the clients we serve.