Strategic Direction: What’s the Secret to Long-Term Success?

By Nathan Denny and Scott Axelrod

SESSION RECAP: Determining Strategic Direction and Aligning for Success. What’s the secret to long-term success? How can executives find the professionals they need to help them achieve those goals?


How do I grow my business over the long term by driving business to current customers and also attempting to drive business to their customers?

Why It’s Important

Estimated financial value: $ 2,000,000.

In developing a growth strategy, an important part of this company’s discussion is whether to compete with current customers in order to move up from being a component supplier to a higher-level supplier. The possible revenue growth would be approximately four times existing sales, with the additional benefit of being in greater control of “our sales destiny.”

This company works within a niche, and is also looking to acquire other companies vertically connected to its business process. But could these aggressive moves possibly reduce significant revenue for an unknown growth path?

Clarifying Questions

  • How financially strong are you compared to your competitors in terms of cash flow?
  • Is there a way to position yourself as an asset and not a competitor to your current clients?
  • If you don’t make this move, are you at risk of someone else making this move?
  • How does this change your financial ratios?
  • How big is the current market?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Ask yourself whether you have to do this to be a player in the market.
  • Develop parallel strategic plans — what happens if you go down this path, and what happens if you don’t.
  • Find a way to work your current customers in to your strategy as a partner
  • Go to current customers and partner up to lower the price of the product and get the product widespread (“Intel mentality”).

Action Plan

This executive has decided that parallel strategic plans are the best next step.


I love talking about what I do, but I hate sales — especially appointments and top-level pitching to cold leads. I want a scalable and efficient way to fill my sales pipeline with qualified leads. What’s the best way to do this?

Why It’s Important

This leader’s current needs are for a full pipeline and conversions. $100,000 in webinars is the targeted sales goal; that represents the future of this company’s sales cycle.

Estimated financial value: $ 1,000,000

This leader’s assistant scours LinkedIn for possible leads. The options include “keep doing what I’m doing,” buying a list, and using “connect and sell” to hire a salesperson.

Clarifying Questions

  • What’s your current marketing plan?
  • What’s different about selling your product today than it was in the past?
  • Are you using social media to advertise who you are and what you are doing?
  • Where is your presence online?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Hire a sales representative.
  • Make sure your customer service is top notch and backs up the sale.
  • Do it now — don’t waste time.
  • Since you are the product, you have to be involved.
  • Hire someone who isn’t a salesperson but is responsible for getting you leads, i.e., people to call.

Action Plan

Aannnd … action! This leader has committed to:

  • Hiring a sales rep — possibly a person simply to make calls for leads
  • Setting time aside each day to keep content active in social media.

Session date: Sep 11, 2012
Originally published: Sep 17, 2012

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