Customer Engagement

How 3 Core Processes (Growth Gears) and 9 Disciplines Drive Higher Growth for Operationally-Oriented Companies

Drive Higher Growth

Fridays with Vistage is a webinar series on relevant, timely and actionable business topics to help you generate results in your business. On Friday, June 19, Pete Hayes of Chief Outsiders will present, “How Operationally Focused Companies Become Market Leaders – Part III: Execution.” You may register for it here.

Every Business Wants a Revenue Gumball Machine (So, How Do I Get One?)

Drive Higher GrowthLet’s face it. As business leaders we’re not looking for great insights, or even great plans. We’re looking for great results. When our companies face opportunities for growth, we want to capitalize on them. When we’re frustrated with slow growth, we want to quickly find new ways to reliably generate new business. What we’re really looking for is a revenue gumball machine. We’d like to know how to put an affordable investment in, and predictably get a reasonable return. But how does one go about it?

We’ve recently blogged and presented on how taking a linear, process-driven approach to strategic marketing can help companies of all kinds build a clearer and more effective path toward sustainable growth. And it’s not just a good idea. Major university research discovered that companies that have or develop proficiencies in market-oriented processes grow faster than their industry peers.

Before we move on to how to drive efficient revenue-generating execution, here’s a quick summary of the initial two core disciplines, or Growth Gears, as we call them:

Gear I – Get Fresh Market Insights

The knowledge you require to objectively make strategic and tactical decisions to stay relevant

  1. Understanding your company, your value, your reputation, the value you specifically add to customers, from the inside-out and from the outside-in
  2. Evaluating your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses relative to you, all from the perspective of your customers
  3. Digging out the value your customers say you bring to their business, understanding strengths and gaps, opportunities and trends

Gear II – Create an Effective Market Strategy

How you will satisfy customer needs and maximize your returns

  1. Building a road map of which customers you’ll serve and how
  2. Ensuring offerings that are aligned with customer wants and needs, now and in the future, priced and featured for profitability
  3. Defining and refining the positioning and messaging required to build compelling value propositions and effective sales teams

Great. So doing the above makes us smart. But there’s more. These disciplines are actually the necessary ground work to assure relevance and effectiveness in going to market. The good news is with the above in place, we’ll be going to market with the greatest likelihood of success, and in the most efficient way, since we’re focused and ready to communicate the most relevant and compelling messages. But not surprisingly there are three core process areas to ensure efficient execution and a working gumball machine:

III – Align Capabilities and Desired Outcomes with Tactical Plan

Bringing precision, predictability and accountability to your marketing approach

  • Clarifying the required and available resources, from people to funding to systems
  • Mapping tactics to their role in your customer relationship lifecycle – from initial awareness to loyal evangelists
  • Putting the systems in place to help make every initiative accountable to its objective, ultimately knowing what’s delivering revenue and what’s just nice to have

One of the cornerstones of these executional disciplines is developing a reasonable understanding of what you’re willing to incrementally invest to attract and convert new business. Realizing that most B2B sales opportunities are more complicated than a simple transaction, requiring multiple stages in a sales process that might take weeks, months or years, it’s still worthwhile to establish this target. Here’s an example:

The lifetime value of a customer to my company is about $50,000. After some analysis of cost of goods, G&A, profitability goals, I come to the conclusion that I’d pay $5,000 all day long to win such a customer.

Great! So how might you use this new lifetime value of the customer and a targeted customer acquisition cost to build better and more accountable marketing and sales programs? Not surprisingly the answer is in trying, and measuring, and tweaking, and improving until you reach or exceed this goal.

The opportunity we have as highly operationally-oriented business people (we LOVE to run companies!) is to find ways to bring our excellence in processes to what’s often been thought of as soft, fluffy, expensive and unaccountable, to establish a rigorous and repeatable approach to marketing and growth.

I hope you can join me and other Vistage members and chairs across the country this Friday, June 19, when we dive into the notion of creating a revenue gumball machine for our businesses. It will be held at 10 a.m. Pacific, 12 Noon Central, 1 p.m. Eastern. You may register for it here.

Category: Customer Engagement

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Avatar About the Author: Pete Hayes

Pete Hayes co-runs the country’s largest strategic growth implementation company focused on mid-size businesses. His firm, Chief Outsiders ( helps owners and CEOs of mid-size companies implement their visions for growth by…

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