Every business must have a proven way to generate leads, attract new clients, show desirable value, onboard, retain, and innovate to keep up demand.
Perhaps what we did prior to the crisis; our proven process, doesn't work now, at least not as well, or it wasn't working well before. One thing is certain; Marketing, sales, and client service can't fix what's broken if your business strategy, model(s), or execution is off.
Business Survival, Stabilizing and a shift to a Thrive mindset is easier said than done. Each business has unique circumstances, but can be helped using a framework for organizational change.
The essence of strategy is where to play and how to win. When the core product(s) or service(s) deliver competitive value (price, differentiation, niche, or combination) and the activities that drive operational excellence are harnessed with the right people a business can win.
With the right content, and channels marketing efforts can reliably reach clients for predictable results. Taking the time to ensure this is obviously worth the time, right?
Perhaps obvious, but marketing can't fix what's broken. A restaurant will eventually run out of customers, regardless of how well they market, and control their online reputation, if the food and service don’t deliver what's been promised, or not as well as a competitor. Companies and brands that attempt to distract, cover-up, and compensate for fundamental flaws with mass marketing ultimately fail.
The broad framework for these key functions include various objectives and goals such as;
- Your company can produce revenue in a proven and systematic way, ensuring the business is sustainable and not simply based on the efforts of individuals within the business today?
- Do you have clear sales and marketing objectives?
- Your objectives are specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, and timely incorporate priorities, milestones, and targets?
- You have a process to review, modify, and communicate objectives?
- You have segmented your market by end-user needs and goals?
- Do you have a well-thought-out and documented pricing strategy for your products or services?
- You have a clear marketing plan and routinely engage in specific and organized actions to interest potential customers in your products or services?
The list of goals has to be intentional and aligned to system activities, processes, and business drivers - accompanied by specific tasks intended to achieve strategic outcomes. When performed by the right people with the capacity to deliver the activities connect well and commensurate performance produces expected results. Besides financials, thoughtful KPIs, measuring metrics that matter ensures timely operating reports for a pulse on where things stand, so if necessary, behavioral changes can be made before impact. Most business problems are people problems.
What are you selling? does it deliver in this new health, economic and business paradigm, and post COVID-19 - whatever the future may look like?
The larger the potential market size the greater the competition to win, and a greater degree of difficulty to differentiate on price and or value. Therein lies the problem for most businesses.
Even with a truly differentiated, compelling value proposition, most businesses do not have an established brand. Generating new business without differentiation is a losing battle and in the SME and mid-market space a systemic problem.
Often, desperate for new clients, companies look for help - In many instances the help they need is the ability to see their business more clearly to make more informed insightful decisions.
Many of us have been on teams that just work well, maybe a little like being in the zone in team sports, but in business. The teams, roles, purpose, structure, and collective chemistry just work and we seem to play above the rim, a lot. How do we replicate this? it is possible.
Conversely there’s less, fulfilling experiences we may recount, where productivity is less impressive. We may witness politics, self-interest, poor talent alignment, management, team dynamics, and a host of other pervasive performance draining issues. We may see things like marketing and lead generation, blaming sales for not closing leads. Sales pointing their finger back blaming the failure on the lead quality, and service blaming sales for over-promising, which is why the client turnover is too high.
In healthy organizations the whole team wins and losses together. They trust, learn, share, make better decisions faster for the good of the whole team and overall outcome.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that get’s you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so.” unknown sage.
In any company a prescription without proper diagnosis is dangerous - In medicine it’s malpractice, in business it’s rolling the dice. Understanding where you are collectively is the basis for decision making, to enable actions that matter for improvement and better performance.
Business is only sustainable with a plan that's based on evidence!
Every business must have a basis for choices, decisions and actions, which in an increasingly digital world means evidence from data.
This can be accomplished, non-invasively and cost-effectively with diagnostics - A business body scan for an organizational health-check to identify gaps and weaknesses in a business delivery framework is a good place to start.
Strategy - Activities that reap - Results that matter
Depending on the business model(s), most successful organizations typically ensure value creation comes from in-house resources.
They most often outsource tasks or seek advise - where expertise is greater, not core or necessary to add value, and or cost savings and efficiencies are likely to occur - without loss of quality. Smaller firms, without the budget, experience, or indeed even a true differentiated value, can often make outsourcing mistakes - Can you clearly articulate your differentiated value, why it resonates, and total addressable market?
There are probably more businesses offering growth solutions than any other purpose. A reason why perhaps, like other verticals, barriers to entry are low, it's relatively easy, and not expensive to get in the game. Therefore, there’s an over-supply and availability of solutions across; lead generation, marketing, and outsourced sales and training companies, and a myriad of consultants, coaches, and others who ply their services. Many offering growth panaceas in one form or another, across every conceivable channel. Demand is high, driven in part because many companies are desperate for growth!
The outsourced choices seem endless, with mass marketing campaigns waged through social media and email outreach attempting to make the numbers needed to close a deal and reverse engineer CAC. Spam folders fill up while automated campaigns intended to take the leg work out of marketing and make it scaleable can nurture mistrust in the target audience. The sheer number of companies, overwhelming offerings and lead generation traffic largely undermine the "key" element of establishing new business, trust as opposed to desperation and scarcity tactics often used.
Of course there are great growth companies out there offering strong solutions-based services, account-based marketing, nurturing and building trust, but distinguishing good growth solutions and companies from one another can be a quagmire to the untrained eye.
The cost of attracting new business is on average 5 times more than to retain existing clients. Obviously, industry, market, and business vertical matter, but generally the cost of acquisition can be largely attributed to the cost of building trust, which also correlates to LTV. Great established brands often can spend less, if they choose, as they are to a degree, already trusted in their deliverable(s). They can afford to spend more to ensure product excellence, and impeccable service, investing to nurture, and maintain the brand and organizational health.
Large enterprises, and public companies have vast budgets, long runways with eye-popping burn rates that enable broad channel testing, long-term expensive content strategies, and complex automated nurture funnels. They use big data, analytics, psychometrics, compete to employ the best data scientists, and ultimately persuade clients to buy and keep buying.
While it's difficult to compete against the stacked deck, a truly differentiate service with a foundation of trust goes a long way- but it's not easy!
Building and planning a business strategy and implementing appropriate models is not complex. But it is hard. It’s hard because it forces people and organizations to make specific choices about their future -something that doesn’t happen in most companies.
As a business owner and or leadership team, you've worked hard to get where you are. You know how your business works, but with access to the right expertise, support, and resources, you can unlock even more value. Organizational change is dynamic, as businesses adapt to forces they must be agile and resilient.
We help clients see their business more clearly than ever, make critical decisions about how to predictably grow their business, with agility, resilience creating value now as they move toward a future vision while having the flexibility to adapt.