Growth Constraints on Business

September 6, 2009 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

By Mike Kolbrener

I read with great interest Bill Eastman’s inaugural blog for Inc Magazine. Bill offers some excellent insight into the pain felt by “fast growth companies” who may no longer be in that fast growth track. In our practice at AXIS, we are often engaged by companies who have lost that growth edge. After achieving some measure of success via riding the wave of a technological innovation, limited or no competition, a stretch of national economic expansion, one great client or just good old luck, there comes a time when that party has run its course.

Bill offers up the following: “There exists only two primary constraints on growth; all others issues are parts of these two. Constraint One – the company is experiencing a CAPACITY problem and simply cannot do more under present conditions, making increased sales suicide. Constraint Two – the company is experiencing a SALES problem that is idling production, affecting revenue, and collapsing margins.”

Eastman does a nice job a examining the root of Constraint One, so let’s take a closer look at Constraint 2: The company is experiencing a SALES problem. As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons that may have contributed to earlier sales success that may no longer be in play. Overall lead and opportunity volume are diminishing and management sees a shrinking sales pipeline. Sales is at a loss to explain how to fix the problem. After all, they are selling the same thing that has been flying off the shelves for years. A typical “fix” may be for the VP of sales to ask for additional bodies on the sales team.

1. Sales process – Often times a salesforce is comprised of one or two MVP sales people, a few average sales people and a few underperformers. How do you bring the mid and lower levels up to the MVP level?

2. Brand Articulation – Is it clear to your prospects what you are actually selling? Is your message too technical? Are you conveying the real benefits that your product or service can deliver? Are those benefits believable?

3. Customer/Client identification – Are you clear on exactly who your ideal prospect is? let’s face it. It may have been pretty easy to find the early adopters who initially embraced your offering. That is no longer the case, and your going to have to work harder to find buyers.

4. Are your sales and marketing initiatives working in unison – Often, and particularly in earlier stage fast growing companies, much attention is paid to sales, while marketing is either ignored or delegated to an administrative assistant. Imagine if Proctor and Gamble took the same route? It’s critical for companies to look at their marketing staff and marketing budgets as critically as they do their sales staff and budgets. Once the right players are in place, sales and marketing can dance in lock step, taking your company to new sales heights.

5. Are you still relevant – Things change. Technology evolves rapidly. Global economies change. Weather patterns shift. Are you still selling something that people need or want.

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Entry filed under: Branding, Lead Generation, Marketing. Tags: , , , , , , .

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