How To Get the Team Re-focused on Growth Instead of Survival

by | Apr 18, 2022 | Strategy

The past two years have been incredibly challenging. Hats off to all of the teams that have pivoted, re-pivoted, and adapted to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. To say it has been incredibly challenging is an understatement.

As we emerge from the pandemic, we find ourselves in the midst of new challenges. Global instability, energy costs, and rising interest rates all lead to inflation. The supply chain crisis continues to pose problems. The tight labor force and high turnover definitely makes things hard. As usual, there are many business issues to address.

Here is what I see as the problem. The shocking nature of the pandemic with all of its unknowns, lockdowns, and related fear put most companies in survival mode.

Teams focused on how to keep customers rather than go for new ones. This made sense. In some companies, it even caused them to realize that they need to take better care of their clients. However, many of the plans for growth were scuttled in favor of survival.

We cannot stay in survival mode forever.

The temptation in this current economic environment is to stay in survival mode. After all, things are hard.

“Grow or die” is a core value of EOS Worldwide. I love this! (I’m looking forward to presenting at their conference next week in Orlando!) There is a lot of truth to this. Companies that are not growing are dying.

We must continue to grow. We must get out of survival mode.

How can we shift from survival mode back to growth mode?

Recast Growth Goals

Are your revenue growth goals grounded in reality? My experience is that most companies set goals in one of two ways. Neither are helpful.

First, there is the all-too-common spaghetti-on-the-wall method. “What do you think we can do?” Of course, visionaries like me throw the spaghetti high up the wall. More conservative integrators like to throw the spaghetti right above the baseboard. Somehow we compromise in the middle. The problem is that the goal is not realistic.

Others set goals based on the ruler method, lining up the growth trend over the past few years. The problem is that the past few years have been anything but normal.

Instead, I recommend setting growth goals based on the two drivers of growth: Net-New and Cross-Sell. For net-new, the metric is how many customers we have. The goal is how many customers could we add. For cross-sell, the metric is our current revenue per client? The goal is how much could we increase the revenue per client with the right plan and playbooks in place? Multiply your number of clients goal by your revenue per client goal and you have what I call an ABR (Aggressive But Realistic) revenue goal.

Reconsider Customer Expectations

As the business environment shifts, customer expectations have shifted. What delighted customers in 2019 may not work as well in 2022. “But Darrell,” you say, “We are still committed to the same values and excellent customer service.” Sure, but the way those values and service expectations are delivered to your customers may need to shift.

Looking at your customer experience can help. How can you see the needs of your customers through their eyes? If you did, what would need to change?

During Revenue Growth Workshops we map out the Ideal Client Experience. Marketing, sales, and operations get on the same page with what happens from the time a prospect first encounters the company all the way through their experience as a client. This exercise is very helpful to do in light of new expectations and hybrid work environments.

Recreate Your Plan

With your goals and client experience in mind it’s time to create a plan. This plan needs to align marketing, sales, and operations around your growth goals. What needs to be optimized? What’s missing? How can you do things to account for your current work structure and your clients’ expectations?

Revisit Your Playbooks

I love going to my granddaughter’s sports games. Both of them are under the age of 10 and relatively new to team sports. Whether they are playing basketball or soccer, they have one thing in common. The entire team runs to the ball. A giant horde of kids surround the ball. This amorphous mass of humanity suffocates the game. There is no way to pass the ball. As a result, the score is usually very low.

What’s wrong with this picture? While we of course give grace to these cute kids, the reality is that they don’t have a playbook. Everyone is just doing their own thing. The result is chaos.

What about your marketing, sales, and operations team? Do they have a playbook?

If you have revenue playbooks, it’s time to revisit them in light of the new environment. If you don’t have revenue playbooks, its time to create them!

A revenue playbook ensures that marketing, sales, and operations are working in concert to maximize both net-new and cross-sell revenue. Revenue playbooks give everyone a clear understanding of the ideal clients, personas, client experience, and processes. The include tools and content.

The result of a playbook is consistency.

Darrell Amy

Darrell is on a mission to help great companies grow revenue. He co-founded Convergo, where he serves as the Chief Innovation Officer, helping companies develop revenue growth strategies. Darrell is the host of the Revenue Growth Podcast and the co-host of the Selling From the Heart Podcast.

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