Manufacturing ompanies are expert at managing the bottom line. The top line is often left to chance. That's risky as globalization and technology change buying habits and market conditions.
We work with management and in-house teams at middle market B2B manufacturing companies to bring the same rigor and proactive approach to the top-line that is so expertly applied to the bottom line. Businesses that work with us achieve outcomes including:
Most buyer research is built on demographics and internal assumptions of buying process extrapolated from the "sales process." That's increasingly problematic as buying behaviors change. Extensive persona research, sophisticated buying journey analysis and business acumen are required to create these revenue growth building blocks.
Later, analysis of accumulated data, successful and unsuccessful conversions, 'digital body language' and lead scoring create a predictive capability that enhances pipeline management and strengthens forecasting.
Remember the old "eyeballs" metric? Could it have been any more vapid? Doesn't today's chatter about social media following sound similar?
We believe that real companies make real stuff that has real applications in the industrial world. Their business is built on real activity - and that activity occurs along a continuum and includes key milestones and metrics like:
There are many variations along the way, and the ultimate metric, revenue, takes time to impact. Intermediate metrics provide insight into pipeline growth. There should be no debate, however, that the metric that matters is revenue. And that's our focus.
Whether you call it branding, PR, demand generation, lead generation and account management....or sales & marketing, the premise is the same.
Organizations are built on traditional silos. Many B2B industrial manufacturing companies may combine functions (for instance PR, product marketing, marketing communications & field marketing are often combined) but there's a classic partition between marketing and sales.
Not only does that create counterproductive friction in many cases, but it's no longer functional.
Today buyer's expect a seamless experience with your company. Internal responsibilities are appropriate based on skill sets, but must support continuity in the buying journey.
That requires alignment, complimentary skills, collaboration and in many cases new skills and functions such as a robust 'inside sales' function and 'social selling' acumen.
Every company works to grow revenue. But the process by which a company achieves revenue growth can itself have a big impact.
If it's achieve simply by pressing harder, setting barely attainable quotas, demanding more cold calls and adding more bodies, eventually it sputters.
If revenue growth is achieved with a defined process, then that process and the resulting buyer and market data combine to become a strategic asset of a company. The asset value is based on the consistency and predictability of results which spring from a replicable, predictable, scalable model.
So consistent revenue growth itself enhances a company's value - and when proprietary process IP and unique data drive the revenue growth those assets further enhance the value to potential acquirers.
Research indicates that today's buyers rely on the internet for research and problem solving inspiration - not sales reps. Much of the early stage buying process therefore occurs in the shadows of the internet. (Estimates vary by product and industry and range from 30-70%)
Companies experience an increase in RFQs to which they are forced to respond with quotes. They miss the opportunity to help define and solve the challenge; to establish important elements of a solution; to create value determination; or to solve creatively. Often they are a "check bid."
As a result margins are under constant pressure.
LinkedIn research finds that 74% of B2B buyers ultimately select the vendor that first provided value as the buyer began to understand their challenge and research solutions.
Therefore, in order to grow revenue, companies must engage with unknown prospects who haven't fully defined their problem and haven't yet identified a solution. That's a real challenge - but one that must be met. Otherwise you're just quoting - you're not selling...or helping buyers buy.
Companies that stumble into growth are lucky. Companies that create it are successful.
Just as there is well defined management science around operational efficiency and bottom line finance, companies should overcome the tradition of ascribing sales success to art & magic, and distill revenue growth into a manageable process to the maximum extent possible.
Unlike traditional sales management by activity (# of cold calls, # of quotes, # of demos) this is built on mapping your actions against the buyer's requirements in a consistently customized and personalized way...for every prospect.
Traditionally large companies enter global markets with a substantial greenfield investment and a multi year strategic outlook. In contrast, small companies take a very oportunistic approach to individual opportunities.
Middle market global growth is important for a number of strategically significant reasons - but neither of those models is appropriate. Companies have often tried one or the other with frustrating results and are hesitant to explore export and globalization further.
We implement a data driven incremental approach. Drawing on traffic, leads and projects we infer where the most promising market opportunities lay - we don't hypothesize based on research as was traditionally done.
Then with data informing target selection we use digital tools to incrementally extend the business development effort into target markets. Finally, when the foundation is laid, we apply our global experience to applying the optimal market entry and development model and approach.
Ad hoc activities may create a pop in results, but invariably detract from long-term value as they are woven into a complicated web of inefficient activities.
Our work with clients builds toward documented, repeatable, scalable models for continued revenue growth and adaptability.
Every company, industry, market, product - even every person and manager - has idiosyncrasies. Ideally those are understood and aligned at least to mitigate and hopefully to optimize results.
Some are so completely embedded that they can't be overcome. More often, though, they're a product of habit or convenience. When they interfere with revenue growth they must be identified. Quantifying them allows management to gauge the severity and impact vs. the cost and hassle of the change required to overcome them.
But decisions must be informed and explicit based on data - not simply made by default or "because that's how we've always done it."
Buyer behaviors and procurement processes have changed so substantially that companies can't adequately respond with tweaks of the sales team.
Just as quality is the product of attention, empowerment and collaboration among every department and employee, so is revenue growth.
Success therefore requires a culture - one embraced by proponents from the C-Suite and one that involves employees throughout the company across functions.
Success requires a company wide culture of growth which we help to envision, define and instill.
We use a variety of approaches including analysis, workshops, executive planning sessions and coaching. Our success is built on the emapthy and insight acquired running similar companies, strategic vision, tactical experience and detailed insight.
Every engagement is different. Companies are often only interested in one or two of those outcomes. We believe that consistent top-line growth is built on a synthesis of all of them. Often as clients see the connections engagements are broadened.
Our approach is simple - where we can create value, we do. In all other areas (website execution, copywriting, forecasting, strategic finance, etc.) we suggest outside resources and coordinate if appropriate.
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