[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]While there is no widely agreed to metric for what “accelerated growth” actually is, a reasonable definition is growing
in a vertical market at 2x+ the average growth rate in the vertical. Accelerated Growth is a business strategy to outpace the competition either through a superior product offering, first mover advantage or aggressive pricing to acquire market position. Accelerated Growth is exciting, it’s compelling and the current buzz term – but is it right for your business?
Having participated in three different organizations working and growing at an accelerated growth rate, there were several characteristics each business had in common that enabled rapid growth:
- Sales took the lead – inevitably, a large component of accelerated growth is the ability for the organization to acquire newcustomers faster and possibly from other competitors in the market.
- Brand Marketing loved sales – the marketing team assumed and accepted a role of customer acquisition by successfully attracting and qualifying potential customers to smooth the path for sales to focus on converting qualified leads to customers.
- Customer Service spoiled customers – successful growth companies do everything in their power to not lose customers including rewriting initial deals to keep customers.
- Culture drove strategy – the saying “culture eats strategy for lunch” has some element of truth to it in that companies that were not culturally trained to win often lost. A culture of service, a culture of winning the customer is universally true among growth companies. This culture rolls across departments like finance that manage the risk of aggressive deals and balance itagainst volume growth, to support roles like human resources who keep the culture alive with new employees and information technology that ensure platforms of service are available and viable.
- Customer Marketing grew customers – one of the cornerstones to accelerated growth is growing your existing customer base with cross-selling, up-selling and growing their contributions to the business.
Three Tenants for Business Growth: Lift, Shift, Retain
Generally speaking, there are three tenants to growth: Lift, Shift, Retain. Lift is the process of growing existing customers, Shift is the process of Acquiring new customers to “feed the machine” and Retain is the process of stemming attrition so that the hole in the bottom of the bucket is substantially smaller than the opening at the top. So is your business ready for accelerated growth? These are the strategic questions you need to answer:
Is your organization aligned for growth
- If there is rancor among departments or a lack of alignment between sales and marketing, your business is not ready.
- If accounting, finance or even human resources is not aligned with growth that may excessively reward sales in the short term, your business is not ready.
- If the executive team is not engaged in funneling growth by participating and encouraging a winning culture, your business is not ready.
- Do you have a superior product or service that fits the accelerated growth model?
- Alignment is the first essential tenant of accelerated growth.
Is your business growing revenues faster than losing them?
- Businesses with high churn have a structural issue that has to be addressed before attempting accelerated growth. Without addressing attrition, accelerated growth may only accelerate attrition.
Is sales ready for accelerated growth?
- How connected is your sales team to the market?
- Do certain sales people have vertical specialties, networks or experience that can support value propositions?
- Are sales people properly compensated for accelerated growth?
- Is the organization prepared for supporting sales recognizing that sales may reap higher short-term compensation gains?
- Is sales solely motivated by money or does sales have a blend of compensation and the thrill of the chase?
- Are sales people capable of leading the organization and building alliances internally to support their outreach?
Are you, the leader of the business, ready for accelerated growth?
- As a senior executive, your sales people may “out shine” you in the market.
- As the ranking senior executive, are you prepared to leverage your personal brand and reputation to drive the business forward?
- Are you prepared to align the organization, even if it requires some change, in order to focus the culture on winning customers, new and existing, and working collaboratively to drive business performance?
Are you Compensating for Growth?
- Private businesses often compensate sales with cash and benefits.
- Private companies with equity available compensate both sales and support staff with equity positions to focus the organization on customer growth on multiple levels.
- Compensation is a critical component to growth and successful growth organizations include all employees in the compensation plan aligned to growth.
A Fully Aligned Business Structure and Culture is Key to Success
Aligning your business and business leaders, building a culture of winning customers and keeping them and compensating the entire organization for growth is the best business strategy for preparing for accelerated growth. We welcome your comments and feedback on your thoughts and experiences with accelerated growth and growth marketing. This is the first of a series of posts on Accelerated Growth where we share with you strategies and tactics to achieve rapid growth in markets. You can find our presentation on SlideShare or listen into our Accelerated Growth Webinar.
Next Topic: Accelerated Growth and Managing the Sales Pipeline