Growth Insights for CEOs

3 More Steps To Unleash Growth In Your Small Or Family-Owned Business

Posted by Slade Kobran

In my last post I talked about some critical steps growth-oriented companies must take toSmall business person unleash their growth potential. Although I had written a lot, after re-reading the post I realized I had not exhausted the subject.  So, here are an additional 3 steps you should consider as you continue on your growth journey. As I mentioned before, these steps come from the work we’ve done at Chief Outsiders helping CEOs realize their vision for their company.

3 Additional Steps for Growth

  1. Keep sales motivated and engaged – So you’ve gone ahead and hired a few new sales reps who are geared up to provide the sales growth you’re looking for. The question is, how will you keep them motivated and engaged? While it’s true that good sales people are self-motivated and often self-sufficient, they do need support to keep in the game (good reps are in demand and will leave for the next best opportunity if they don’t think it exists with you). To support them you need to address several areas. 
    • Pipeline - Where will their leads come from? Will all their leads be self-generated (do they have the contacts or the process) or will the company provide marketing support (in what form)?
    • Managing the funnel – Are they knowledgeable and disciplined enough to go after the right opportunities or will their productivity be hampered by chasing deals they shouldn’t go after? What support or guidance do you need to provide them to ensure they are engaging with the right prospects and addressing their best opportunities?
    • Moving through the sales process – Do they have a solid understanding of the buyers’ needs and the product/service knowledge to properly address them? Are they equipped to properly represent your product or service, and/or is technical support or other people with subject matter expertise available to call in if needed? Do they have the right information and content to attract prospective customers and give them a reason to move them to the next stage of the sale?
  2. Don’t leave money on the table – Pricing can be one of the most difficult areas to address for many companies and the most important part of the sales process. It’s at this point that many companies are faced with a conundrum - do they go in with a higher price and limit discounts to get the most revenue (and potentially give the prospect reason to walk away from the deal) or do they price more aggressively to get the business and forfeit additional revenue the customer may have been willing to pay? While each deal has its unique aspects, it’s important to have a disciplined pricing policy and a (non-cumbersome) way to handle exceptions. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with using price to close a deal, you should make sure you get something in return. In some cases this can be a multi-year contract, product exclusivity or better delivery terms. In other cases you may be able to negotiate a different service level or maybe even an agreement by the customer to be a reference which can help you close additional sales going forward. 
  3. Give yourself someplace else to go – Too often, growth companies focus on the now, without proper consideration for the future. They may put so much effort into a one-time sale or a comprehensive agreement that covers all parts of their customer’s business that they miss a bigger opportunity and create a growth problem for themselves. While the big one-time deal may help address short-term sales goals, it can leave the company no place to go for additional revenue. To avoid this, make sure you give your customer a reason to continue to come back to you for additional products or services. This may mean leaving yourself room to expand to additional parts of their business such as new divisions or geographies. Or, it may entail limiting software updates to the next update rather than all future versions. You may also be able to introduce new service packages, new services or training to capture additional revenue from your existing customers. 

Don’t forget the original 5 steps for growth

  1. Have a clear position in the market
  2. Select a market to target
  3. Identify and target your buyer
  4. Give your prospects a reason to talk with you
  5. Give your prospects a reason to buy

While I’m sure there’s more than can be said on the topic, I’ll leave it here for now. I expect myself or another Chief Outsider will revisit this subject in future posts as it is central in the minds of our clients and growth-oriented CEOs everywhere.

Have your own tips you’d like to share?  We’d like to hear about them in the comments below. We've already collected one bonus tip courtesy of Jim Schwarz who commented on my last post is to take leverage your product and process strengths to innovate and go outside your box. As Jim notes, “This will involve risk but certainly will increase the market space so as to grow the business.”

View our latest webinar Growth Gears.

Topics: Corporate Strategy, Business Growth Strategy, Growing Market Share

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