My teammates and I collaborate with business leadership teams to find ways their companies can achieve their sales and margin ambitions—even if their markets are hyper-competitive.
Following my corporate career at GE and Wickes, and a venture-funded startup, I began working with companies on a consulting basis 20 years ago to Find Hidden Value, then message it and price to get paid for it (yielding six- and seven-figure gains). At the bottom of this page, you will find comments from just a few of the companies I’ve helped.
Does this sound like you?
Your company sells to businesses and other organizations, rather than directly to consumers.
Your company provides important, expensive business inputs or is crucial in other ways to your customers’ business success. The buying decision is an important one for your customers—there’s a lot at stake.
Are you experiencing one or more of these issues?
- Prospects and customers don't see you as any different than your competitors, because you and your team don't perceive the full value of what you do for customers. So, your messaging isn’t converting well and you end up competing on cost and price instead of value.
- You’ve developed a promising new product or service solution that is falling well short of expected sales. You’ve invested heavily in it, but trials, adoptions and sales just aren’t ramping up fast enough. It’s frustrating because you know that prospective customers will really benefit if they do say yes.
- Guilty of committing random acts of marketing and chasing bright shiny objects. So, you’re not getting much return on investment from these efforts.
These three simple, but frustrating issues will have lousy consequences for customers, associates, executives, and shareholders if left unaddressed.
My work focuses on these three outcome-oriented practices:
- Finding your company’s and your offering’s heretofore Hidden Value, messaging it, and pricing to get paid for it. When you figure this out, your customers will start to appreciate how you and your solutions are different and valuable. We’ll help you nail this!
- You’ll define a marketing strategy based on market insights, instead of impulsive ideas. We’ll help you build a strategy, and aligned tactics, that have a high probability of working.
- You’ll structure your organization (and outside resources as needed) to carry out the integrated, prioritized actions to implement the strategy and get beyond a ceiling on revenues.
These proven practices position you to stand out in the right market(s), grow both sales and margins, and boost enterprise value.
What can you expect to gain from working with me?
You’ll go from sounding just like your competitors to speaking to what prospects and customers care most about.
You’ll discover how to message your innovative new product / service offerings so that prospects perceive the advantages of adoption and say yes.
You will discover your Hidden Value and unhide it, find ways to create Bigger Value, and target more promising market segments for the future.
You and your team will systematically focus your marketing and sales investments where they have the highest probability of paying off big.
Ultimately, you’ll harness your team’s strengths and find the few missing pieces that hold back bigger results.
What’s the structure for working together?
VisibleValue® differentiated story development is a collaboration that discovers customer value you aren’t getting credit for and fixes that. It’s designed to deliver the outcomes described above.
Including implementation, our work together is intended to last four to six months. But you need not commit to that upfront—only the first stage.
The first stage is called Find Your Hidden Value — and Bigger Value.
We’re going to draw out what you and your team collectively already know that’ll be needed to understand the full value of your company’s current and potential future solutions. Then we’ll identify companies and the types of decision makers for me to personally interview, to find additional elements of value that you and your team are missing or underemphasizing.
When we’ve completed this initial stage, you can expect to:
- Have an enhanced understanding of why customers make the choices they do, what’s important to them, and what’s changing and challenging in their worlds that can create opportunity for your company
- Take what we learn about how your company creates customer value and translate it into a “just simple enough” strategy, translate it into an action plan, and line up the organization to execute.
- Know first-hand what it’s like to work with me and experience how I can multiply the effectiveness of your team
Because a strategy that sits in a file or on a shelf has little value, I help you implement. Action is crucial to achieving results. When we complete the action plan, we will enter an implementation coaching phase where I will help you put your new game plan into effect. That’s the next stage of VisibleValue differentiation development.
I’ve found that this implementation stage of work together is necessary. Several times in the past, clients have told me, “This is so great! We’ll take it from here,” only to see months pass with little to no action.
Instead, this is why we now build in rapid implementation as the crucial second stage of our work. I’ll help you make sure that implementing the strategy stays a priority.
What’s my approach to producing action and outcomes?
The executives and owners I work with, and their teams, are the stars of the show. Not me. I am a skilled guide who helps them to discover what they are too close to their situation to fully see; develop initiatives; and make things happen.
Collectively, the key people in the company typically know about 70 to 80% of what’s needed to develop messaging that’ll achieve a successful launch or breakout from a competitive stalemate.
My job is to draw out that knowledge and organize it so that it’s actionable and powerful — AND to help discover the missing 20 - 30% that will help the team earn the outcomes they seek, even in a tough competitive market. Then I help you make the crucial decisions and put them into action.
What does this collaboration help you avoid?
Staying stuck in an undifferentiated market position, racking your brain about what to do to get growth, while your margins get compressed by cost inflation and price pressure.
A weak launch of an innovative new product / service solution, so the ROI you need is greatly delayed or never arrives.
Your Board of Directors becoming increasingly apprehensive that the company won’t have a good future unless something changes.
Random acts of marketing, chasing the newest bright shiny object you read about or heard from another executive or a marketing agency—while future-building actions are postponed in the day-to-day, customer-by-customer rush of business.
How is my approach different?
Structured, organized, just simple enough, and accountable. I bring you proven frameworks and approaches.
I help you gather useful insights from customers and prospects, at a much deeper level than most market research and surveys ever do. I’ll combine those insights with your team’s collective knowledge. Then I guide you all into action, with follow-through and accountability.
Chief Outsiders’ 100+ highly experienced fractional Chief Marketing Officers supplement my expertise to provide you with the best advice and implementation.
During our next discussion, I’ll walk you through examples of what you’ll be getting as outputs, and the process we’ll use, so that what to expect will be very tangible.
What is VisibleValue® not?
It’s not an expert who swoops in with all the answers, says, “Voila, here’s your strategy!” and then leaves.
It’s not a cookie cutter with 14 steps that are used whether they fit your company or not.
Nor is it a consulting report that’ll sit on the shelf because no one on your team has the bandwidth, or just the right skillsets, needed to lead implementation.
What a few past clients have said about our work together
“Bob Sherlock delivered the best ROI of any consultant we’ve used. He worked with us to better understand our value to customers, and helped us develop a much better process for pricing. Bob spent the time with us to understand the particulars of our business, so we could apply his frameworks and tools to make better decisions and implement. He did everything he promised, and as he predicted the results are a multiple of what it cost to work with him. I highly recommend Bob as a resource.”
G.R. Kearney, CEO, ACME Finishing
“I can’t stress enough how powerful it was when Bob Sherlock helped us find our Hidden Value. Companies tell themselves, ‘We know our customers, we talk to them all the time.’ But they can’t talk to customers the way Bob can and that’s why the insights are so different. He also guided us through processes that helped us prioritize strategies and build business cases. We got confidence and clarity. Three years later, we’ve implemented our top priorities and grew the business.”
Mike Whiteley, SVP, Hatco Corporation
“We needed, but didn’t have, a compelling story for ‘why choose us’ even though we aren’t the cheapest option. After working with Bob Sherlock, we now have that story and a clear strategy for winning in the markets of the future. As a result, we expect more sales growth with the right prospects. We had a good experience working with Bob, and will use him again to help us with future market challenges.”
Bob Hartline, CEO, Xymox Inc.
Your Next Steps…
If you think VisibleValue® might be for you, let’s schedule a 45 to 60 minute meeting to discuss your business, goals, and challenges, and I can answer any questions you may have. At the end of this meeting, we can decide to move to the next step (a detailed proposal for working together, with investment and the outcomes you can expect) — or not.
Set up a time to meet with me.
* Chief Outsiders LLC is the national licensee of VisibleValue® differentiated story development services, a registered trademark of Marketwerks, Inc.