g2m conducted some qualitative research in Q1 2018, where we asked firms how they grow. How do they set strategy, build a plan, and then execute successfully over time? Particularly, we wanted to understand how the organisation’s digital transformation was affecting their approach to growth and was forcing them to change how they went to market. Turns out it's a long journey and 3 clear themes emerged:
Plan right + Invest in your team + Build & measure processes
Here are the 7 best practices the research uncovered:
The seven best practices
- Start with a plan for growth that includes all the key stakeholders who are responsible for the customer’s full journey. Naturally, it's driven by the senior leadership team, but should include representatives from the relevant teams (usually sales, customer success and marketing) from the start, to build a common sense of purpose and ownership. Turn your thinking inside out, build your plan to align around the customer’s (not your seller’s) journey from:
a. The first stages of awareness of their problem and the pain it's causing their firm & working out how to fix it.
b. To which vendors they think can help them best and purchasing from them.
c. To becoming a loyal long-term customer who thinks of you when the time comes to work on solving the next problem
d. Finally becoming a customer who will actively recommend you to a colleague or contact – an advocate for your business.
- Make sure your messaging, content and tactics are “joined up,” so from the customers’ point of view, it feels like a consistent experience and they hear a consistent message.
- It’s very tough for a team member “in the trenches” to work out what they are supposed to do each and every day to support the executive team’s growth strategy. Successful functional heads had a clear process that articulated how to turn the exec team’s strategy decisions into daily action for their team members.
- Build a growth mentality across the whole team. Invest time in coaching the growth team to think as a single unit, not separate departments. Build common, measurable KPIs that the growth team shares. Pay people for hitting those shared growth goals. Include marketing sales AND customer success roles in this.
- Build a data model that spans the whole customer journey, so you have targets for each customer journey stage and a mechanism for measuring performance vs goal at least monthly – ideally, data reporting is “live” but most acknowledged this was an aspiration currently. It doesn’t matter if it’s not 100% accurate initially, just starting out by setting goals based on data is a big step forward.
- Don’t try and reinvent the wheel in one go. Plan the destination together but then build a series of pilot projects to test and learn. As you become more confident in your decisions you can scale and accelerate.
- Whilst you don’t need to invest in the full technology stack out of the gate it’s important to have a view on what this should or will look like down the track to ensure the component pieces will “play nicely” together.
The 5 noted benefits to the business of "doing growth right:"
The team makes better, faster decisions as they are empowered by having a clearly articulated plan
Measuring ROI properly has improved, meaning spending has been optimised as they have stopped low yield tactics
A team who perform as a growth team, are much easier to retain
Conversion and retention rates across the customer lifecycle have improved
Tracking and reporting on progress makes the team feel more accountable
Would you like to read the 4-page summary of the research findings? Click the image below.