I’ve always believed that strategic growth requires a plan, execution and something new to present to potential clients.
I wrote a column recently referring to the book “Your Marketing Sucks” by Mark Stevens, and Gale Crosley contacted me about it. She felt I did not totally frame how strategic growth really happens. I agreed with her and we had a nice conversation. Here is her philosophy, which I also recommend following.
Gale suggests that to drive strategic growth you need to build three functional areas:
- Marketing: This is a market-level function — which markets should you be in and how you should operate in them.
- Sales: This is a micro-level function — the direct method of generating revenue.
- Product management: This is the discipline of finding out what the market wants or needs and then developing the services or products to deliver to the market — your clients and prospects.
These three areas need to be tightly connected. Additionally, a critical mind-set change is needed — to have an outside view of the market and not an inside view based on what you are doing, would like to do or what you want clients to want.
This all starts with a financial analysis — an inventory of your service lines and industries’ contribution of revenue and profit to your firm. A spreadsheet matrix lists columns of industries and rows of service lines. Once you know where you are concentrated and making money, it’s time to go out into the markets and find out which ones have the best market conditions. You can add markets and service lines to the spreadsheet as they develop.
In many firms the primary approach to growing revenue is through individual book-of-business partners, especially those senior partners who are particularly good at rainmaking. But when you organize in a matrix, each chunk of revenue is led by a partner responsible for the strategic direction and financial health of that “business unit,” not just their personal book of business.
These leaders are then tasked to do lots of interviews in the market, not only of clients and prospects, but thought leaders, competitors and other service providers. They’ll get all the raw material they need to figure out which buyer groups would buy which services (current or innovated) based on the buyers’ issues or challenges, and where to find buyers in great quantities (distribution channels). The combination of these three elements constitutes a growth strategy.
Distribution channels provide the leverage to find great quantities of buyers. Figuring out how to align your interests (find lots of buyers) with the channel’s interests (e.g., get more members, sell more products or cultivate a larger following), then you are ready to pick a tool out of the marketing bag, or implement some other approach to accomplish the clients’ objectives as well as your own. The results are a constant recalibration of strategy, visibility, credibility, relevance, and buyers revealing themselves in great quantities, i.e., leads, which you can now use your good selling techniques to turn into revenue!
A constant in all of this is that markets are always changing. If you want to remain relevant, you will continually need to interview as many people in the market as you can in order to adjust your strategy. It requires effort and resolve, but you’ll always have a strategic growth plan that anticipates the market shifts and ensures you’re driving revenue with the best market conditions — buyers who are hungry, services that satisfy their needs, and distribution channels that constantly work with you.
This column was prepared in collaboration with strategic growth consultant Gale Crosley, who can be reached at email@example.com. Her monthly columns can be read on this site and in the print edition of Accounting Today. A personal note, from experience, is that Gale is super to work with, and a pleasure, and she drives results.
Do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your practice management questions or about engagements you might not be able to perform.
Credit: Source link