I spend time with my client CEOs talking about their business strategies and how to get better results from their organization’s sales and marketing efforts. You would think we might talk about their strategic issues and challenges. But we don’t, we talk about three challenges impacting their businesses today. I believe that until we get alignment in these three key areas we will continue talking about these issues until they are resolved. Since many of my clients read my blogs, I’m hoping that we can share this information at one time. I understand every one of my mid- market and entrepreneur clients’ businesses are different. It’s amazing to me, but almost all of them have similar challenges although the specifics are different.
The first challenge they face is how to build a stronger strategic account program. Most of my clients have several large accounts among their best customers. They tell me that their biggest clients are negotiating for bigger price concessions and are looking for leadership from their suppliers and vendors. They also say that there is more competition for key projects than ever before. In several cases, they weren’t certain they would retain these clients.
The second challenge is they have limited impact on their new markets either by geography or vertical specialization. They have invested significant capital in these markets with limited success. For many of these companies, they face stronger competition and their own key accounts are less likely to support their new growth strategies. They struggle to have the best sales professional s at the right place at the right time. Many of their key practice leaders struggle to get in front of the right buyers in their potential clients.
The third challenge is that their partner organizations are no longer providing the introductions to their best clients. In several cases, the partner organization has brought in a competitor to provide their customer a better price for a similar product offering to theirs. This competition has caused margins to decrease and, in the worst case, a loss of the revenue completely. Their own sales professionals have had to start calling on new clients’ cold. This has increased the time and resources required to get new business.
Do you share one or more of these challenges? Are your CEOs feeing they must take control to help get their sales and marketing teams aligned with corporate growth and profits? I wish I could tell you there is an easy solution to your problems. I think we’ve hit a tipping point in how business is done and it may require a different strategy for you to keep growing your business. The extended economic downturn and the rise of new sales and marketing channels have created a new opportunity for growth within your business.
These challenges require different management skills if you hope to get back on track. Your challenge is to become more effective in a number of new disciplines if you hope to keep growing your business. Your leadership team needs to work even better together and requires an increasing level of competence in new disciplines for you to succeed. The convergence between technology, marketing, and sales is going to change the way business is done forever. I hope you’re e ready to take charge of this new organization. If not, you may be looking for a new opportunity in the next twelve months.
Now, for the good news. If you are a regular reader of Market Leadership Journal you already know that we’ve been working on these challenges and continue to share with you leading edge ideas to help you continue growing your business. We’ve already added Mobile Monday to help bring you up to speed on how mobile is changing the way you do business. We think it will be a game changer for your business, a real giant killer in your markets. I hate the idea of using all these buzz words in single paragraph but mobile is going to be just that big.
Now for the other side of this, I’ve already shared some ideas on how sales and marketing are converging but I will share implementable strategies to keep you winning business during challenging times. I’ve already seen a dramatic increase in the number of sales teams and their successes. I will share how you might structure these teams to get maximum impact on your sales and marketing results. Finally, I will share ideas on how to build deeper and stronger relationships with your partners.
If you run an organization or have dreams in being the CEO of your business, you might enjoy reading a recent blog that I wrote for Developing Serving Leaders called How to Make Your Business Attractive to Buyers at http://shar.es/jDV3C It shares my findings from a Succession Planning for Privately Held Business seminar I attended last week, here in Independence, Ohio. There are several key ideas I share with my client CEOs that you might find interesting.
See you here next Monday as we talk about how to get the more out of your mobile strategies.