A CEO’s Guide to Growth Readiness


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As the CEO, you have a company growth objective. It could be customers, margin, or top line revenue. Whatever the reason, the objective is real. This year, you’ll likely answer to a board or major equity investor about it. Your job security is on the line. Your plan must be aligned with their expectations.

According the “Year-End CEO Report” conducted by Challenger, Grey & Christmas, CEO turnover rose in 2013. There were “1,246 CEO changes in 2013, 2.6 percent more than the 1,214 departures announced through all of 2012.” Dig into those departure numbers and I bet many were due to growth issues.

Ask Yourself Two Questions

1. Are my Sales & Marketing organizations prepared to meet my growth objective?
2. If not, what are the Sales & Marketing leaders doing to get us prepared?

To get the answers, walk your leaders through the Growth Readiness Scorecard. Download it and have your team answer to a 30 point health check. Have them focus on three categories: people, process, and technology.

Growth Readiness Scorecard

David Cichelli puts it well in his book “The Sales Growth Imperative.” His premise is simple: “For a business to be successful, it must grow; and for it to grow successfully, it needs an effective sales force.” There is evidence that an effective marketing strategy is needed as well.

Are You Ready for Growth?

The answer begins with knowing which growth phase you are in now. Obviously Initial growth is different than expansion growth in selected markets. A winning formula for a start-up is entirely different than its more mature counterparts.

Past performance is no guarantee of future success. As organizations expand, new demands are introduced. Weaknesses will emerge in the process. Before you realize it, you’re not built for the next phase of business.

To help identify the weak spots, the Growth Readiness Scorecard considers three categories:

People. There is a new definition of an “A Player.” Does your organization know what that is? Are you able to hire these new A Players? Is the Sales organization structured for expansion?

Process. This piece must be in place before rolling out new management technologies. How are your leads flowing from capture to close? Does your organization know the buyer’s process? If so, is your sales process in alignment?

Technology. This is split between software, systems, and the stored data. Has Sales Operations successfully evolved from spreadsheets to fully automated systems? Is there a business intelligence roadmap in place to meet your demands? Are your Sales and Marketing Operations systems scalable for growth?

readiness graphic

This is a light version of what’s called a Sales Productivity Benchmark (SPB). It reveals the strengths and weaknesses of your Sales & Marketing organizations. An SPB identifies gaps in sales execution and prioritizes remedies. Most importantly, an SPB reveals how to make the number with less effort.

You have your growth objective. As CEO you are responsible for leading the plan to meet that objective. This year, you’ll likely answer to a board or major equity investor about it. Find out if your Sales and Marketing organizations are poised to help you succeed. Walk your leadership team through the Growth Readiness Scorecard. Your team should be held accountable too.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan Bernoske
Dan Bernoske serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a sales and marketing consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies exceed their revenue targets. With 13 years of experience, Dan has delivered results in business development, corporate strategy, product management, marketing, and process improvement.


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