The following is a guest post by Steve Kimball of the Chasm Group.
The Digital Transformation of businesses is well underway and has fundamentally changed how customers buy. Digital Go-To-Market has now become table stakes. How you Go-To-Market has become just as important as what you sell. Orchestrating the Go-To-Market effort as a single motion across Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success is the key to sustainable success.
High-growth businesses, those that experience 30 percent or greater year-over-year growth, share four common attributes.
1. They have a vision.
Not just vision for where the company is going – they have a vision for where their customer is going and what their world is going to look like in the future. A customer-centric vision generates power in the marketplace.
Powerful companies get to define buying criteria. They set the stage for how customers evaluate their options and make purchase decisions. As a result, these visionaries command a greater portion of the market share, and profit share, for their industry or product category.
How can businesses develop a “vision?”
Focus on the customer. Remember, the vision for your brand is rooted in the vision for your customers. Most companies position themselves based on what they do, not why they do it. Very few organizations lead with why they matter to their customer.
Consider Uber. Visit Uber’s website and front and center reads: “Get there. Your day belongs to you.” Not, “Call us and we’ll bring you a car because our cars are the best.”
2. They merchandise customer successes.
Successful businesses merchandise customer successes in all marketing, communications and sales efforts. But they focus on the customer, not the product or service.
Almost all marketing literature makes the same mistake – the content selfie. Messaging is focused on the brand: its products, features, why it’s the best; instead of the customer: how it helps them achieve their goals, overcome their challenges, address their pain points.
Flip the script on marketing and sales collateral.
Tell customer stories from the customer’s perspective. Paint a picture of how your customers are using your products or services to solve their specific challenges. Potential customers don’t care about your product; they care about what your product can do for them. They care how you’ve done it for others like them. Speak to your customers’ challenges, needs and aspirations and how you’ve helped others like them achieve the same outcomes.
Think benefits-focused versus features-focused.
Start with a content audit: Do you have customer-centric language on your website, in all your marketing and sales collateral? Are there case studies and testimonials from the perspective of the customer? If not, you’re essentially spamming potential buyers with information that’s all about you. Do that and you’ll turn a hot prospect into a lost opportunity.
3. They look around the corner.
By focusing on the customer’s problems or goals, high-growth businesses can look around the corner for the next pool of revenue. They stay ahead of the curve and are able to determine which customer segment, market, product or service to invest in next.
At certain stages of a company cycle, without thinking about the next set of revenue or addressable market, a company’s growth will stall.
Find the next pool of revenue.
Figuring out your next move, while still in a growth cycle, starts with a true understanding of the customer. Think about what your customer will want or need next or how to apply your solutions to new market segments. How is the market changing and how will these changes impact your customers’ needs? Position your business to fill that gap.
Market leaders such as Salesforce.com are constantly investing in the “next wave” of market opportunity. That has been a driver of Salesforce’s sustainable growth.
4. They’re constantly refining their demand generation engine.
High-growth businesses don’t “set it and forget it.” Success isn’t gained by determining a strategy, pulling the lever and walking away. Instead, they leverage analytics and use data to constantly analyze the customer buying journey. They assess what’s working and what’s not in order to make changes and improvements to their products, services, funnel and marketing-to-sales strategy.
What worked to bring customers into your sales funnel, may not work to close their business.
Don’t rely on auto-pilot.
The real danger with marketing automation is relying too heavily on the automation. It’s not enough to simply produce and publish great content or launch a series of email nurturing campaigns. It’s essential to regularly evaluate how well content offers and processes contribute to achieving specific business goals.
Take a step back from the day-to-day to analyze your marketing-to-sales funnel. Assess the conversion rates at each funnel stage as well as the velocity (speed at which prospects move from one stage to the next) of their movement.
Regularly revisit the broader business goals to ensure your marketing and sales efforts are still effective.
If you want to realize sustainable growth to meet your business goals, these four areas of focus are proven models for success. If you don’t have a vision, merchandise successes, look around the corner and constantly refine, all with a keen focus on the customer’s needs, you can bet your competitors will.
After all, it’s not just what you sell – it’s how you market and sell that matters.
Steve Kimball serves as strategic advisor to CEOs and boards. Steve helps clients make decisions that accelerate market adoption, increase revenue growth and maximize their company’s valuation and liquidity outcomes. He is a Silicon Valley veteran and has spent more than 25 years starting, reinventing and advising fast-growth companies. Steve has hands-on experience launching innovative business models, introducing new products, implementing successful sales and marketing strategies, and acquiring, integrating and selling companies with clients that span a wide spectrum of high growth technology companies in North America and Europe.
The Chasm Group is a strategy consulting practice devoted to helping technology-based companies develop and execute market-leading strategies that accelerate profitable growth and increase the value of their business. We are a team of seasoned technology professionals who specialize in accelerating the time from strategy to results.