Tuesday, February 07, 2006

9 Key Principles to a Growth Strategy

The good news is that US statistics clearly point to a strongly rebounding economy.

Along with it, growth is back on the agenda for CEOs.

They want their share of the growing economy, but history indicates that solving the growth puzzle is not one that many CEOs have done well. In part, it is because they have never left their orientation around products ... they have not fully embraced responsiveness to customers as the key to growth. They still expect intrusive marketing and aggressive field sales to be the magic potion. They install expensive CRM systems but fear the customer will upset their company-centric control without realizing that battle is over and the customer has won.

Consequently, they fail in the basics of customer development. They do not identify markets with best potential, centered on customer needs. They do not segment properly. They do not build products that customers want or need. Their offerings are too complex and too expensive and too difficult to put in place. They drive up the total cost without adding to the total value.

Research by Deloitte asked business leaders to identify their biggest challenge to segmenting their growth strategies around customers. The leading response: customers don't understand what my company does best. You know, when I hear things like that I almost need to slap my face with a cold fish to wake up ... how can any marketer succeed if she puts failure to grow on the backs of customers too stupid to figure out what we do best?

Deloitte suggests 9 key principles to a successful growth strategy:
  1. Invest in real customer insights ... get the info from the customer instead of the sales department.
  2. Take the customer prespective ... move from company focus and admit you need to listen to customers.
  3. Keep it simple ... the growth strategy has to be simple and understandable.
  4. Hold people accountable for owning the customer clusters.
  5. Connect the dots ... deliver a value proposition that is meaningful and integrate it throughout your business with consistency at all touchpoints.
  6. Sell solutions that customers want ... don't sell products that you make.
  7. Train the entire organization to consult with customers about their needs.
  8. Simplify the organizational structure to deliver value with accountability for results
  9. Take special care with key accounts ... put your best executives on this prime real estate.

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