B2B CEOs Must Align Their Companies to Maximize Growth Potential

B2B business is booming and has been for some time. The B2B sector is undeniably a huge driver of the economy, and in many ways, there has never been a better time to be a B2B business. But conversely, there has never been more competition either, and significant challenges lie ahead.

July 3 2014 by John Neeson


Today, we’re moving out of an era of productivity and entering a new era of growth, according to 300 B2B business leaders recently surveyed by SiriusDecisions. How, then, can organizations stay ahead of the competition in order to maximize their growth potential?

Based on the research results, for any B2B organization, the three legs on the stool of top-line growth are: the alignment of marketing, sales and product management. Unfortunately, and more often than not, these three functions do not support each other, because they often work in silos with different goals, which results in inconsistent, stunted growth.

Alignment begins with having everyone on the same page, working together to understand the most effective path for growth. We have found that most B2B organizations grow through five unique strategies, which we call the “Five Pillars of Growth:”

  1. New Markets: Entrance into—or expansion of—vertical, horizontal and/or geographic segments using existing/new offerings;
  2. New Buyers: Formal targeting of new buying centers and personas;
  3. New Offerings: Launch of new products/services, or enhancement of the current portfolio;
  4. Acquisitions: Purchase of other companies, or the incubation of new business units; and
  5. Productivity: Maximizing efficiency, effectiveness and engagement with current solution set.

Each of these pillars have implications for the go-to-market model of the organization, which is why careful consideration in their selection or prioritization is required. In the aforementioned survey, we uncovered key reasons why the priorities for each were often not aligned.

While marketing believes the most important pillars for growth are selling to new buyers, entering new markets and focusing on productivity, the sales and product management functions don’t share this view. All parties agree on the importance of productivity, but sales and product management place a far greater importance on launching new products and services than any other pillar.

The question you may be asking is how can the three functions’ leaders, who all work for the same organization, not agree on how their company will grow? The reality, unfortunately, is that most organizations don’t prioritize each of these pillars or fully think through their ramifications, which is where the CEO comes in.

Ironically, all three functions agree they will grow in FY’14. And, 88 percent expect positive growth into their current markets, with 77 percent confidence. However, without clear alignment led from the top down, growth may be difficult to achieve or maintain.

The time is now for the CEO to pull the three function leaders together to plan and prioritize each pillar of growth. The next step in this process is to explore what it will take to be successful in each pillar. Far too often, the management team gives the edict to do it “all”, when in reality, it’s too difficult to do everything really well. By prioritizing the pillars of growth, management is in a much stronger position to create alignment, which results in consistent, predictable results.

Access more information from the Intelligent Growth Study here.