It’s hard to grow your business without marketing. Businesses that have good products and services are great. And businesses with good products and services and a strong marketing strategy are even better. But marketing isn’t the only way to grow your business.
Your business — and even your marketing organization itself — have hidden growth potential. If you take a look at your people, your processes, and your organizational structure, you might find it. If you’re spending most of your time planning email blasts and designing landing pages, then you might miss it.
Can you do things more efficiently? Are you using outdated processes that don’t meet your needs or goals? Is your organization full of ad-hoc processes that haven’t kept up with your tech stack? These are among the questions to ask as you look to become more efficient and more aligned.
Joining us for this episode is Karen Kimsey-Sward, who has spent her career helping B2B leaders grow their businesses by better managing their people, their processes, and their profits.
Among the topics covered in this episode:
- What are the signs your organization isn’t reaching its true growth potential?
- How do you evaluate and identify areas for process improvement?
- What should businesses be thinking about as we head into 2021?
Karen Kimsey-Sward: I think one of the key indicators [that you can unlock growth by improving your processes] on the sales side — there are several key indicators on the sales side — one would even be how fast you can move people through the pipeline. Even taking a look at things like that. Because sometimes that can help if they get stuck in certain ways… Sometimes they’ll just blame the salesperson, “Oh, it’s the salesperson…”
But if there’s kind of a trend, where things are getting stuck at certain spots in the sales process, then that means there’s a systemic problem there. If you can take a look at that, then you can find faster growth. There’s a reason for that.
Mike Pastore: There’s a pothole in the road, and it’s right there.
Karen Kimsey-Sward: Yes! Exactly. So that’s one area. And I focus probably less on the technology and more on the people side of it. Because there’s so much with technology, and they’ll put all this technology in, and then you’ll have some of the salespeople not using the technology, or not using it to its full advantage. And that’s why many times, even with the pipeline, it’s really worth taking a look and seeing, what are those different, common potholes?
I think another area is taking a look at how fast it takes to get a salesperson on-boarded. Like how fast that whole… that ramp-up time. To me, that’s another, if you want to call it a pothole, that’s another pothole. Where if you can get them ramped up faster, that’s going to get you better growth, faster growth, and more return on that person.
Mike Pastore: When you talk about on-boarding, it’s not all the HR stuff that everybody has to do, but we’re talking about from hire to actually selling and closing deals, right?
Karen Kimsey-Sward: Yes, yes, yes. And what happens is some of the really large companies, they have their processes. But some of the mid-size companies I work with, they don’t have that as buttoned down as some of the really larger one do.
And to me, that’s a real opportunity, because it will take someone forever to learn. Sometimes there isn’t a process. It’s kind of like a folklore process, or there’s not even a process for learning the technology. The sales manager hasn’t really given them goals. There’s certain key things that if you can get some of that into place, that to me is a real area of opportunity. And can actually unleash a lot of growth just by taking a whole look at the sales process, beginning to end and some of those key metrics.
Mike Pastore: Any tips on getting your people on board with developing a sound strategy for documenting, reviewing and revising processes?
Karen Kimsey-Sward: Processes! We can over-complicate them too, can’t we? And when people love process, they love to put the process in place. And there’s a lot of people… is it that they don’t want to write it down? Or they don’t know how? Or it’s not in their wheelhouse. And I find that many times people become defensive because they don’t even know how to do it. It’s almost like some of the process, it’s so back in their heads. They’ve been doing it forever and ever. They don’t even realize it’s a process.
Mike Pastore: Right. It’s muscle memory.
Karen Kimsey-Sward: Absolutely. And then they feel a little bit defeated. And that’s where you get a little of the defensiveness. And so one of things that I’ve learned that’s worked really, really, really well: We’re going to go back to the “why?”
So first of all, it’s the “why are we doing this?” And connect the “why” to the vision. Connect the why to where the organization is going. There’s a phrase, you know, Dale Carnegie has this phrase, “People help build the world they create.” And it’s getting people to see their role in helping to create that world and build that world. That’s really important.