Chief Operating Officer Mike Hoffman leads business transformation for scaled growth and client success at SBI Growth.
I speak with CEOs every week and I always ask them, “If you could go back in time three years and give yourself advice based on what you know today, what would it be?” Week after week, the responses are consistently some version of “trust your instincts, commit and put critical mass behind your bets.” Just this week, three CEOs, in separate discussions, told me approximately the same thing: “I would tell myself to go faster, to trust my decisions and to double down on the bets I was making.”
In these CEO conversations, we spoke about opportunities for setting an organization on the track for growth in 2022 and beyond. Among the ideas discussed, the following three rose to the top of the list: revisit and revise your go-to-market strategy, defend against talent attrition and capitalize on the global trend toward digital. So, as you are trying to determine where to prioritize, start by considering the areas below and asking yourself the questions that follow.
1. Revisit and revise your go-to-market strategy.
As CEOs engage with leadership teams and advisors on how best to approach GTM in 2022, they should ask:
- Where has our go-to-market strategy been most effective? What should we replicate and where can we reassign resources?
- What kind of feedback are we getting from customers about their experience with us?
- Are we overpaying for customers?
- Is our sales and marketing spend as a percentage of revenue above or below our competition?
- Where does our growth rate fall relative to our competitors and peer group?
The answers to these questions will empower CEOs to make constructive resourcing decisions that will help them to focus on high levels of execution across direct, indirect and eCommerce sales.
2. Defend against the Great Resignation.
As reported by NPR, more and more Americans are quitting their jobs, including 4.3 million, or 2.9% of the entire workforce, in just the month of August. This talent exodus, which has become known as the “Great Resignation,” is extremely difficult to plan around, as it puts companies in a reactive mode. They say the best defense is a good offense, so start speaking with your leadership teams now. These are the questions I have asked my team.
- What are the critical competencies needed for success across all roles and at all levels?
- What is our talent strategy? Do we have a well-defined talent pipeline and a world-class candidate experience? If not, how do we change that?
- What non-traditional sources could we explore to boost our talent acquisition strategy?
- What is the baseline for our key talent metrics (e.g., churn rate, time to hire, # of open vacancies, ramp time, etc.)?
The loss of a few top performers can quickly translate into a negative impact on a company’s revenue generation and a lower return on equity, so it is critical for companies to proactively guard against the impact of a shifting talent landscape before HR starts receiving resignations.
3. Develop a digital strategy.
Smartphone adoption, app proliferation and online commerce penetration were already transforming consumer behavior before the pandemic. The forced remote interactions of the lockdown further accelerated human reliance on virtual exchanges. These trends have led many CEOs to consider leveraging digital touchpoints in place of human interactions as a way to improve spend efficiency. Some of the considerations of developing a digital strategy include:
- What percentage of your customers want hand-holding and what percentage prefer to operate independently?
- Which of your services can be delivered efficiently online and which services require human interaction?
- Is your R&D prioritizing innovations that deliver high customer value with low human capital cost?
- Which corporate partnerships can give your company overnight access to state-of-the-art technology that can lower your labor costs and increase customer satisfaction?
Insights like these into customer needs, experience and how technology can address them are critical to developing a well-defined strategy that will most efficiently drive organizational growth.
Putting Growth Mindset to Work
Whether your company needs to focus on one or all three of the areas laid out above, you will need to incorporate your responses to the questions above into a board- and executive-level growth program that drives alignment.
While the challenges of ’20 and ’21 were unprecedented, the obstacles and impacts on human behavior will not go away. Business leaders will meet with high expectations for growth and value creation irrespective of the continued disruption and growing challenges they will be expected to overcome. Those who develop a growth plan based on thoughtful introspection that is aligned with near- and long-term goals will be on the right track for 2022 and beyond.
A growth mindset requires examination and asking tough questions, but once you have determined what needs to be done, commit. Don’t wait to step on the gas pedal!