Our strategic growth planning engagements deliver a clear understanding of the sources of growth that will materially contribute to company value. We use our Top Line for B2B Revenue Engines® methodology, frameworks, tools and approaches to examine the highest growth potential opportunities, identify market forces that might create risk or opportunity, assess internal capabilities needed to achieve the growth, and prepare implementation plans and financial forecasts for the initiatives
Identification of Growth Opportunities
We review management’s current projections and strategy and analyze current data to develop granular insights about underlying revenue generation issues and potential growth opportunities. Management workshops provide an open forum to identify, assess and prioritize strategic growth opportunities based on significance and attainability. Workshop topics might include:
- New geographies, segments, and channels
- Product and R&D pipelines
- Strategic partnerships
- Potential adjacency markets
- Key questions and issues to further validate the identified opportunities
Market / Customer Assessment
Conducting extensive secondary industry research provides a better understanding of market sizing and dynamics. Example questions include:
- What market forces might create risk or opportunity for the company?
- What factors and trends will affect demand for the company’s products/services?
- How are competitors positioned; What are their economics?
Customer interviews following our The Nine Voices of the Market® methodology can further identify potential growth opportunities and provide an understanding of the company’s perceived market position.
Internal Capability Assessment
We use our 100 Behaviors of High Performing Revenue Engines™ methodology to interview key stakeholders and assess the company’s current capacity and capabilities to pursue the identified opportunities. Example topics include:
- How prepared is the client to capture the opportunity in the market?
- Do they have the necessary capabilities and commercial processes?
- What other capabilities are critical to achieving growth targets?
Key gaps can then be identified with a prioritized list of approaches to build required capabilities.
Validate Growth Drivers and Capabilities
The company’s existing capabilities and market position are compared against the opportunities to provide a basis for assessing opportunity viability and setting initiative priorities as shown in the framework chart below.
Opportunity Priority Map
- Attractiveness of Opportunities | Ability to Capture Opportunities
- Core Business to Strengthen
- Potential New Revenue Generating Initiatives
Sometimes, the growth strategy effort highlights a gap between the future revenue aspirations and the revenue trajectory available in the core business. In such a case, the growth strategy may well include extending the core business into new areas—end markets, geographies, products/services, and/or new channels.
Develop and Document Detailed Growth Strategy
The final step is synthesizing the internal and external data to create and document a multi-year growth strategy based on the high potential growth initiatives.
- Draft initial requirements and capabilities list for growth strategy, including key capability gaps relative to the current organization
- Build financial forecasts, both revenue and EBITDA
- Identify key risks and implementation challenges
- Develop a prioritized implementation roadmap for initiatives including required actions, investments, and estimated timing
Axis Partners supports clients in a variety of growth strategy-related projects, including:
- Growth Plan Development: The identification of growth alternatives, the selection of the most attractive and impactful paths, and the preparation of a specific implementation plan.
- Adjacency Scanning: A methodical approach of quickly evaluating a large number of potentially attractive adjacencies and prioritizing them based on company objectives and strategic and financial criteria.
- New Market Assessments and Entry Strategy: In-depth reviews of markets to determine market attractiveness, “what it takes to win,” strategic fit with the company’s capabilities and assets, and best way to enter, e.g., make vs. buy.
- Annual Growth Plan Refresh: An annual review of growth plan status and assessment of any significant market or internal capability changes that would change the growth strategy.
Growth requires strong and reliable execution from the organization’s commercial functions—sales, channels, marketing, and customer service. Collectively, these areas typically hold many opportunities to accelerate revenue growth due to a confluence of internal and external forces, including the following:
- Buyers are smarter, more demanding, and less dependent on traditional salespeople.They have initiated new procurement practices, and have readily available information regarding vendors on the Internet. Sellers must reach buyers via many channels to deliver products, services and information when, where, and how buyers want it.
- New customer acquisition needs more, not less, attention as a company grows.As a company grows, it must pay increasing attention to attracting new customers. Existing customers attrite and must be replaced for growth to continue. Acquiring new customers is arguably the single most difficult challenge for most commercial organizations.
- Tapping new sources of customers requires selling smarter, not harder. Over time, the easier sources of new customers become tapped out. Some companies decide to focus on existing customers at the expense of efforts to add new customers. This may be appropriate for some but for others, it can lead to slow or even negative growth.
- The power of company-directed, vs. self-directed, sales teams.Traditionally, most sales organizations hire experienced sales reps, give them a territory, train them on the company’s products, provide a motivating compensation plan and then wait for the results. There is a shift happening – more sales leaders no longer accepts this approach. Instead, sales reps are given additional support in understanding the targets in their market and how much time to spend on new customers versus existing customers. Sales reps are provided playbooks describing specific actions to be taken and are measured on selling activities, not just outputs.
The high-performing commercial organization must be a well-tuned system that can reliably create successful salespeople by guiding them to the most effective strategies for acquiring, retaining, and growing profitable customer relationships.
FOCUS | EXECUTE| ENABLE
- Growth Strategy
- Marketing Planning – [Positioning | Segmentation] Pricing Excellence | Go-to-Market [channels | Coverage]
- Marketing Execution – Targeting, Engagement, Demand Generation, Buyer Journey, Account-Based Marketing* (ABM)
- Sales Management – Customer-Centric Sales Execution – Leads, New Logos, Account Management, Cross-sell & Up-sell, Customer Success | Metrics and Reporting
- Revenue Operations*
- Systems and Processes – Analytics, S&M Technology (Tech) Stack, Playbooks
- Talent Management – Organization, Compensation, Culture
* (ABM) is a business marketing strategy that concentrates resources on a set of target accounts within a market. It uses personalized campaigns designed to engage each account, basing the marketing message on the specific attributes and needs of the account.
Realizing these growth opportunities may require a fundamental transformation in many commercial organizations.
Our commercial effectiveness practice assesses the strengths and weaknesses of these functions and identifies the changes required to significantly accelerate profitable top-line revenue growth. These changes might address the commercial strategy, the go-to-market model, sales processes, talent and motivation, field marketing and sales enablement, sales operations, sales management, and culture as depicted on the chart above.
Pricing is often the most impactful profit lever a company can pull. We typically help our clients achieve 300 to 600 basis points or more of margin improvement based on our recommended changes in pricing strategy, execution, and capabilities.
But pricing is hard, and few companies focus on it in a meaningful way. Many issues cause leaders to hesitate in going after this powerful lever. Among the most common:
- Leaders fear a price increase will alienate customers or cause them to lose business.
- They don’t realize how big the opportunity really is – or don’t believe they can get it.
- They lack internal and external visibility due to poor data and unwieldy systems.
- There’s no single, empowered owner with authority for pricing since responsibility is often shared across functions.
- Leaders worry a pricing initiative may be resisted by sales, require major changes to sales, or won’t be sold to customers effectively.
These fears and complexities create reluctance to pull the pricing lever – a big reason why pricing presents such a sizable, untapped opportunity.
At Axis Partners, our global pricing practice works with clients to tackle pricing initiatives and consistently deliver high impact. We combine our experience with rigorous pricing analytics and tools such as our 10 Levers for Pricing Effectiveness Framework to identify, quantify and capture quick wins and long-term value while enhancing capabilities. Getting benefits from pricing is about much more than just raising the price X%. Our 10 Levers of Pricing Effectiveness framework both accelerates and improves the quality of findings and results.
- Set the Right Price – How do you identify the right price?
- Get the Price – How do you ensure customers pay that price?
- Manage & Improve the Price – How do you sustain and improve pricing performance over time?
10 Levers for Pricing Effectiveness
- Determine the pricing strategy
- Define the bundling/packaging of products and services
- Optimize the pricing architecture(s)
- Align prices to customer and channel values
- Strengthen quoting and discounting processes
- Enable value communication and effective negotiations
- Close profit leaks
- Empower pricing owners to drive continuous improvement
At Axis Partners, we know there is a big difference between identifying and realizing value improvements – and we work with you to help you do both.
Axis Partners provides transaction support to private equity firms and companies throughout the life cycle of an investment. Our relationship might begin at any stage.
Early in the life of an investment we –
- assess the realism of revenue generation capabilities and targets during due diligence
- answer critical questions as a foundation for planning strong revenue growth
- assist in prioritizing revenue growth initiatives and developing post-acquisition implementation plans
- help integrate the commercial functions post-merger to achieve the planned benefits including cost savings, streamlined management, a unified vision, and profitable revenue growth
During the holding period, we provide three primary services – assessing and developing growth strategy, improving commercial effectiveness, and optimizing pricing policies and processes.
When the time comes to exit an investment we help –
- refresh growth plans and stories
- develop exit strategies
Improve performance in these areas
- Increased digital marketing, merchandising and selling skills
- Strengthened integration of marketing, sales, finance and supply chain functions to address rapid planning, execution and course-correction
- Continuous focus on pricing and revenue growth management to ensure an optimal balance in volume/share, revenue and profit contribution growth
- Market/customer insights and go-to-market growth strategy
- Identifying market forces that are changing the growth dynamics as well as the attractiveness of markets and segments
- Entering new market spaces to expand the core at the right time
- Managing offerings, pricing, service levels, and sales efforts across segments to optimize profitability
- Understanding the “sweet spot” in the market and competitive position by listening to customers and other market participants
- Optimizing channels and sales approaches to cost effectively address key customer segments
- Building sales skills to create a high-performing sales organization
- Creating strong linkages between sales and marketing, especially to ensure a steady stream of new leads and customers