The Growth Process

by os_admin

Organic growth is the goal of every company in every vertical. Yet most companies consistently miss their organic growth goals. Some have been missing them for years. That’s one reason the Wall Street M&A guys have been so busy and made so much money over the past 20 years. Companies couldn’t grow organically so they bought ‘growth’. Why is organic growth such a problem?

Well let’s humanize this problem. Suppose your personal goal was losing weight. If you were really serious about this goal you would

  • Create a process and metrics ( lower calorie meals, more exercise, periodic weigh ins, etc)
  • Remove the barriers to following the process (don’t stock the frig with ice cream)
  • Put somebody in charge of organizing the elements of the process (yourself)
  • Try to get some quick results to encourage yourself to sacrifice.

Unfortunately, most companies violate every single one of these simple rules when they seek to grow. That’s why they fail!

For example, MOST COMPANIES HAVE NO GROWTH PROCESS! Don’t believe me. Try writing down your company’s growth process . Hard isn’t it?

Most companies have lots of INTERNAL CULTURAL barriers to organic growth. Functional silos discourage collaboration. Misaligned reward systems frustrate team work.

In most companies, no one other than the CEO OWNS growth. To our way of thinking, the marketing function ought to own growth because all growth starts with consumer /customer understanding and that’s marketing’s job. Unfortunately, the marketing function, especially in B2B is a MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS function wherein talented people are reduced to creating corporate advertising or sales brochures. Pray tell if these folks are doing MARCOM, who is doing M-A-R-K-E-T-I-N-G. Who is doing the vital work of uncovering unmet customer needs. Who is driving a process to meet those needs so that the company may(hold your breath) GROW ORGANICALLY.

One of the major problems obstructing organic growth is that companies have no system or tools for encouraging quick results. In the absence of rapid results, the natural resistance to change that lives in every human organism, smothers the urge to grow. Entropy reigns. Progress grinds to a halt.

We know one company that has solved many of these problems. It’s GE.

  • In every BU , someone owns growth and that individual has a multi-functional team
  • The team follows a process built around a series of one day meetings they call ‘workouts’. The process flows something like this:
    • Collect all the information you can find in one place in a standard format and share it.
    • Focus on customer needs and group customers into separate discrete need segments.( not by SIC code, not by size, not by sales force regions but by customer NEED)
    • Create a competitive value proposition focused on the target segment’s needs
    • Align every aspect of the company to deliver the value proposition.( the product or service itself, the media plan, the sales material, everything)
    • Do all this with the objective of getting results quickly

The process they follow was embedded by EMM Group by moderating the meetings and providing tools to keep things moving. Eventually, each GE BU internalizes everything and keeps using the process and tools over and over again.

There’s a reason GE keeps growing organically even in the current environment. They have a growth process!