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Seven Key Priorities for CEOs With a Short Runway for Growth

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As a CEO or business owner, you may be faced with the challenge of delivering planned growth, but as the year progresses, you are confronted with a short runway for growth to be achieved.

How do you address the problem? Looking at the high-growth companies delivering the results quarter on quarter, what are the significant traits they all use to achieve targets? A large proportion of it comes down to the focus and conviction of the CEO.

The top performing CEOs with sales and marketing organisations take a highly focused and disciplined approach to seven key areas that are consistent contributors that can support you in a short runway for growth while keeping your eye on the long game.

  1. Doubling Down on High Demand Product Set. With a short runway for growth, companies need to focus on their high-demand products and penetrate further down into high-demand markets. The products that the highest uptake with customers and good profitability.
  2. Keeping Focused on Near-Term Growth Priorities. With the review of products identifying high-growth product sets, companies will identify products that are deprioritised at the sunset stage or potentially can be divested. High-growth CEOs deprioritise taking action on these dead-end tasks and retain their focus on the high-energy, high-delivering product sets. As a result, they protect the sales organisation from engaging in underperforming products or those nearing the end of life. This narrow focus ensures all efforts remain on the short runway for growth.
  3. Marketing Focused on Supporting Initiatives. When managing a short runway for growth, marketing’s contribution can significantly affect the overall results. CEOs need their marketing departments to communicate with potential new customers and high-demand markets, clearing the way forward for the sales organisation. In addition, they should focus on educating and preparing new customers for sales teams to engage and deliver sales goals.
  4. Avoid Discounting Offers. With the pressure to build sales orders, CEOs can be tempted to allow discounting strategies to increase average invoice values. This strategy can have short-term results and, more often, would be something the sales manager would be looking to implement. CEOs need to keep an eye on the long game while delivering results on the short runway to growth. Discounting is counterproductive as the sales numbers are exposed to falling off dramatically once the discounts end. The goal is to keep an eye on both growth and profitability.
  5. Provide Customers with the Opportunity to Purchase on Their Own. CEOs need to dive deeply into digital marketing and selling strategies, even if it is not an industry norm. Many customers are now well educated in navigating and purchasing independently and find salespeople a barrier to purchasing. Establishing a platform to build demand creation of self-managed buyers accelerates sales and builds profitability. It will also provide insights and rich data into new buying locations and create larger opportunities for salespeople.
  6. Accelerating Innovation. CEOs should review their innovation roadmap, consider any products nearing launch dates, and consider if those dates can be bought forward. Reviewing those launch dates and cost to market can contribute meaningful results for growth where the market is open to engaging and consuming what you have on offer. This is also a risk management strategy for little to no downfall following the concentrated efforts outlined in points 1-2-3.
  7. Balancing Business-Building Bets. The mix of organic growth and business building bets, new products or markets must be carefully managed. Each business building bet has a high cost to fund the initiative and deliver results and can be a distraction to the sales organisation. Companies require dedicated specialist teams to lead business building bets allowing the general sales organisation to remain focused on organic growth activities.

A commitment to organic growth can set companies apart and enable them to succeed with a short runway for growth. However, with an eye on the long game, balancing those business-building bets ensures a sound future beyond the short runway.

Organic growth requires dedicated and focused efforts to drive consistent demand and a CEO with a strong focus on consistency in the seven core driving factors.

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About the Author: Adele Crane

A leader in Implementation Consulting.
CEOs and Managing Directors have relied on Adele Crane to solve challenges with the performance of their sales and marketing since 1990. Her consulting experience in delivering results in 90-120 days is unprecedented by any other known sales and marketing consulting professional in the world. As an author of 3 acclaimed books, appearances on major media, and publications in USA, NZ and Australia, Adele’s experience brings fresh thinking and contemporary practices to business.