Scaling Up, from Verne Harnish, is a practical handbook on all the little things, done right, that let savvy firms achieve exceptional growth. It combines engaging talent, savvy strategy, and effective execution with sound cash management. It makes the growth journey a successful and fun ride for everyone involved. As an update on Harnish’s Rockefeller Habits, Scaling Up is a manifesto for applying Toyota’s Lean process to all aspects of the business. Including B2B sales.
Harnish notes that growth companies are good at getting lots of things done. They often spend big bucks, and tons of time, landing new customers. The risk in this? Such companies get a massive amount of the wrong things done. As a result, growth is often more expensive, and harder, than it could be. He challenges execs to ask: what can be done to ‘lean’ the sales process?
He advocates using feedback systems. Systems that create accountabilities for how well things are working. In B2B sales, he suggests you know your Cash Conversion Cycle [CCC]: how long it takes for a dollar you spend to make its way through your business model and back into your pocket.
A strong CCC can be a powerful tool to dominate your market. From what we’re seeing, what’s also needed are analytics that show, operationally, what could strengthen your CCC. If target buyers aren’t having conversations with your sales reps, there’s zero chance you’ll see any of your cash ‘out’ convert to cash ‘in’. If after having conversations, target buyers don’t go on to have any more conversations with your sales team, you’re equally knackered. Savvy firms know their yields of conversations and ‘next conversations’. Better than that, they’re ‘self-aware’ of how their execution practices are affecting their yields.
The speed and precision of such self-awareness, from feedback systems, makes it possible to ‘Lean’ your Revenue Machine. An example: a firm launched its go-to-market strategy for a new product and achieved an 11% conversation yield out of the gates. With real time feedback on what was working and what wasn’t, they tripled their conversation yield in just 4 weeks.
Leaning your sales organization can be an X-Factor for Scaling Up your firm. It enables better revenue results from better execution of better strategies. Fast. It starts with execution analytics that let everyone involved know what’s working and fix what isn’t. It makes revenue growth an informed, successful, ride for everyone involved.