The Inconvenient Truth About Driving Sustainable Corporate Growth

If you read the latest business books or shop for the latest sales and marketing technology, you see the same story, over and over. That there is a revolution of companies that have reinvented how to engage with and convert customers. That they’ve discovered the secret to driving sustainable corporate growth.

This story isn’t the whole truth; actually, it’s a rather convenient lie.

Some of these companies believe you can buy growth through technology. It’s an appealing pitch. Implement new sales and marketing technology to do less and get more. The software likely does what it was built to do, but it will hardly transform your sales and marketing. Research backs this up. The Harvard Business Review found that most leaders report poor returns on their investments in digital transformation.

Others believe by simply repositioning – often just adding the word ‘growth’ to titles – that their sales and marketing teams will become tiger teams. Or that if they require their sales and marketing teams to read the latest book about growth strategies that it will fundamentally change how they operate.

The flaw in all of this thinking – the underlying growth lie – is that there is a single lever for us to pull and deliver transformative growth. The truth is, there isn’t.

The majority of companies still spend more to generate demand than they get in sales return each year, with typical lead-to-revenue conversion rates (at the shockingly-low) range of 0.375% to 0.6%. Those that are driving growth, more often than not, are doing so simply because they have a compelling product or service, not because they have a game-changing go-to-market approach.

Don’t get me wrong, many companies have a very clear view of their target customer. They have built personas and conducted market research. They may have done some customer journey work and know how to delight their customer through their product or service.

But when it comes to their go-to-market approach, most companies continue to engage in random acts of sales and marketing, and so-called ‘growth strategies’ fall apart at execution.

The truth about growth? Over-performing growth leaders are in the minority.

Successful growth leaders approach their business in a substantially different way than their peers. They are 50% more likely to build an organization that puts the customer first, and they wrap every element of go-to-market around the customer.

The remaining, under-performing companies operate in a perpetual state of tactical demand. They harm customer experience through interruptive campaigns and operate in a highly inefficient manner in their go-to-market approach.

A Framework For Sustainable Growth

Turning the corner requires making the transition from tactical to strategic demand and shifting from random acts of sales and marketing to sustainable corporate growth.

But you won’t get there simply by investing in brand-name technology and/or hiring new people. Those are just ingredients. You need the recipe if you want to bake a cake.

To get there you need a framework.

This framework must balance two critical, interconnected but often competing objectives – orchestrating customer engagement and providing lift to pipelines – accomplishing both at the same time.  And it must provide a basis for building and optimizing sustainable growth.

Through 97 (and counting) enterprise transformations and nine years of continuous refinement, the ANNUITAS team has developed just such a framework – one that is the result of road testing with some of the most-recognizable brands on the NYSE and NASDAQ today and some of the hottest VC- and PE-backed companies over this period.

We call this framework Demand Process.

It helps companies achieve these objectives by operationalizing go-to-market (both at a sales and marketing level) around customer journey.

Next Steps

We’d love to share our Demand Process framework with you — to help you re-evaluate your approach to sustainable corporate growth.

We’ve recently updated the framework and you can find it explained in detail here.

Questions about moving to a strategic demand state? Read these articles:

Making the Critical Shift from Tactical Demand Marketing to Strategic Demand

The Anatomy of a Strategic Demand Marketing Plan

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