Frost & Sullivan Growth, Innovation and Leadership eBulletin Vol. 4 Issue 4
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  April 2011 | Vol. 4 Issue 4  CONNECT

50 Imperatives for Growth-Focused Executives

  Courtesy of Growth Team Membership Frost & Sullivan

Growth Team Membership™ (GTM) identified the following imperatives through its best practices research. These are intended to provide insight for growth-focused executives in marketing, innovation/R&D, corporate strategy, corporate development, sales, market research and competitive intelligence.
  1. Appreciate that the solution to a particular challenge you are facing may rest outside your industry.

  2. View social media as a long-term commitment, rather than a campaign-specific activity.

  3. Develop a sustainability strategy—soon every competitor will have one.

  4. Determine the core set of factors (from price at maturity to development cost) that indicate an innovation project’s value and use it to evaluate all projects.

  5. Roll out business model initiatives in prioritized business units first to test, learn, refine, establish benchmarks for annual assessments, and develop advocates and success stories to drive future adoption throughout the company.
  6. Build an internal network to tap into your employees’ knowledge about competitors.

  7. Develop an open innovation program and assign an owner.

  8. If you have a services business, investigate how lean manufacturing principles—customer definition of waste, value stream mapping, etc.—can reduce costs and improve the customer experience.
  9. In commercializing new products and services, ignore the easy wins and try the hardest task first.

  10. Sales effectiveness is about linking value in customers’ minds with the differentiated aspects of your offer.

  11. Focus on achieving proof points—evidence that demonstrates success—not project milestones for each phase in strategy execution.

  12. Monitor social media conversations (use keywords around your category, products and brands) before participating in social media networks.
  13. To create receptivity to a new customer segmentation, involve the functions (R&D, sales, marketing) from the outset whose behavior must ultimately change.

  14. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not about being a good corporate citizen; it is about treating CSR as a strategy that delivers benefits to the company and the community.

  15. To balance supply and demand for market research and competitive intelligence projects, create a prioritization system based on corporate strategic objectives.

  16. Begin acquisition integration planning with the end-state in mind and develop the key components (value-drivers) that support the end-state, and serve as measurable goals throughout the integration.

  17. Examine your mature product portfolio to see if its competitive advantages could work in new markets.

  18. Tailor social media metrics to the marketing dashboard, not the other way around.

  19. Engage your customers regularly both in person and virtually to understand their needs and behaviors, and integrate findings into all customer-facing activities.

  20. Incubate early stage innovations with existing clients to determine real-world viability.

  21. Create part-time acquisition integration teams to provide low-cost integration capabilities.

  22. Do not underestimate the importance of cultural traits when evaluating strategic partnerships.

  23. Develop a shared sales and marketing program calendar to drive alignment on prioritization and resource allocation.

  24. Create a corporate engagement policy to help employees understand their roles and responsibilities when representing the firm in social media
  25. Determine the application of Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) to your business.

  26. Before embarking on any change management initiative, identify the commonalities (areas of agreement) and polarities (areas of divergence) within the stakeholder community.

  27. To implement ROI-based marketing, companies must standardize metrics and project funding requests to enable apples-to-apples comparison.

  28. Be transparent and genuine when engaging with individuals online. Don’t broadcast, add value.

  29. Implementing any best practice requires an understanding of corporate culture and a plan to navigate it.

  30. Invest in a future trends initiative to understand fundamental shifts in the customer base and marketplace that impact your business model.

  31. Include your acquisition integration team in due diligence to identify risks and synergies early.

  32. Becoming “customer centric” necessitates having a formal segmentation scheme.

  33. When calculating the value (NPV) of a new product/service/business, identify and estimate the uncertainty around the assumptions underpinning that value.

  34. Investigate your company’s intellectual property portfolio to identify opportunities for licensing and partnerships.

  35. Engage with key employees in a target company prior to deal announcement. This early socialization and communication helps drive retention.

  36. Invest in sales coaching versus training to drive sales rep performance.

  37. To manage an innovation portfolio holistically, examine every project’s market attractiveness, the company’s competitive strength in that market, and the product life cycle.

  38. Avoid “greenwashing;” do not go public with a sustainability message without first addressing your own company’s environmental and societal impacts.

  39. Set up company events to showcase emerging technologies for existing customers and have them engage with researchers about the technologies and their own business challenges.

  40. Make sure your marketing dashboard contains the following three categories of metrics: financial metrics (NPV, payback, IRR, etc.); non-financial metrics (customer satisfaction, brand awareness, etc.); and digital online marketing metrics (word of mouth, cost per click, etc.).

  41. Understand where your customers and prospects are online before committing to a “hot” new channel.

  42. Ensure your company’s strategic capabilities are aligned with the growth opportunities you pursue.

  43. Identify and engage your company’s brand enthusiasts to drive product/service enhancements and word-of-mouth activity.

  44. Leverage crowd sourcing in all stages of product development, from ideation to product launch.

  45. Take care of the basics (content management, search engine optimization, language, etc.) around your primary social media tool—your website—before venturing into other social media networks.

  46. Develop metrics for all strategic initiatives to monitor progress and enable early identification of implementation problems.

  47. Create customer advisory boards for your key vertical markets to glean insights about your value proposition, competition and marketplace.

  48. Incorporate change management activities into project management, and secure stakeholder buy-in early in the project lifecycle.

  49. Establish a process to categorize and distribute feedback, insights and complaints from online conversations to relevant internal constituents.

  50. Employ advisory councils to capture external stakeholders’ (customers, subject matter experts, NGOs, etc.) perspectives for strategic planning.

GTM provides case-based best practices, toolkits, and events to address the internal challenges individual executives face within their respective functions. Visit us at

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