B2B Executive Strategies

2011 Planning and Investment 

December 6, 2010 - Vol 1, Issue 4
Geehan Group Events
December 8, 2010 - Palo Alto
January 13, 2010 - New York
CMO Leadership Forum 


Blog Talk Interview

Listen to the recent interview with Sean Geehan by Lisa Nirell, Chief Energy Officer, EnergizeGrowth LLC

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Thank you for subscribing to the Geehan Group B2B Executive Strategies Quarterly Newsletter.  In this issue, we share insights for B2B executives to consider as they finalize planning for 2011.  As you will read, we are bullish on this upcoming year, especially for organizations who engage and empower a key constituency: executive customer decision makers.  2011 is the time to invest in post-recession growth, so place your bets with the strategies and tactics that garner their full support.


To that end, we present five articles that cover the bases from strategy to execution to help provide clarity and confidence as you embark on the new year. 

In This Issue - 2011 is the Year!
Invest in Growth
Transform Marketing Expense into Revenue Growth
Exceed Executive Expectations
Launch a Sustainable Executive Sponsor Program
Master Execution of Your Company's Strategy

2011 is the Year to Invest in Growth

Sean Geehan, Founder of Geehan Group

Suzanne Smith, Vice President 


Companies who strategically invest during a recession are rewarded with growth that outpaces competitors who focus primarily on expense reduction and risk mitigation. Growth gurus including Blueprint to a Billion's David Thomson have studied the last century's economic cycle to prove it. His research, along with the experience of CFOs highlighted in a recent article on CFO.com, "Spending into a Headwind," clearly show you can't cut to greatness. At some point you start cutting into muscle, not just the fat.


2011 can be the year you make transformational changes in your organization. Aggressive, strategic acquisitions, coupled with investments in the marketing and sales programs that bring measurable results, can catapult your market position and financial strength. I believe the "Wall Street Darlings" of 2012 will tell you they implemented in 2011 the four, can't-be-missed strategies I recommend:   

  1. Buy your way up the "food chain" of products and services valued by your customers. Periods of economic recession present the best time to acquire capabilities and competencies for which your top customers will pay a premium, but you currently lack.  Prices are simply lower.  Buy now before the value of acquisition targets rise back to premium, post-recession levels.  Not only will your customers reward you with their dollars, but the acquired employees at the typically troubled target company will reward you with their hearts.
  2. Rebalance Marketing and Sales budgets. Marketing is usually the first to go in a recession because most executives struggle to measure any financial return from any specific marketing endeavor. This area of discretionary spending, therefore, is easy to summarily dismiss. What a mistake. Transform expenditure into investment by funding programs that focus on customer retention and account growth. These programs cost less than going after new customers, and you are rewarded with profitable revenue since you have already realized the costs of on-boarding.
  3. Vet and invest in innovation.  Even in a good economy, innovation in a vacuum is disastrous.  And if you are tight on cash, placing your bets on products and services your customers don't buy will put your company in serious jeopardy. Instead, gather decision makers at your most important customers and prospects to discover and maintain alignment with market needs.  Uncover the transformational versus incremental moves your company must make in order to win the war, not just the small battles.
  4. Keep it simple.  If you do have cash available, don't just add priorities and programs without understanding their contribution to sustainable, predictable, profitable growth. Maintain focus, discipline, and aggressiveness where the opportunities maximize returns, position, and margins. The Maximum should be no more than three organizational priorities!!!!

The articles in this issue's newsletter will discuss these topics further, both the theory and practical application.  My best to you in 2011.  Hope to see you ringing the Opening Bell soon!


2011 is the Year to
Transfrom Marketing Expense into Revenue Growth
Rob Urbanowicz, Principle and Vice President Client Services


B2B executives have the right to realize and measure a return on their marketing budget!


Can you measure a return on yours?  All too often, I have seen millions of dollars spent on tactics or programs that have little to no real return or impact on revenue growth.  Not only do these well-intentioned programs waste company resources, they distract busy executives and present a huge opportunity cost to the organization.  That is, if marketing hasn't been slashed altogether during the economic downturn as a way to reduce costs.


The fact of the matter is in the B2B world, marketing budgets are the primary source of funding to interact directly with your customers.  From focus groups, reference and loyalty programs, satisfaction measuring, and forums that interface with customer decision makers, the money spent from marketing can directly and dramatically contribute to sustainable revenue growth.  Knowing this, how can any company afford not to spend this money, and spend it wisely?  They can't, if they want to be a long-term player in their market. 


So, if your company has struggled to realize any measurable benefit from marketing campaigns and programs, 2011 is the year to transform marketing expense into a revenue powerhouse.  Start with 3 key questions.



2011 is the Year
Your Programs Exceed Executive Expectations

Rob Urbanowicz, Principle and Vice President Client Services Execution Gap in Executive Customer Programs

Our team recently attended ITSMA's "The Year of Marketing Transformation: Doing Things Differently," a conference that focused attendees on changes they should consider in their 2011 marketing plans. Since our experience has taught the importance of connecting to customer decision makers, we conducted a survey of attendees from over 74 high tech and services firms to see if they agree.  When asked on a 5-point scale how important executive-level relationships were to their company's success, the group rated the importance of executive relationships at a very high 4.7. They agree.


But, when asked how well they were executing their executive-level programs, the results were markedly different.  At an average of 3.7, execution lags behind importance by a full point.  What does this mean?  Many organizations and their marketing departments are struggling to deliver executive-level customer programs to meet the demands of their organizations. 


Looking ahead to 2011, I recommend four key actions that will help you close the "Execution Gap" so your programs meet the expectations of your executives and your organization.



2011 is the Year to
Launch a Executive Sponsor Program That's Built to Last

Karen Posey, Senior Consultant


In my recent research of world-class Executive Sponsor Programs, one finding really struck me: most ESP programs start and restart several times, and many never get off the ground.  What a shame.  When planned and executed properly, an ESP is a tactic-of-choice to develop deep relationships with customer executives and increase your value to them.  For the best-of breed programs, an interdependency develops between you, your customer, and in some cases, the industry, which provides predictability, sustainability and profitability at an account level.  As shared with our team by an executive, "The relationships we have built with our strategic accounts enable us to help design the industry's future standard, not follow the standard...a much preferred position."


Make 2011 the year you launch your ESP program for the last time because this time, you have set the right expectations and planning in place.  At a minimum, you must incorporate the following in your planning process in order to make your program sustainable for years to come.



2011 is the Year to
Master Execution of Your Company's Strategy

Kelly Jones, Senior Consultant

Remember the movie Miracle on 34th Street?  The little girl who doesn't believe in Santa, but mutters "I believe...I believe" anyway? I'm reminded of that scene when I think about corporate strategy.  Until the little girl sees the present she asked for, she is hopeful, but not a true believer.

Employees and leaders are the same way. They want to believe in the strategic planning process. They know they are supposed to believe in the ultimate strategy, but it's hard. Until they see what they've asked for, it's all just a bunch of words and a lot of PowerPoint. And unfortunately, years of failing to take tangible actions leave companies with wishful thinkers.

Research shows most corporations fail to compete not because their strategy is good or bad, but because they are unable to execute their chosen strategy.  This shouldn't come as a surprise. There are countless numbers of books written by really smart people who tell us the importance of execution.

They are right. Execution is the game changer...if for no other reason than the culture of success created by following through on a plan and holding each other accountable for performance.


The NFL is a great example.  In a league of salary caps and parity, where final scores are separated by just seven points, some teams flourish and others struggle to win. 


The difference is execution.

Without execution there is little chance of meaningful long-term success.  But you can take steps now to change that. You can take steps to improve and even master execution in 2011.


Season's Greetings from All of Us at Geehan Group

Make 2011 Your Year!

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