B2B Executive Strategies

Transformation and Growth

March 29, 2011


Thank you for subscribing to the Geehan Group B2B Executive Strategies Quarterly Newsletter.

We have dedicated this newsletter to highlight the key concepts and inspiring discussions which ultimately lead to relevant insights for all Executives attending the Summit. 


Upcoming Geehan Group Events
B2B Executive Summit Review
Rapid Growth
Marquee Customers
Big Brother Alliances

Upcoming Geehan Group Events


calendarMarch 29, 2011 11:00 am EST (10:00 am CST)

Common Myths about Launching and Sustaining an Executive Sponsor Program Webinar



May 3, 2011

Customer Advisory Conference 2011 Boston, Massachusettes



B2B Executive Summary Review

Sean Geehan, President and Founder of Geehan Group


Last month, the Geehan Group team gathered 45 top B2B C-suite executives to participate in the 2011 B2B Executive Summit, Navigating Growth and Transformation.  The main objective for this highly interactive Summit was to share best practices from leading industry thinkers and practitioners while providing peer-to-peer networking.  We purposely kept this event small so CXOs could talk directly with the speakers and with each other.  Our event highlighted two best-selling authors influential to leadership and growth: Peter Luongo, The 10 Truths about Leadership and David Thomson, Blueprint to a Billion.

At the conclusion of the 2 days in Arizona, attendees commented on the value of attending the Summit:


"When you can get executives of the quality you had from such a variety of industries who are working on really big and important things for their own companies to be that attentive for two days, talking about issues facing their business, you must have really, really rich content.  You did it and created a dynamic environment where people have stayed in touch. That's rare."

 Joe Morgan, CEO Standard Register


"This far surpassed my expectations.  From the quality of attendees, to the value of the presentations, to the opportunities to interact, it was all superb." 

 Jeff Tinker, SVP Wells Fargo


"It was the best investment of my time I've ever made in a business conference as a CEO.  The content was exactly what I needed to take my skills as CEO to the next level.  There was great collaborative learning and networking opportunities." 

Margie Traylor, CEO Sitewire


"Rarely do you find an approachable business environment that invigorates your social senses with intriguing conversations, collaborative exchange of inventive ideas, fascinating speakers with applicable war stories, and the urge to network well beyond the two days."

 Greg Jorgensen, CMO Verisign

What I relished most about this experience was that everyone was completely engaged throughout the entire 2 days.  The level of interaction, sharing of experiences and openness was unmatched by any event I've attended.  The social elements were just that, social...getting to know each other as people, smiling, laughing and even riding motorized scooters.  When everyone departed it was as if we had known each other for years.  I can't wait to gather my new friends again soon! 

 GG meeting2


Rapid Growth 911

Rob Urbanowicz, Principal and Vice President of Client Services


The Geehan Group brought together three leading executives from hyper growth companies in a panel discussion to highlight their rise to growth, dominance in their markets, and path to success.  While the three companies are in distinct industries and in various stages in their evolution, there were several key success factors we found in common along with the stories that drive their growth.

 company 911
Customer Engagement Promotes Rapid Growth.
While each of the Rapid Growth companies target a different set of buyers in their market space, they did have a common thread to focus on selling to decision makers and targeting top accounts.  Margie Traylor, CEO Sitewire comments about the evolution to greater customer revenue and profitability: "We had 250 small clients with varying levels of profitability, and we needed to learn to sell to strategic accounts and grow those rapidly.  We ended up retiring 225 accounts and focusing on our top 25, which led us to deeper relationships and growth."  Margie further commented that "this approach provides a model in which our clients get access to our experts, and those experts meet at least quarterly with our clients to chart progress, share practices and align our futures".

Jerry Mills, CEO and Founder B2B CFO comments that his growth is fostered by a vision to achieve.  I remember the first time I shared my vision and growth targets with the team, and they were in disbelief.  But I remained focused and said "I'm going there - we're going there.  And we did."  He mentions that the "ability to grow has been through the recognition by our clients of the value B2B CFO brings to them.  I have each client complete a questionnaire to rank how well we do versus others, and by completing this survey, the value of our services becomes a reality to the decision makers".   Jerry feverishly focuses on value and outpacing the competition.  He comments "Every day I ask myself 'what else can we do to deliver value?'  As long as we keep focusing on delivering value, our competition will not be able to keep pace with us - and they're dead".

HCL has focused on intense customer intimacy while creating a persistent and engaging experience centered on its forward looking customers.  The executive level advisory boards are focused on their top 80 accounts that drive 75% of the revenues for HCL Technologies - a $3.1 billion firm.  Samir Bagga, Vice President and Head of Marketing for HCL America comments "Our executive team is personally involved and engaged strategically with the key decision makers in our customer organizations. We have customer advisory councils and similar forums which bring the recommendations and inputs of our customers to the forefront of our business strategy.


Accounts and Marquee Customers Shape Revenue Power House

Rob Urbanowicz, Principal and Vice President of Client Services


David Thomson, author of the classic business book "Blueprint to a Billion" provided Geehan Group B2B Summit attendees with his seven essentials for growth.  David highlighted one of the most important and obviously relevant essentials for the B2B company in Essential #3 - "Marquee Customers Shape the Revenue Powerhouse".    Sean Geehan, Founder and CEO of the Geehan Group presented and shared the B2B phenomenon and fact that 80% of B2B company revenues typically come from 20% of the customers.  The trick is to identify and engage strategically with these top and marquee customers to achieve break through growth.

In small group roundtable discussions, we met with about a dozen B2B CEO's, CMO's and Sales Executives and asked them to share their challenges toward engaging with marquee customers, the practices to overcome these challenges, and how best to drive enterprise transformation toward marquee customer engagement.  Here are some keen insights we've gathered from our discussions.

Who is a Top Account or Marquee Customer?

The most fundamental objective to achieve success with top accounts and marquee customers is the obvious; identifying which customers are truly marquee customers.   Not surprisingly, we found most organizations struggle to clearly define which accounts are marquee customers to focus and align with especially when a big volume customer is not necessarily a true marquee customer or alignedthe crown with your B2B company's strategic future.

As we talked through solutions to the problem of defining a marquee customer or top account, it was clear that an objective definition was needed to guide customer focused decisions in the B2B enterprise.   Although most organizations inherently know their top 2-5% of accounts, the picture gets a little fuzzy as drill down to the layer that separates the average account from a top account.  Having objective and documented parameters can make it simple to identify which accounts are in and which are out, as well as eliminate internal politics and conflicts in favor of other non-marquee accounts.


Big Brother Alliances

Karen Posey Senior Consultant


The topic of Big Brother Alliances quickly became the focus of the discussion in a session lead by Pete Luongo, Joe Morgan, and David Thomson. Big Brother Alliances are all about leveraging partnerships with big companies to accelerate your growth.  The executives in the audience engaged in a lively discussion on the topic of Big Brother Alliances to answer two questions: 

         How can big brother alliances help you drive growth in your organization?

         What are the challenges in developing and overcoming these alliances? 

Driving Growth
The executives brainstormed and came up with several ways that Big Brother Alliances can drive growth.  The first is getting your internal executive team in alignment on where your core competencies are and how that fits into your business model so that you can identify where you have potential gaps that would add more value to your customers.  If you have an Advisory Council in place today you may have this information.  If you have a decision maker/executive Advisory Council, but have not gleaned their insight in this area then this would be a great opportunity for a session at the next Council meeting to flush this out.
Once you have a clear eyed view of the market from your Advisory Council and have internal alignment, you want to identify who the right potential alliance partners would be that would fill your gaps or strengthen your position.  These could be supply chain partners or organizations in the same industry where there solutions help organizations solve different problems (i.e., you could provide a "bolt on" to their products or services) or it could be an organization where you may compete on some level. 
Tom Baird, CEO of AppSmyth shared one of his keys to success has been focusing on the quality vs. the quantity of alliances.


Challenges & How to Overcome Challenges
When trying to establish Big Brother Alliances, these executives have faced many challenges.  The executives brainstormed and then prioritized to come up with the top three.  The executives then brainstormed on how to overcome these top three challenges.big bro eye
They three top challenges were: 


         Identifying the Right Partner

         How to Sell an Alliance

         How to Sustain an Alliance

Identifying the Right Partner
The executives felt that when trying to Identifying the right partner the first thing that needs to be done is identifying the potential alliances that fit into your core competencies and business model.  Once you have completed the list, it's time to start initiating conversations with them.  Second, in preparation for the meeting research needs to be done to uncover as much about their strategy as possible.  (i.e., conducting a needs analysis to understand the gaps).   Third is having the discipline to execute and follow-up.
Read More... 
Thank you for subscribing to the Geehan Group Quarterly Newsletter. The next issue is scheduled to be released in June 2011. If you have topics that you would like to see discussed, please don't hestiate to contact us at team@geehangroup.com


Karen Battist
Geehan Group