There always seems to be that one company that sky-rockets above the rest. Their growth comes out of nowhere and they leave every other business behind in the dust, wondering what exactly it was they did to leverage that growth.
So what does it take to be a high-growth company? Is it a cushy spot in Silicone Valley and top-tier MBA graduates on tap?
Realistically, no. The success of certain businesses runs a lot deeper than where they’re based, what they offer, and who they employ. It’s almost in-built in the company’s vision, they’re philosophy, and, most importantly, their leader.
Let’s take a look at some of the secrets that high-growth companies are keeping under wraps.
1. A Long-Term Outlook
High-growth companies are constantly looking forward and making a commitment to the future. The strategies they employ aren’t flashes-in-the-pan, but instead take into account peaks, troughs, and the future outlook of their industry and the sales world as a whole.
In the book Sales Growth, over half of the high-growth companies analyzed scheduled their strategies at least one year out, and a further 10% scheduled theirs more than three years out.
So how exactly do they do this?
Trend Analysis is Compulsory
Tracking and analyzing trends is key to keeping ahead of the game in the sales world.
High-growth companies see the value in this and implement it as a vital part of their sales strategy. In line with current trends and future predictions, they make sure they invest their time, money, and people into the right areas and are constantly assessing what’s working and what could be improved.
But it’s not easy to constantly have one eye on the road ahead. Creating a sustainable strategy that is flexible in case of unexpected situations is difficult and requires a clear vision from leadership (which we’ll discuss in a bit) and a hefty investment and commitment to resources.
Finding a comfortable groove isn’t the way to create a high-growth business. To beat competitors to the finish line and continue increasing sales at a fast pace, businesses must employ new techniques and take risks before the revenue materializes.
High-growth companies are well aware of this, and place a heavy emphasis on experimenting and tweaking new tools, systems, and techniques.
Scalability is Essential
High-growth companies are prepared for high-growth. The systems they set in place are ones that can be scaled in the future to align with the success of the business.
To create a scalable company that’s ready for high-growth, systems need to be put in place and standardized.
For Kevin Higgins, the president of Fusion Learning Inc., systems have been a vital part of business since the very early days. “They’ve helped us to grow, and they’ve allowed us to grow,” he says. When his idea was just a tiny glimmer, Higgins created a “Strategic Blueprint” that each employee now has their own copy of. It includes individual goals and objectives so the team know what they need to accomplish over a certain amount of time.
2. Employ Advanced Customer Analysis
High-growth businesses know their customers inside out because they regularly conduct customer analysis – and not just surface level analysis. They dig deep into the advanced analytics of their buyers and clients, forming plans off the back of the results.
This allows them to make better decisions armed with a wealth of knowledge that has been uncovered from their sales and deal opportunities.
But with the fast-paced world of the sales industry and the ever-changing business landscape, companies need to be quick on their feet. They can no longer rely on simply analyzing historical data, because tools and approaches change so quickly and so regularly.
Instead, the analysis needs to be more predictive and forward-thinking, allowing leaders and their teams to decide where the best opportunities lie and which ones have the least risk attached to them.
3. Tap into Talent
High-growth companies know their power lies in the people they employ. Their goal is to create and nurture a team of successful salespeople and they place a heavy emphasis on training this team up to be the best it can be.
Because of the huge expanse of the sales industry and the booming number of businesses starting up each year, talent is understandably scarce, so it’s important for companies to figure out and implement a strategy that keeps their team happy and effective.
This mindset has been adopted most significantly amongst PROFIT 200 firms, who have been heavily investing in the professional development of their teams. They do this by offering various skills trainings that cover a broad range of talents, and by keeping their salespeople challenged and engaged.
Cirrus Consulting Group Inc. is a good example of a high-growth company that looks after its employees well. The management training business headhunts smart and experienced staff who are eager and willing to learn.
Employee retention is important to Cirrus, as they require a sturdy set of management professionals to run their training courses, so they promote regular training, mentoring schemes, and conduct role-play sessions to help employees put theory into practice.
4. Leaders With the Right Mindset
Businesses all began as a little spark in their leader’s mind. Therefore, success in a high-growth company starts with the leadership; a CEO who is motivated and inspired to create a company and team that thrives in the fast-paced sales world.
It’s so important for these leaders to energize their teams and, to do this, they need to adopt a triumphant mindset.
The self-perpetuating cycle goes as follows: your behavior is determined by your mindset. Your behavior then determines the results you garner. Your results then influence your mindset… And on it goes.
This is why high-growth companies know it is vital to have a leader with the right mindset – and not just some days, but every single day. In turn, this instils confidence in the team and boosts morale through difficult times.
“We don’t hit people on the head with a clipboard,” says Peter Day, the president of Endo, a company that applies sales-force automation technology to field marketing. Day relies on his employees to ensure the company is constantly moving forward, to test out and develop new systems. And to do that, Day must be a successful motivator.
So aside from being a motivator with a positive mindset, what other attributes do high-growth leaders exhibit?
Top leaders need to be able to build trust within their team. The salesforce needs to work in tandem to push forwards in a heavily saturated field.
Transparency is key in building the trust that leaders need in their companies. Authenticity is the number one way to achieve this, and leaders need to show that they’re human and that they can accept responsibility when necessary.
A high-growth company isn’t born overnight. Leaders need to commit to the long game.
Have a shared vision
High-growth company leaders need to have a vision they can project to their team. This helps clarify direction and helps the salesforce hone in on their goals.
But there also needs to be a sense of urgency in reaching these goals and realizing the vision, which is where persuasion comes into the mix. As well as building trust, leaders must persuade their teams to believe in them and commit to the bigger cause, kind of like a “We’re all in this together” script.
The ability to create a high-performance work culture
Creating a work culture that nurtures employees and gets the team excited about reaching and smashing goals is vital in a high-growth company.
In a survey that interviewed over 1,000 high-growth leaders, 91% said that the culture within the organization was just as important as its long-term strategy. For leaders, their primary aim is to bring together their attributes and vision to create and put a successful culture into place.
Through this, they produce a unique personality and a “soul” that no competitor can replicate. This is the backbone to any high-growth company’s success, because it is based on shared values throughout the business – from the leadership down to the employees and everything in between.
Creating a shared vision and promoting it within the company cements the workforce and creates a clear vision that’s easy to strategize and reach.
When this all comes together successfully, it nurtures an environment where employees are excited to work for more than just pay – but, more importantly, nurtures an environment that is difficult for competitors to copy. It makes high-growth companies strong, and this is their ultimate secret weapon.
To turn the unique culture into one that promotes high-performance, the leadership must put in place challenges that encourage the team to strive harder. A sense of urgency must be instilled into the strategy and the work mindset, while a commitment to excellence needs to be championed by everyone involved.
Essentially, for the majority of high-growth companies, their work culture is solutions-based and can be monitored on its own.
Building a high-growth company doesn’t have to be unreachable, or something that’s shrouded in secrets. Instead, all it takes is strategic planning that puts innovation and talent above everything else.
When you’ve managed to create a business that harnesses the power of your employees, looks ahead to the future, and promotes a positive work culture that emphasizes experimentation and high-performance, then you’ll start to reap the rewards.
So let’s quickly recap. These are the secrets of high-growth businesses and their success:
- They take on a long-term outlook and are always looking forward
- They dig deep into their customer analytics to draw out inspiration and ideas
- They know that their salespeople need to stay engaged and motivated, and they tap into the talent around them
- Their leaders have a positive mindset that promotes motivation
Businesses that focus on these areas and build a strategy that incorporates all of these points are the ones that sky-rocket above the rest, leaving the others behind in the dust.