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Every component must play its part in the growth engine

When companies think of the drivers of growth in their business, they often think about it in a functional way: Sales, Marketing, Customer Success and Pricing. 

These strands may not always be perfectly aligned and coordinated to achieve the real outcomes that deliver growth – attracting customers, retaining customers, and delivering increasing customer value. Each outcome requires the work of each traditional function, operating in concert and backed by a combined strategy.

At Hg, we have a deep bench of experts, working collaboratively as part of our Growth Team, who are deployed together depending on the specific needs of our portfolio companies.

We believe that allowing departments to tackle their problems separately is a mistake and a unified approach is the best route in pursuit of a common goal.

Taking a Sales function from good to great

Germany’s Transporeon is a cloud-based logistics platform connecting shippers and carriers across the world. It enables more efficient sourcing, communication, collaboration and transaction, whilst also helping to lower CO2 emissions by up to 10% through the reduction of empty cargo trucks.

Though highly successful, the company’s growth engine was in need of some finetuning to embark on the next phase of accelerated growth powered by Hg’s investment.

With the full sponsorship of the CEO, Hg provided thought leadership and support for the design, implementation, and adoption of better processes, best practices, systems, management information, and tools for the planning and execution of customer acquisition, retention, development, and price optimisation strategies.

Critical to Hg’s approach to effective and efficient value creation is winning people’s hearts and minds, setting the foundations for nurturing a high-performance sales culture, and ultimately improving the will and skill of individual contributors and managers alike. To this regard, Hg embedded a Sales Specialist from the Growth Team into Transporeon for three months, joining meetings, observing and offering a combination of consultancy, project and stakeholder management, training, coaching and mentoring to the teams across all levels within the organisation.

Once changes took hold, Transporeon had one of its strongest quarters in the past three years, despite challenging market conditions, achieving an 45% increase in bookings, and a 35% increase in their pipeline of potential new sales.

Even more important and encouraging for sustainable long-term growth, the team reported a much higher level of engagement, attitude and drive, and plenty of evidence of a high-performance culture in the making:

“Our weekly 30 minutes team call was a pain in the a… everyone wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible. Today, we have extended it to almost two hours every week where the team is eager to spend high quality time on sharing learnings, agrees on development plans and discusses possible improvements in our way of working, our product, objection handling, and so much more stuff… The mentality and the culture of the team is just fantastic to observe.”

Delivering 75% more digital leads from the website in six months

UK-based Citation helps small and medium-sized business with HR and Health & Safety support and expertise.

For more than twenty years Citation has grown its business through traditional telemarketing lead generation.  They wanted to make sure they were getting the most from modern digital techniques, including understanding cost-effective ways to complement existing, expensive, telemarketing and ideas for inbound marketing activity.

Using digital benchmarking – where we studied best practice against what was in place – we identified a website upgrade, as a key opportunity. This needed to tackle both functionality and the way it communicated to different target audiences.

We partnered with the Chief Marketing Officer, bringing in a range of specialist expertise, to drive this process and implement the changes needed.  To help them move from communicating to all audiences in the same way, our customer insight specialist researched buying motivations, at a customer segment level.  We also provided a short-list of trusted website agencies and developed an online ROI calculator to help drive conversion.

The whole project took three months and cost under £50k, yet the positive results were dramatic. In less than six months the new website had generated 75% more digital leads than the old one, growing overall lead generation by more than ten per cent.  Rigorous measurement of the ways people use the website, as well as conversion rates and an ongoing programme of website optimisation, continue this process.

Learning to say “no”

Ullink provides global, multi-asset trading technology and infrastructure.

As a result of their sales team, increasingly, selling complex, multi-component software solutions, requiring ‘non-standard’ professional services and coding, the organisation was struggling to meet demand, in a timely manner. Customer satisfaction was down and so was profit margin.

The first thing Ullink did was look at ways to get everyone in the organisation thinking the same way and sharing objectives.  Then we considered ways to increase communication. We introduced a ‘deal desk’ – where leaders from each region meet in a weekly meeting to consider materials prepared ahead of time by Sales and the regional Managing Director, and to make ‘go/no-go’ decisions on ‘non-standard’ deals.

Being prepared to walk away from a deal that is not strategically relevant, or profitable, has required a shift in thinking across the organisation. This ‘deal desk’ approach has not only increased internal transparency but has improved strategic focus. The result is that profit margins have seen a significant improvement.

“If I could only keep one meeting in my calendar, it would be this. It has had a huge impact on our business – increased transparency, ensuring profitable sales, and knowing it’s ok to say no.”

Didier Bouillard, CEO, Ullink

Pricing as a keystone of growth

UK-based FE fundinfo is a fund data and technology provider. They facilitate more efficient investing worldwide by connecting fund managers and distributors, enabling them to share and act on trusted, insightful information.

FE fundinfo has undergone a transformation in the way they treat pricing as an organisation. Starting five years ago, the foundations were laid by moving control of the pricing function from Sales to Product and centralising the price list. This was followed by additional governance in the form of a dedicated pricing steering committee as well as a ‘deal desk’ to manage discounting.

We worked in partnership with the Head of Proposition to develop and roll-out a number of initiatives. These included a structured programme to ensure price-value alignment across the customer base, renegotiations for clients on legacy packages and a global discount governance process. Further initiatives in the pipeline include package optimisation and introduction of a CPQ system.

The impact has been rapid and significant: discount governance led to immediately improved price realisation, pricing has become central to the commercial strategy with an increased team size and overall, these initiatives have been responsible for a sizeable increase in revenue.

“Investing in and empowering our pricing function has quickly led to tangible results. In 2020, pricing-related initiatives will deliver an impact to the P&L that is nearly as high as our annual target for new subscription sales. This couldn’t have happened without a shift in culture both internally and externally, from a ‘discount’ to a ‘value’ mindset. Our sales team’s language has changed to focus on value delivered, whilst clients benefit from ongoing investment in a high-quality service,” Stephen Mitchell, Head of Proposition at FE fundinfo

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