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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.

Aligning sales priorities and incentivisation

UK-based Allocate is a leading international provider of healthcare workforce management software.  With over 450 employees Allocate’s products help NHS agencies with critical tasks including scheduling, allocating and managing nursing and doctor resources, to ensure good patient care.

Over the last three years Allocate has undergone a shift in their commercial model, moving from a fixed term license to a SaaS based model (where software is sold as an annual subscription in a combined licence, maintenance and hosting packaging).

To help them make this move we worked with Allocate on ways to rethink and design their sales incentive model. Together, we designed a new incentive system that aligned sales focus and strategic priorities. We also developed new sales training, materials and a clear communication and rollout plan for customers

These changes, developed collaboratively, made a big difference to Allocate to move to a new subscription model smoothly. They made the majority of the transition in under two years, rather than the three or more expected. This led to continued customer satisfaction.

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

Understanding why customers leave

Citation provides professional support to over 16,000 clients, across a range of specialist areas, including HR and employment law, health & safety and ISO accreditation.

The problem was that Citation’s management lacked an understanding of customers, across their areas of work.  Large, disparate financial and operational datasets, across different departments and business groups meant that it was hard to see what was causing customers to leave or reduce services and, as a result, take steps to identify those at risk and to prevent it.

We worked in partnership with a number of departments at Citation to build a database, incorporating data from a range of financial and operational systems. It provided information on every past and present customer, as well as analysis (split down by customer sector and size, location, cohort, product holding, service usage, Net Promoter Score and the quality of new customer ‘onboarding’) that drew together a clearer understanding of which customers left the business and why.

This analysis allowed management to identify at-risk customers which, in turn allowed them to set out strategies for improving retention, such as redesign of the ‘onboarding’ process and actions to drive service usage.

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