Research Brief: Path to Profitable Growth

1 February 2016


Sales organizations allocate investments across a varied portfolio of growth opportunities. Given finite resources, sales management’s challenge is to calibrate these investments (in personnel, technology, collateral, tools) such that profitable firm sales are optimized. These sorts of decisions are myriad in even the simplest organization; they include explicit investments made with strategic intent, as well as less conscious decisions that nevertheless impact results. Among the most impactful of these allocation decisions is the degree to which the firm focuses on growth from new customer acquisition versus growth from existing customers.

This research focuses in these customer investment decisions – namely, how companies allocate resources between new and existing customer opportunity. New customer growth opportunities are different than those in existing customers; they require different messaging, a distinct selling cadence, and usually yield different results, notably in costs, marginal profitability, and overall ROI. Special emphasis is given in this research to better understanding sales tactics and methods related to current customer retention and growth.

Specific research topics addressed include:

  • Understanding how firms size and assess growth opportunities from customers and prospects
  • Identifying sales performance management practices that differentiate new and existing customer objectives performance.
  • Clarifying measurement approaches used to quantify growth opportunity in new and existing customers.
  • Determining the degree of alignment between firm strategy and sales and marketing tactics, as they relate to distinct growth opportunities in new and existing customers.
  • Defining specific tactics used by sales organizations to maximize customer retention and growth.

An initial review of findings was also featured in a webcast, which may be viewed here:

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