We help growth company stakeholders execute on the predictable sales challenges of scaling their business.
Early success in almost every company can be attributed to a single characteristic - the individual heroics and passion of the founder(s) and early stakeholders. Following early success however there is a transitional period of growth - The Crucible - that has the the potential to derail progress, reshape the companies DNA and reduce the market opportunity.
The cause of this challenge?
You can’t scale the individual heroics and random events that created the original success of the company!
If unprepared, Sales - the lifeblood of the company and typically the least defined functional area - will suffer the most. Opportunities are missed, time and money are wasted, windows of opportunity close, processes are overhauled and retooled, sales leaders turn over and a recurring cycle of churn begins. Leaders find themselves spread thin, emotionally exhausted and living in an out-of-control sales environment.
The Crucible Group helps growth companies scale the sales organization by providing a baseline of topical understanding, frameworks, tools, consulting, approaches, training and best practices based on how successful companies execute and perform.
Compressing The Crucible
Whether 10 employees or 1000, compressing The Crucible requires the navigation of an overwhelming number of operational decisions and investments in the sales workstreams that are imperative to scale for growth.
Workstreams are topics, initiatives and processes that represent the strategic "what to do" and the tactical "how to do it". Workstreams can be one-time initiatives or agile topics that are regularly refined. Technology workstreams can be both and intersect almost all other topics.
Organizations that attack the Crucible proactively, efficiently, in proper context and order, and with the correct topical expertise dramatically increase their chances for success. Reactive organizations with limited expertise get caught in "topical churn" repeating initiatives, wasting money and energy while restricting their market opportunity.
Leaders can take solace in the knowledge that the Crucible can be predictable:
Each workstream represents the potential for a significant competitive advantage
While workstreams vary between companies and industry, there are common themes, natural clusters and proven sequences of events that add order to the chaos
- The market rewards companies that get it right!
Mission, Sales Enablement For SMBs
"I'm not really a sales person. I guess that I am always selling but..."
Most companies are started by people with limited sales and sales enablement experience. Really good, smart people with great ideas and vision who shouldn't have their company restrained due to limited exposure to a particular discipline. Growth companies need help and statistics verify the reason mature companies invest in sales enablement:
84% of reps achieve quota at companies with best-in-class sales enablement strategies. -Aberdeen
Sales and marketing misalignment costs businesses $1 trillion each year in decreased sales productivity and wasted marketing efforts. -Hubspot
Sales reps spend up to 43 hours every month searching for information. -Aberdeen
55% of top-performing companies are driving productivity by investing in sales-enablement technology. -Brainshark
Over 50% of CRM projects are considered a failure. -Various
82% of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems (sales). -U.S. Bank
SMBs (< 1000 employees) make up over 50% of all employers and represent over 63% of the job growth in the economy. SMB leaders depend on sales growth as much, if not more than mature companies but have confusing, disparate or limited places to turn for help scaling their businesses. And, there are hundreds, if not thousands of technologies adding to the noise by claiming to be some sort of sales enablement.
Our mission is to help growth companies cut through the noise and provide frameworks, tools, context, provocative ideas and topical insight into this predictable set of challenges. Sales Enablement for SMBs!
Michael Ladd is an entrepreneur, company leader, sales executive and sales enablement veteran with a unique set of skills and experience to help B2B growth companies. Ladd has founded and led a company to a successful exit, led sales teams, served his time in enterprise software in Silicon Valley and trained thousands of sales professionals around the world. His experience is rooted in sales productivity and he most enjoys helping growth companies establish the framework that enables them achieve success and maturity. Several examples of Ladd's experience include:
Early Stage Consulting. Ladd currently works with and invests in growth companies primarily in the areas of strategy, sales messaging, training and sales infrastructure. This often entails determining where a company is in the Crucible and deciding which levers can be pulled for short term results while also building for the future.
Growth Business Ownership. Ladd co-founded EnablePath, a Salesforce.com systems integration partner. The firm enjoyed rapid growth and completed over 800 projects while achieving the highest possible partner designation - Platinum. As President, Ladd managed the overall business including strategy, sales, finance, operations, partnerships and human resources. Ladd oversaw the acquisition of EnablePath by multi-national IT services provider Birlasoft.
Leading Sales & Marketing, Mid Stage Growth Company. Ladd served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for a VC backed provider of disaster recovery hardware and software. This organization of 50+/- employees was early in the Crucible. Ladd implemented a sales process, sales tools, training, various forms of automation and a renewed channel strategy.
Creating a Sales Enablement Department, Enterprise Software. This 1600 person company had enjoyed rapid growth and success, but remained in the middle of the Crucible. Ladd built and managed the Sales Enablement team responsible for the worldwide management of all sales productivity programs including sales training, sales tool development, sales management effectiveness, sales messaging, inside sales, CRM implementation and management and company sales events. On five occasions Ladd was chosen to lead the CEO’s bi-annual leadership conference tasked with cascading the company’s strategic plan and message to the worldwide organization.
Sales Productivity and Process Training. Ladd developed much of his expertise in sales productivity as an early leader at Sales Performance International (SPI) and McCrory & Company, a Solution Selling© business partner. Regarded as one of the top trainers in the network, Ladd trained over 2000 professionals worldwide with enterprise clients ranging from IBM, Andersen Consulting and Lotus to high growth companies i2 Technologies and PSDI. Ladd also managed the Solution Selling© business partner channel.