Business-to-business, or B2B, is a business model focused on selling products and services to other companies. There is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy or a secret formula to accelerate the growth of a B2B business. However, a B2B consulting firm can help develop a comprehensive plan for the success of professional services firms based on a detailed assessment. Company Expert, a leading B2B consulting firm, provides services, solutions, and products for strategic planning, marketing, and sales to boost the growth of B2B companies.
Strategic planning is like the ‘behind the scenes’ that lays the foundation for success. So, in this post, we’ll focus on planning. A B2B business plan is a roadmap that helps achieve business goals. A firm should incorporate tools and techniques in compiling a business plan that drives results. In this blog post, we will share more about the importance of strategic planning for B2B firms and learn how Company Expert’s playbook products can guide you in business planning to help scale your B2B firm.
Importance of Planning for B2B Firms
“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
A business plan outlines the strategies required to achieve short and long-term business goals. It includes information about the product, service, finances, and marketing strategies. Planning is all about setting regular goals, tracking progress towards those goals, and making changes and improvements whenever required. It’s not about predicting the future of your business. You might be surprised to know that planning can help companies grow 30% faster. Planning may sound simple, but it is a crucial task. The quality of the plan, and all you include in your plan, matters for the business’ success.
Key components of a business plan are – executive summary, company analysis, industry or market analysis, analysis of customers and competition, marketing, sales & product plan, operations strategy, design, and development plans, management team, and financial plan. Some of the benefits of a successful business plan are:
- It helps in deciding the allocation and efficient use of resources.
- Planning helps set realistic business goals that inspire and motivate everyone in the firm to work hard.
- Dealing with the risk and uncertainty becomes easier with the right planning.
- It helps understand the weakness & strengths of the organization and its competitors.
- Business planning helps in making better decisions.
Playbook Products for Effective Planning
Here’s an overview of a few playbook products from Company Expert that help B2B firms prepare an effective and efficient business plan.
Ansoff Matrix tool is also known as the Product/Market Expansion Grid. This matrix was developed by H.Igor Ansoff, a mathematician and a business manager. It was published in the Harvard Business Review in 1957. The Ansoff Matrix is a strategic planning tool that helps B2B firms plan their strategies and analyze the risk associated with each strategy. The four strategies of the Ansoff Matrix are:
- Market Penetration – This is all about changing the market strategies instead of the product.A firm that wants to increase its market share with the market penetration strategy can make its existing product more appealing, rather than developing new ideas. It can be executed in several ways, such as decreasing prices, increasing promotion, and acquiring a competitor.
- Product Development – In this strategy, a firm develops a new product to cater to the existing market’s needs.A firm that has a strong understanding of the current market can benefit from this strategy by providing innovative solutions.
- Market Development – It involves moving your existing product or service to a new market. A firm can expand to a new geographical region or customer segment. It is a good strategy to give new exposure to your already successful products.
- Diversification –Creating a new product for a new market is diversification. It is a risky strategy, but it opens a new revenue stream for the company.
Company Expert’s Ansoff Matrix tool is a consulting template that aims at horizontal, vertical, and diagonal business expansion. It helps a B2B firm understand how and in which direction it can grow effectively.
2. Balanced Scorecard and Reporting
This is a strategic planning tool that helps monitor the progress of your goals. Robert Kaplan and David Norton developed the model, and it was first published in the Harvard Business Review in 1992. This popular business management business tool helps measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy from four perspectives.
- Financial Perspective – It helps measure the current financial performance of your marketing functions. Usually, this perspective includes objectives and measures relating to revenue growth and the operational efficiency of the marketing functions.
- Learning and Growth Perspective – This measures the intangible assets (human capabilities, technological capabilities, and organizational attributes) that a company must possess to perform critical internal processes with a high level of competence.
- Customer Perspective – It includes objectives and measures focusing on the important aspects of the customer value proposition. Common measures include the number of new customers acquired or the average deal size.
- Internal Process Perspective – This perspective contains objectives and measures relating to internal activities and processes that are critical to understanding your current and potential customers. It also includes how to communicate your value propositions to prospects and customers.
Having a Balanced Scorecard and Reporting tool is helpful to manage your strategy and measure its effectiveness.
Capability assessment helps identify, build, and monitor the capabilities that are important for your firm’s success. You can use a framework or tool to identify the capabilities important for your company’s success, the strongest and weakest capabilities, and learn how these capabilities align with what is important for the success of your company.
Company Expert’s Capability Assessment Tool helps you understand your firm’s capabilities. It allows you to assess your organization’s capabilities with a systematic approach. When you understand the importance and effectiveness of each capability, you can focus on the improvement required for the growth of your professional firm. Any B2B firm that wants to develop a framework to understand their capabilities can use the capability assessment playbook.
4. Mission, Vision & Value Development
Mission, vision, and value statement are the foundation for the strategic planning of a business. A consulting framework for mission, vision, & value development can help craft a useful and powerful B2B vision and mission statement. Let’s look at the key differences between these terms.
- B2B Vision Statement – A vision statement is the guiding light of a firm that states what the company wants to achieve in the long run. It motivates, inspires, and provides direction to the employees and other stakeholders. The vision statement should be concise, unambiguous, futuristic, realistic, aspirational, and inspirational.
- B2B Mission Statement – A mission statement answers what you do, how you do it, and who benefits from this. It helps paint a picture of the company and communicates the core solution your firm provides to society and external stakeholders. The mission statement should be brief, clear, informative, simple, and direct. It should always be written after the vision statement.
- B2B Value Statement– The value statement is the heart of the company that conveys the firm’s values, ethics, and priorities. It highlights an organization’s core principles and philosophical ideals. Value statements should be memorable, actionable, and timeless since it shows what’s important for your business.
Competitive analysis helps identify the market trends and finds areas of growth. Understanding the competitive environment is important for planning an effective business plan for a professional services firm. The competitive analysis playbook product provides a framework to assess key competitors. In addition, it helps you get familiar with your industry and the competitive environment in an organized way.
It is a systematic approach that conducts a detailed evaluation of the competitors. The competitive analysis framework can be used to compare business plans and marketing strategies with competitors. Some of the benefits of the competitive analysis framework are listed below.
- Helps identify the market gaps within an industry.
- It aids in understanding the market trends and patterns.
- Gets you familiar with effective marketing strategies.
- The competitive analysis framework makes data more visually appealing and keeps research and competitor data clean.
Company Expert is specialized in helping B2B small and mid-sized financial services, IT, and other professional services industries. With almost 25 years of experience, we can help your B2B firm face a myriad of challenges in the marketplace with ease. We are not only selling products, but we also offer solutions that can help accelerate the growth of your B2B firm. With Company Expert, you’ll unlock your full growth potential to position your firm as a leader in your industry. Feel free to explore our collection of consulting frameworks or business playbooks for planning, marketing, or sales to learn how we can help you grow. We are focused on creating sustainable growth for B2B businesses!