The Battlefield for faster-than-market growth

23.04.2018

The battlefield takes your strategies from power points to concrete actions

The Battlefield is a unique tool for describing your company’s position in a market as well as the potential market growth in one single chart. It gives you a very good overview of the market and helps you to identify growth opportunities that would otherwise be missed.

My experience as head of sales in big, stock listed companies in the process industry is that most organisations would benefit from a Battlefield mapping. Senior sales representatives and the sales managers, often with extensive experience, usually have difficulties to determine their market shares and the potential growth of the market in a specific segment with good quality. I have done hundreds of customer visits with my sales people and very often I find that we have an outdated view of our position at the customer. We have often ignored how fast the customer has grown and how our competitors have strengthened their position. This is not because my sales people have been bad. On the contrary I have had the pleasure to work with some of the best sales people in their respective industries. The reason is rather the lack of a model to describe the market that allows the Sales Managers to analyse it in sufficient detail to take the right actions to create a faster-than-market-growth.

By splitting your sales area market share into segments, as described in the figure 1, you will be able to understand what business to prioritise market by market. 

  • Are there any markets where you have had problems to grow your sales to a specific segment? 
  • Why are you not performing as well as other sales areas in one specific segment even if you are successful in the other segments? 
  • Is there a potential to build the market in any of your segments in your sales area?

The battlefield chart helps you to identify opportunities for growth that you are not able to see with traditional methods of describing the market. 

Over the years that I have worked with this concept I have added the potential market growth and the relative profitability to the chart. The latter proves very useful when it comes to prioritising the growth opportunities. 

There are two different ways to grow in a market. Either we can take market share as described in figure 2A. Increased market share often comes with reduced profitability as we take existing business from the competition. Or we can grow the market by upgrading customers to our added value products or solutions from their commodity consumption as in figure 2B. When we create value in the upgrading process we can usually maintain or even increase the profitability of the new business compared to the existing order book.

Market share growth will trigger commercial actions such as marketing campaigns, improved service, increased presence or more aggressive pricing while growing the market activities would be more related to technical support activities and training the sales representatives in upgrading and value creation sales. 

The Battlefield is very useful for the strategy deployment process to prioritise between different growth opportunities and our actions will vary depending on the choices we make. The whole organisation will be involved in both making the battlefield and in implementing the actions agreed after having prioritised the best growth opportunities.

This involvement improves the engagement and creates commitment which in my experience are important factors for a successful and efficient strategy implementation and faster-than-market-growth. I consider this to be as important as the conclusions from the battlefield analysis.

The Battlefield process gives us the possibility of prioritising opportunities and set targets in a transparent way, it provides us with an action plan for growth and it creates engagement at both sales representative and sales manager level. These are important components in the RACE model that 3S is working with for successful sales management. The RACE process focuses on all the necessary components for ensuring good sales management – Results, Actions, Competence and Capability and Engagement.

If you are interested to learn more about the Battlefield concept please contact lasse.johansson@3s.se.

You can also order a more extensive whitepaper on the Battlefield concept here, http://3s.se/en/battlefield-whitepaper-order-page/.

Lasse Johansson

Lasse Johansson is working as a Senior Sales Consultant and has a background as General Manager and Commercial Director in big, multi-national stock listed companies in the process industry. He has extensive experience from working with a wide range of customer segments such as Automotive, Mining, Construction equipment, Pulp and paper, Oil and gas, Liquid packaging and Consumer goods packaging.