Every business has an invisible engine.  Like any engine, it turns energy into two primary things: useful work and unseen waste.  The best gasoline engines are about 25% efficient – 75% of the energy becomes heat and 25% propels the vehicle forward. For business, the question becomes how much energy is generating growth, and how much energy is wasted.  For businesses making acquisitions, the question is how to combine engines and make them more efficient. 

How efficient is your revenue engine?  Win 1 out of 4 deals: 75% waste.  A 2% response rate: 98% waste.  Connect the two: A 2% response rate that generates a 25% win rate yields .5% results, 99.5% waste. Most revenue engines are extremely inefficient. It’s like burning money in a barrel that generates massive heat and little or no motion.  You may be wondering – well, not us.  We’re doing well.  The key question is, why are you doing well?  And, could you be doing even better if your engine were humming along with far greater efficiency?

There’s a wrinkle that makes this analogy more complex, but we’ve seen it to be true, and it likely explains the 99.5% waste-yet-doing-well phenomena. The truth is: the engine you think is propelling your business forward is often not the real source of growth.  You’re thinking of the engine you see – sales and marketing people and programs and pipelines.  There’s a hidden engine most businesses don’t see, manage or fuel – this is the true source of revenue.

Good customers find you.  They weed through the marketing noise to figure out what you really do, and how you can help them.  They hold off talking to salespeople until they absolutely have to.  Then, they buy for reasons that truly matter to them.  They see and experience the true substance – the real value – of your business.  They tell others. They expand their investment.  This is the invisible engine.

The disproportionate growth opportunity is to align the visible and invisible engines – and make them run, as one, with far greater efficiency.  This includes uncovering:

  • Your best and most valuable customers, and how they found you
  • The true substance they seek and value they found in you
  • The triggers that compelled customers to take immediate action, to change the status quo
  • Natural growth paths for customers to do even more business with you
  • Sales and marketing waste; investments that generate heat but little or no motion

The key is to find ways to see and fuel the engine no one sees.