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Speeding Lessons

Whether you call it a recession, a depression, or an adjustment, a time of uncertainty is the time to accelerate – if you have the capital and the backbone.
I understand this view may be counterintuitive, perhaps seen by some as reckless. Conventional wisdom would ask: How can you think of being aggressive at a time when deals are at risk, satisfied customers are coveted, and the market is jittery?
History has shown that post-downturn winners are those who took a long view while others around them only focused inward. Take a look at this chart from Accenture.
What do the winners have in common?
First, they made sure their house was in order. They did this by building financial stability, eliminating debt, and focusing on cash flow. This smart fiscal policy allowed them to remain flexible and adaptable.
Then, and herein lies the difference, winners also looked for ways to drive their businesses. They focused on value-creation opportunities – things like underpriced acquisitions, corporate strategy refinement, better management systems, new product development, research. And they planned and executed aggressive sales and marketing programs.
Why does investing in sales & marketing work in a time of uncertainty? Here are five solid reasons:
1. There is less noise. Companies typically cut back on advertising during a downturn. For those taking the long-view, that increases the odds of being seen – and for a lot less money than it would have cost during good times.
2. Value is evergreen. Customers reduce purchases to only those investments they believe will help them capture value – and from only those suppliers who they see as having a solid grasp on what to do.
3. Confidence is catching. In times of uncertainty, people gravitate to those who make sense of the madness. Less selling and more thought leadership will go a long way.
4. Commitment increases chances. If you commit to maintaining a consistent public presence you naturally increase your odds of being seen when purchase consideration windows are open.
5. Time matters. Windows like this don’t come along very often. Those that have the courage to go against the grain and act during challenging times are those that will find themselves in a better position when others are just getting their acts together.
What’s the downside? Will your investors get nervous? Might your stock price take a potential hit? Both will probably happen.
But, history clearly shows the upside outweighs the downside. The opportunity to invest in initiatives focused on long-term value creation will pay dividends for many years. Get your financial house in order. Then invest behind an aggressive, value-enhancing go-to-market imperative. It will make all the difference.


  1. Tom Butta says:

    The Accenture study is merely one of many good ones. No matter which one you favor, the evidence is overwhelming. You can put yourself in position to not merely endure, but to prevail. The opportunity to gain significant, sustainable value is yours to go after.

  2. Michael Palma says:

    nicely done.

  3. Tom Butta says:

    Thanks. I know you know this better than most.

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