Case Study #6: More Funding for a Portfolio Company
A VC firm had a portfolio company requesting another round of funding. The company's results to-date had fallen short of expectations but they appeared to be on the right track. The VCs were wondering if they should put more money into the business and what would need to happen in order to achieve the expected ROI. The issues were further muddied by difficult interactions between the CEO and the Board of Directors, resulting in a very high frustration level.
We performed a one-day analysis that focused on the company's history, market, product/services, business-capture process and sticking points, sales indicators, pipeline and forecast reports, specific deals, and people. It was clear that some issues existed, but the company had a sales manager whom I ranked in the top ten of over two thousand sales managers I had worked with over the years.
We provided the Board and the CEO with a standard sales-forecast report so that everyone knew where the business stood. Also, we suggested that the Board leverage their contacts, when appropriate, to expand the business and help close large deals. We recommended against changing any of their sales force for six months because the sales people were doing all the right things. Per our suggestion, they changed their sales practice to tighten each step of the process, and used presentations to move the sales forward instead of just educate the client.
The company implemented all of our recommendations and changes. Today, the company is number one in its market with over two hundred Fortune 500 clients. It also has a powerful Board of Advisors and is exceeding its business plan.
The Common Mistake
When sales organizations miss their projections, the inclination is to make changes. But 70% of all CEOs lack any sales experience so they don't know if they have the right people doing the right things or what changes to make. The question becomes: What are the right changes to make for maximum results? In this case, an outside opinion confirmed that they were on the right track. They simply made some adjustments and gave their Board and CEO a way to work from the same page, which helped advance their market position to number one!