Chapter 2 Mine Growth beneath the Surface

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

—T.S. Eliot

The old cliché is that you can’t see the forest for the trees. In finding new sources of sales growth, the more relevant analogy is the reverse: by looking at the forest of average data, it’s easy to miss where growth truly lies. For example, it is widely known that US manufacturing is in a state of decline. In 2008 alone, manufacturing GDP fell by $44 billion. But if you disaggregate that number, you will find that there were healthy pockets of growth that amounted to almost $32 billion—four times India’s total growth that year.1 The hidden pockets of growth in your industry may lie in your own backyard.

In the previous chapter, we showed how sales leaders can get ahead of competitors by capturing growth based on trends and investing ahead of demand. This chapter takes a look at sales executives who unearthed growth by undertaking micro-market analysis, identifying which markets have the highest growth potential, and aligning their resources to capture them.

A global chemicals and services provider increased the growth rate of new accounts from 15 percent to 25 percent in just one year. The big breakthrough, a sales executive told us, was adopting a more granular view of the market. Instead of looking at current sales by region, as it had always done, the company developed a new ...

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