Adapting The Strategic Piece Business For the B2B World of 2021
by Matt, on 10 Dec 2020
Strategic Piece is one year old! And, what better way to celebrate than to unveil our updated mission and services based on the clarity that we’ve gained over the past 366 days.
When Melanie and I merged our strategy and consulting practices at the end of 2019, we had a clear vision for how 2020 would unfold. You can guess how that played out!
Nevertheless, we stuck to our guns and, apart from a couple of deals that fell out of our funnel or ended prematurely when COVID hit, we have enjoyed steady work and interesting projects with a great cohort of clients.
As we began the perilous process of trying to plan for 2021, we looked back at the year that was and talked at length about how we might add the greatest value going forwards.
In this SPT post, I’m going to share some of our learnings, the adjustments we’re making, and our aspirations for the year ahead.
Although we share a deep-rooted passion for the entrepreneurial world and startup life – we’re entrepreneurs ourselves, after all, and Strategic Piece is still a startup – we found ourselves able to deliver greater impact for clients that are more established.
Implementing a company’s first ever growth strategy, CRM system, or marketing automation platform is certainly an “infinite” improvement over having nothing. But the tools are only half the battle. Unless the business invests time and money in ongoing marketing, sales, and customer service, results will be slow to materialize.
In contrast, larger clients – which typically (but not always) have some of the systems in place and are therefore less transformed by simply installing new tools – can dedicate staff time and budget to putting the wheels in motion.
Some of our clients needed to re-focus on achieving proof of concept and product-market fit rather than dividing resources between that and marketing. After all, having a solid proof of concept and understanding what it’s going to take to get a sale are the foundation upon which marketing is built.
Consequently, it’s been a year of mixed success. We’re deeply grateful to everyone with whom we’ve worked and countless others who have supported, guided, advised, and critiqued us along the way.
We nailed a few of our targets and fell short of others. Importantly, we learned a lot about ourselves and our business that will help us be more successful – and deliver greater value to our clients – in the years ahead.
I’ve become allergic to the word ‘pivot’. It’s overused and overhyped.
When is a company changing its ideas and when is it making a ‘micro-pivot’?
I prefer to reserve the term ‘pivot’ for a company that has recognized the need to fundamentally change the problem it’s trying to solve, the product or service it’s creating, or the target market it’s pursuing.
What we’re doing at Strategic Piece is making adjustments to improve the efficacy of our business. It’s like the adjustments a pit crew makes to a race car midway through the race; we’re tweaking the settings, not redesigning the chassis or switching to a different type of engine.
Firstly, we’re going to exclusively work with B2B companies, not B2C. The two are quite different endeavors and require distinct skillsets and tools.
Secondly, we’re dropping our self-professed technology agnosticism and going all-in on our partnership with HubSpot. This sounds drastic but it’s not, really. We’ve found time and again that HubSpot offers the right mix of capability, accessibility, scalability, and affordability for our clients – and that will be even more true as we focus on more established businesses.
We’ve defined new criteria for identifying which opportunities are a good fit for Strategic Piece. They include having ambitious revenue growth targets, a belief in the power and importance of technology, clear proof of concept, market traction, adequate working capital, an initial commitment to marketing, and a ring-fenced budget for the project with us, the software, and marketing spend that’s needed to deliver the desired results.
Our redefined mission is to deliver customer experiences that fuel revenue growth.
We believe this can be achieved by uniting our clients’ marketing, sales, and service teams around strategic, information-driven customer experiences built on the HubSpot platform.
Importantly, we will still anchor all our projects in solid strategy and deep customer understanding. We’re not just here to help people set up the software.
Whenever we make a change, it takes a while to settle in and get comfortable. Importantly, from a business perspective, it takes time to get the word out.
We’ve adjusted our website to reflect our updated mission, process, and rules of engagement. There’s also an improved Learning Center where you can find our Strategic Piece Talks blog posts, FAQ, and other customer experience resources. Let us know what you think!
During the first quarter, we’ll be writing and publishing more about our new obsession with information-driven customer experiences.
In particular, we’ll dig into how traditional, capital-intensive B2B sectors are primed to join the digital marketing express train (and how those who snooze are going to lose).
We’re busy deepening our knowledge of the HubSpot platform, ready to support whatever combination of marketing, sales, service, CRM, and CMS modules our clients need to align and accelerate their businesses. The more we learn, the more we find to love about the HubSpot toolset – and they have some amazing stuff scheduled for release next year!
Our goals for 2021 include:
- Reaching a broader audience;
- Continuing to add a diverse group of clients, practitioners, partners, and subscribers to our community;
- Developing new and improved ways of bringing value to our clients; and,
- Delivering an impactful series of projects to clients that, on average, are a step or two more established than we’ve supported to date.
As I mentioned earlier, we won’t be entirely walking away from the startup and entrepreneur community; we’re still entrepreneurs and angel investors, and we will continue to work and add value there when we can. We just expect it to be a smaller slice of the Strategic Piece project pie.
Will this iteration of Strategic Piece hit it out of the park in 2021?
That depends on how different 2021 looks from 2020 (very different, we hope!), and how effectively we craft and tell our story around information-driven customer experiences.
Have a productive finish to the year, take time to reflect and recharge, and let’s hit the ground running in the New Year! Drop us a line if you need any help or advice on developing and implementing that strategy.