Rapid business growth presents organizational and management dangers and potential liabilities. Some of these dangers can capsize a business. Continued success is dependent on implementing a plan that leads the organization through these challenging rapid growth periods.
In 2009, Worldlynx Wireless acquired 10 businesses and introduced a plan to grow both organically and through additional acquisitions. Two additional businesses were acquired in 2011. Another business was acquired in 2014. The business also enjoyed double-digit annual organic growth and it soon became the largest and only national dealer under the Bell, Alliant, and Virgin brands with annual sales of $140 million. Sales channels included retail, e-commerce, wholesale, and Business to Business. The business had operations in all provinces.
Statement of the Problem:
- The organization was not equipped to effectively manage double-digit annual sales growth
- Sales, service, and performance measurements inherited 12 different business processes. One common sales management platform was needed badly.
- No consistent human resources policies and hiring practices existed.
- Management abilities across the country varied greatly and many were struggling with the many issues associated with rapid business growth.
- Customers service levels and processes were quite different in each market
- No national sales and customer service training program existed
- Reporting daily, weekly, and monthly sales results were problematic
- A national employee and customer satisfaction program did not exist.
Analysis and what we learned:
- Rapid sales growth both hid and uncovered many problems within the organization. It led to increased demands on employees and ultimately worsened staff morale.
- Inconsistent organizational sales and customer service programs negatively impacted performance. Customers were showing their displeasure with our service levels.
- Employee evaluations, new employee on-boarding, training, and other human resource policies and practices were deficient and had to be improved and implemented consistently across the organization.
- Management needed to over-communicate during this rapid growth period. With so many moving pieces, new and existing employees needed to hear from business leaders to ensure the right messages were being communicated both inside and outside of the business.
Actions we took:
We developed and fast-tracked a restructuring plan focused on 5 specific actions:
- Human Resources Department was expanded both at the home office and in the field. This introduced consistency across the organization and led to improved employee satisfaction.
- Brought in new B2B sales leaders with experience managing national sales teams. Fewer salespeople led to more sales because we hired those with the right experience and skills.
- We invested additional resources in the customer service team, freeing up time for the sales reps to focus primarily on sales. Our sales and customer service satisfaction levels noticeably improved.
- Introduced sales and service training programs across the organization leading to a more consistent and effective approach.
- An enterprise-wide social network (restricted to our employees) was introduced throughout the organization. It streamlined communications, gave everyone easy access to company documents, policies, training, etc. and provided all employees with quick answers from others in the business. It improved our culture and helped morale and productivity.