Growth stalls happen to the best of companies. Levi Strauss, Apple, Caterpillar. Daimler-Benz. Volvo. Even if you’re a rocketship with a stellar trajectory, you’re going to have to do some repositioning or refueling at some point in your journey. 

First off, what is a growth stall? 

A growth stall is when growth plateaus for a period of time you deem significant. That can be a week, a month, 3 months, or however long it impacts your company. 

Believe it or not, we found that 40% of all channel resellers hit a growth stall in the first 14 months of selling a new product or service. 

Growth Stalls Graph

That’s an alarmingly high number. If you resell third-party products and services like websites, social media management, digital ads, SEO, content creation, or other solutions, you’re in this bucket of channel resellers. And while 40% of resellers hit that stall within 14 months, many fail to even get off the ground. 

Over the last year, Vendasta dug into this dilemma and conducted surveys with our 1,400 channel partners to get to the bottom of why growth stalls happen. We found that the underlying reasons fall into six categories:

  1. Product
  2. Demand
  3. Sales
  4. Scaling
  5. Retention
  6. Expansion

Let’s dig into each one.

Product

Product problems are not always straightforward, but they certainly contribute to growth stalls. Lack of diversification, bad pricing, poor go-to-market strategies, and little differentiation between you and your competitors are classic causes of a growth stall stemming from your product offering.

Here are some article suggestions to combat product-related growth stalls: 

Product Articles

Local Marketing Stack Checklist

Product Diversity

Personal Branding Tactics for Business Success

Best Social Media Networks for Your Clients

How to Differentiate Yourself Against Other Agencies Online

Top Tactics for Raising Prices

Having Trouble Scaling? Productizing Services is Your Ticket

Everything You Forgot to Remember About Branding and Design

White-Label Reputation Management: What It Is & Why You Should Sell It

WATCH: Top 7 Vendasta Product Announcements at Conquer Local 2019

Demand

Your ability to drive demand is a key factor between stalling out vs. accelerating. 

Regardless of how fantastic your offering is, if people don’t know it exists, your business can’t sell it. 

The thing is, driving demand—aka generating leads—can be overwhelming. Leads don’t just grow on trees. Marketing team or no marketing team, when a growth stall occurs, the marketing efforts have to react accordingly. It is important to develop a demand strategy and continue to re-evaluate it over time in order to get customers through the door. 

Vendasta has developed a ton of content around how to tackle this (see below). From targeting customers based on those who bring you more LTV than CAC, to finding product-market fit through a well thought out go-to-market strategy, to leveraging exciting new product-led growth opportunities, all of these strategies are backed by industry stats and proven to drive demand. 

Demand Articles

Lead Generation

Kick-Start your Lead Generation to Grow your Agency

Business Growth Strategy: The Guide to Product-Led Growth

Buyer Persona Worksheet

How to Slash Your Customer Acquisition Cost

Website & Organic Traffic

10 Easy Steps To Create & Set-Up The Best Small Business Website

Growing Organic Blog Traffic by 125% in One Year

Website Content 101: Why Ugly Websites Finish Last

34 SEO Professionals Uncover The Best Keyword Research Tools

How Digital Advertising Spillover Affects your Organic SEO

Digital Advertising and Social Media

How Local Businesses Get Found with Digital Advertising: 5 Industry Examples

How Agencies Can Win At AdWords: Lessons Learned from Spending $80K

163 Stunning Social Media Stats to Savor 

28 Social Media Marketing Tips: The Expert Roundup

B2B Audience Targeting Tips for LinkedIn and Facebook

Content

Dennis Yu’s 3×3 Video Grid Strategy For Local Businesses

14 ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu Content Practices to Nurture Your Leads

10-Step Email Marketing Checklist

Sales

Now that we’ve picked on marketing, it’s sales’ turn. 

Without a scalable, predictable sales process, the leads that marketing worked tirelessly to generate will go to waste.

Growth stalls that occur from lack of predictability can be caused by a few things: 

  • Insufficient product-market fit from all customer cohorts - i.e., you've tried expanding too quickly into cohorts that don’t see the value of your offering.
  • Misalignment and misunderstanding of customer needs
  • Unscalable processes and tools are slowing your team down
  • Poor training and sales management that don’t grow with demand
  • Unclear reporting and metrics to drive the right behavior

Review the articles below to address these challenges. 

Interested in needs-based selling? We have a blog for that. Looking for sales reporting to see how you’re doing? We have templates. 

Sales Articles

Sales Team

13 Tips for Sales Manager Success

How to Train your Sales Team

Prospecting & The Pitch

12 Best Tips for Prospecting

Crafting Elevator Pitches That Sell

Sales Leads Management: Become the Pipeline Plumber

Selling 101

The Guide to Consultative Selling in 2019

98% of Sales Reps are Meeting Quotas through Social Selling. Why Aren’t You?

The 3-Step Sales System that Generates High-Margin, Low-Effort Digital Sales

Sales Hangovers: How to Maintain High Sales Performance

Sales Reporting

Top 10 Metrics to Track for High-Performing Sales Leaders

Sales Reporting Templates: Daily, Weekly, and Monthly

How To Effectively Track Sales Activity

Scaling

Scale is the holy grail, right? According to Score, scalability is about capacity and capability. Overlooking these is often the root cause of scale-related growth stalls. 

If you have too much on your plate and you’re unable to take on new clients or deliver your offering in a timely way, you have a scaling problem. Similarly, if you’re scared to move out of where you feel comfortable, you are not going to scale. 

How do you avoid scaling-induced growth stalls? It’s all about expert task management, solid onboarding, and a surefire fulfillment strategy to gradually scale without straining capacity. 

The most important part? Creating repeatable processes for your company to follow over and over again. 

Scaling Articles

Why Agencies Don’t Grow

5 Keys to Success in Business from Kevin O'Leary

Dear Agencies: You’re Screwed

Business Growth Strategies: PLG

Scaling Intelligently: 10 Key Elements to Scaling Your Agency

Scaling Your B2B Organization with a White-Label Platform

9 White-Label Services & Solutions to Skyrocket Your Revenue in 2019

Retention

Acquiring a customer costs 5x more than retaining an existing customer (Outbound Engine). Furthermore, the success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.

Essentially churn is the monster hiding under the bed. When you lose customers, you not only lose revenue but you also lose brand advocates. Your present AND future are affected by customer churn. 

Don’t forget about SaaS metrics, too! Retaining customers increases their lifetime value (LTV), and LTV is a key component to scaling demand. You want to invest in marketing channels where the LTV is at least 3 times as high as the cost to acquire that customer—so if you want to grow, focus first on retention.

Retention Articles

Churn Study: Why Your Clients Churn

SaaS Retention vs. Churn

Top 4 Customer Retention Strategies to Unlock New Agency Growth

Tackling Your Company’s Scariest Monster: Churn

The Top 14 Social Media KPIs Agencies Need To Know

Growth Marketing: The Growth Secret Behind AirBnB and HubSpot

Expansion

Expansion in the context of this article is not the same as scaling. Instead, it means expanding your offering to become your clients’ single trusted provider. 

If you only sell 1 or 2 solutions like websites or digital ads, your clients will have to go elsewhere for the rest of what they need. It means more logins, more bills, and disjointed reporting when they would rather have one person handle everything.

If you can be a one-stop shop for all of an SMB’s needs, you’ve won. 

This has been proven to be beneficial to retention as well as revenue growth.

Expansion can be scary to the likes of managed service providers who aren’t comfortable offering marketing solutions outside their IT experience, or to marketing agencies trying to offer accounting solutions, or to banks trying to sell websites—but that’s the reality of what’s happening. There’s a land grab going on, and those who can figure out how to offer the full stack will reap the rewards.

In addition to becoming a single trusted provider, another benefit of expansion is upselling and cross-selling. It’s important to have a strategy that includes consistent assessment of customer needs and a discussion about how those products will fit with the ones the customer is already purchasing. 

Expansion Articles

Product Expansion

Local Marketing Stack Checklist

Unleashing the Competitor Killer: Product Diversity

How to Add Digital to Your Traditional Media Sales

A Tale of Two Service Types: Do It For Me vs. Do It Yourself Reputation Management

The Ultimate Guide to White-Label Products & Solutions

The Adversity of Diversity: The Difficulty of Serving Clients’ Varying Needs

Cloud Brokers

What is a Cloud Broker? (And the Death of B2B Industry)

Cloud Brokers: The Evolution of B2B Sales

How to Become a Cloud Broker

Using a Cloud Broker Platform to Drive B2B Growth

Getting Over Growth Stalls

By leveraging the resources in this article, you can address current and potential growth stalls before it’s too late. If you’d like to discuss these topics with one of Vendasta’s Growth Specialists, we’d be happy to chat. Get in touch today.