B2B Executive Playbook: The Ultimate Weapon for Achieving Sustainable, Predictable and Profitable Growth

B2B Executive Playbook: The Ultimate Weapon for Achieving Sustainable, Predictable and Profitable Growth

by Sean Geehan


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B2B companies aren’t like B2C companies. They don’t acquire and retain customers with Super Bowl ads, Twitter accounts, or cute, little green geckos. To achieve sustainable, predictable, and profitable growth, you MUST follow a different playbook. Is your planning process true Outside- Inside? Is your executive team directly connected with the management? If you are part of the senior team at a business-to-business enterprise, The B2B Executive Playbook is the most important business book you need to read this year. You may already know that the rules for success are different. But until now, you could not have known how dramatically different...nor the magnitude of how market-driven change will revamp and align your organizations, your career, and your long-term path to success.

You’re holding in your hands the first book to address the critical differences between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. In this groundbreaking book, author, speaker, and leading expert in B2B executive strategies Sean Geehan draws upon over 20 years of designing and implementing winning executive playbooks for B2B companies of every size. This playbook is also supported by case studies and research from market-leading B2B companies, including HCL, Harris, Crown Partners, Henny Penny, Springer Science+Business Media, Wells Fargo, Intesource, Oracle, and more.

“Leaders in every organization face challenges, but Sean Geehan uncovers the unique set of hurdles leaders in B2B organizations face—then provides us with a tactical playbook anyone can follow for success. This groundbreaking book is the B2B bible.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781578604463
Publisher: Clerisy Press
Publication date: 11/29/2011
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sean Geehan is founder and CEO of Geehan Group—the recognized leader in B2B Executive Programs. With more than 20 years experience in driving B2B success, he is an expert in leadership, executive engagement programs, and designing strategic planning processes that drive long-term and profitable growth. Sean earned his MBA at the University of Dayton and received the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2002. His work has been featured by the Wharton School of Business, American Marketing Association, CFO magazine, and National Public Radio. To learn more about Sean, visit SeanGeehan.com.

Read an Excerpt

Why Just B2B?
Two of the best, most influential, and closely studied business books written are Jim Collins’s Good to Great and David Thomson’s Blueprint to a Billion. Both offer extremely valuable insight into how companies become wildly successful. Nonetheless, these and many other good business books don’t distinguish between B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B companies. In fact, of the 11 companies profiled in Good to Great, only one is a pure B2B company. Granted, some business issues can be similarly addressed in both types of companies. (Every leader should read Good to Great on “getting the right people on the bus” and Blueprint for advice on management-team structure). But in other critical areas, B2C and B2B companies require vastly different approaches, and these areas are major factors in B2B success on which I will focus.

In the pages ahead, you won’t read about the strategies of Apple Computer or Coca-Cola or Starbucks or Disney. I know these are the companies everyone points to when they talk about business success, but they operate in the B2C realm of retailers, such as Lowe’s, Kroger, and McDonalds, and consumer-package-goods manufacturers, such as PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Kellogg. This world is not the same as the B2B world. Although their examples can be useful in some ways, too often what makes these B2C companies soar will stall or even stop B2B companies.

Take marketing, for example. Marketing is very different in the B2B and B2C sectors. Unlike B2C companies, B2B companies don’t win customers with a Super Bowl ad, or a big following on Twitter, or a guest spot on Oprah. Nor will a celebrity spokesperson like Brett Favre, Snoop Dogg, or that cute little green gecko drive B2B success. Unfortunately, however, a significant number of well-meaning B2B executives try to apply B2C marketing strategies such as these in their companies, often with poor, and sometimes even disastrous, results.

Are You Using the Wrong Playbook?
The symptoms or pains felt by a B2B company following the wrong playbook are not new or necessarily unique. In fact, many are the same age-old business problems felt by many types of organizations. They just might be feeling new or heightened in your company due to lightning-fast changes in technology, shifts in global forces, the emergence of radically transformational business models, or other industry disruptions. These and other realities of the business environment have simply raised the risk of using the wrong playbook and are accelerating the need for adaptive change. B2B leaders know very well there is less room for error than ever before.

To know if you and your company might be using the wrong playbook, ask if:
  • Your company has lost or is at risk of losing its top customers
  • Margins are threatened or eroding
  • New products are falling short of their revenue, margin, or market-share targets
  • The relationships with the real decision makers at your most important customers are poorly developed
  • Your strategic planning process is unproductive or frustrating
  • Branding and marketing initiatives have fallen flat
  • Your senior executive team disagrees on how to move the company forward
  • Your organization confuses activities with results

These are just some of the problems that frustrate and confound many executives in B2B companies. But I’ve often found they aren’t the real issues; they are merely symptoms of a deeper problem, which is the widespread misconception that all business pains can be successfully resolved with generic business cures. As a result, B2B executives take the lessons they learn from the B2C world, whether from experience or education, and attempt to apply them to their B2B company. As most discover, this approach simply fails.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that success in the B2B arena is not an overly complex undertaking. And, in almost every instance, the playbook of proven B2B strategies costs less to develop and execute than you might think—and will generate significant and measurable returns. That’s the promise I’m making in this book: You can yield market-leading results while simplifying your tactics, reducing the number and cost of activities, leveraging your time and resources, and achieving greater clarity and focus.

Table of Contents

Foreword David G. Thomson ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Setting the Stage 10

Chapter 2 A Different Game 16

Chapter 3 Six Benefits, Four Steps 38

Chapter 4 Engage 56

Chapter 5 Plan 72

Chapter 6 Collborate 90

Chapter 7 Grow 110

Chapter 8 Implementing The Play Book 126

Chapter 9 Avoiding The Four Pitfalls 134

Conclusion 140

Marketing And Social Media 144

Leveraging Marketing to Drive Organizational Value 146

B2B and Social Media 165

Case Studies 173

HCL 174

Oracle 182

Harris 194

Intesource 208

Springer 216

Wells Fargo 224

Crown Partners 234

Index 238

Acknowledgments 243

Customer Reviews