Giants like General Motors Know the Advantages of Outsourcing. Here’s Why You Should Too.

general motors advantages of outsourcing

General Motors Has Not Made a Car in 70 Years

And I respect GM for that.  It would be foolish of them to not know the advantages of outsourcing and do the whole job.  Let me explain.

GM does what is strategic and outsources the rest – as it should.  The company designs cars. It details the specifications for its powertrains, brakes, lights, electrical systems, tires, etc. but – and this is a big but – it doesn’t make any of them. It buys its tires from the big tire manufacturers. It buys its batteries from the big battery companies. It buys its brakes from the best-of-breed brake manufacturers. But it doesn’t even try to compete with companies that are superb at making the components of a car.  Instead, it buys from them.

To Get the Advantages of Outsourcing you Must Understand Core vs. Context

GM understands the difference between core and context. Core are functions that make a genuine difference in the marketplace; context is everything else. Context are the things that need to be done well but don’t deal directly with marketplace success.

Office buildings are context.  Accounting is context.  Designing windshields is core but manufacturing them is context.

Successful companies intuitively recognize the difference between core and context. They focus their energies on what really makes a difference and they outsource the rest.

Marketing Strategy is Core; Marketing Operations are Context

Only management can decide which markets it wants to pursue and how it wants to pursue them.  Only management can determine its product and service pricing. Only management can develop the company’s marketing strategy. Its marketing strategy is core.

But the company is not going to be recognized in the market for its excellence in installing and operating  No company will generate great profits because it did a good job scrubbing its email lists. The company’s stock price will not budge because it wrote a good piece of marketing collateral that an agency could have written.

A prudent company will focus its energies on marketing strategy and outsource its marketing operations. The reason is simple. One of the advantages of outsourcing marketing operations is that companies that focus on marketing operations need to be expert at it.  They need to know how to write compelling copy, layout a persuasive website or brochure, and deliver the corporate message cost-effectively through a wide range of channels. They need to understand the full range of digital software sales and marketing tools and know exactly where they fit in a campaign. Some of these tools are best for small companies and others are best for large companies. Marketing operations experts know which is which.

Most companies, particularly small and medium-sized ones, can’t afford to develop this expertise – and they shouldn’t. Just as those companies outsource their legal work to legal firms, outsource their accounting work to accounting firms, and outsource their janitorial work to janitorial companies, they should also outsource the implementation of their marketing strategies to boutique firms that live and breathe this sort of work.

It just makes sense.  Companies should only do what they do best and makes a difference in the marketplace. The rest should be outsourced.

The 3 Key Steps to Optimize your Content Marketing Strategy with White Papers

content marketing strategy

You have in your possession a well-researched, highly-engaging white paper – now what? White papers have no innate benefit in your overall content marketing strategy if you do not promote and leverage them properly. When it comes to successfully using your white paper to generate leads and secure sales, there are three necessary steps you should follow:

Step 1: Create a Proper Landing Page

More often than not, a company’s white papers are deeply hidden within their website. To even reach the white paper, potential buyers are forced to navigate through several web pages. Once buyers find the proper white paper landing page, it is often lack-luster: failing to highlight the benefits and merits of downloading and reading the paper.

To maximize your content marketing strategy, it is important to place your white paper on its very own dedicated page. This landing page should inform the reader of the benefits gained from reading your white paper. Providing these benefits can assist in convincing potential buyers that downloading and reading your insights is worth their time and energy.

To write an impactful and effective white paper landing page, it is helpful to include the following elements:

  • Keywords – To draw traffic to your website, it is well-known that SEO optimization is key. This optimization starts by selecting the keyword of your company’s choice, and ensuring that it is included multiple times on your website’s various pages. Once you have selected your relevant keyword, a rough guide for your white paper landing page is to aim for a keyword density of between 2-7%.
  • Minimal text – The biggest bulk of text on your white paper landing page should be the introduction paragraph. This paragraph should include a catchy and grabbing headline to draw the reader in and a sentence or two of what your white paper is about.
  • Emphasize benefits – All other text on your landing page, excluding your introduction paragraph, should be bulleted. Bullets provide readers essential information in a quick, streamlined way. These bullets should focus on emphasizing the “what” of your white paper – what are the benefits of downloading and reading this paper? If you cannot convince visitors to your landing page that they will be better off having read your white paper, they will not bother to download it.


Step 2: Collect Information

When it comes to granting access to your white paper, you have two options: a direct link or gating your content with a form. The smartest option for boosting your content marketing strategy is to offer your white paper in exchange for personal information.

Asking your visitors for information allows you to generate valuable leads. By gathering the names and e-mail addresses of your visitors, you can more easily convince them to opt-into your marketing efforts – your future emails, newsletters, and blog posts. Gaining your visitors information and establishing a relationship with them through sharing your marketing content is more likely to lead to successfully incorporating them into your sales funnel.

It is tempting to ask those wishing to download your white paper for as much personal information as possible – resist the urge. By asking visitors for too much information up-front, you risk alienating them. First time visitors to your company’s website have no personal connection with your company, so they are not likely to want to spend too much time filling out forms.

To increase the likelihood of collecting visitor’s information and connecting with them in the future, keep it simple – ask for their name, company, and e-mail address.


Step 3: Post on Social Media

As of 2018, there are over 3 billion active social media users worldwide – that’s nearly 40% of the global population. With such a large, easily accessible pool of potential leads, you would be remiss to not include social media in your white paper’s content marketing strategy.

Social media marketing is vastly important in gaining visibility and driving traffic to your website. When it comes to white papers, 90% of marketers claim that white paper social media marketing has generated immense exposure for their company [i]. By posting engaging, informative content on social media, businesses are more likely to see click-throughs to their website. This increased visibility leads to greater leads generated and conversions – over 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media usage [ii].

The best approach to not only promote downloads of your white paper, but to attract attention to your business as a whole is through the adoption of social media into your content marketing strategy.


To learn more about how white papers can transform your content marketing strategy click here.

How to Develop New Business and Break Into New Industry Sectors (Quadrant 4)

develop new business

“How to Develop New Business and Break Into New Industry Sectors” is part of our “Four Quadrants for High Growth Quick Start Guide”.  To access the full series click here

Quadrant 4: Develop New Business Outside your Industry


Overall Goal: Find a new customer type for each new product every two years, thereby increasing sales by product by another 10%-20% every two years.

As may have been apparent by now, the first three quadrants are very similar to each other. Quadrants 1 and 2 are particularly similar to each other since they consist of your existing customers. Quadrant 3 should also be similar since, at least in theory, it is from the same industry as your existing customers.

Quadrant 4, however, is different. It consists of non-customers from different industry sectors than those to whom you normally sell your products and services. It is actually an exercise in new business development.

The right approach to developing Quadrant 4 is to follow Geoffrey Moore’s advice in Crossing the Chasm and first establish a beachhead.  Assemble a team of your best people to go after a few selected accounts that will make key wins for you within the new industry, enabling you to establish credibility early on. Your team members should be highly entrepreneurial and have a very strong “whatever it takes’’ attitude to winning these new customer types in an industry that no one in your company is familiar with.

In Quadrant 4, what you are really trying to do is to sell a product you first developed for a different market segment, with some modification and customization. You have some idea of what that customization might look like, but in truth you don’t really know until you get you are working hard to get your first sale in that segment. This is more like a custom project, which is why you need the team to be highly entrepreneurial, capable of building something from the ground up and finding a solution for a problem that you have never really addressed before.

Below you will find a Best Practices checklist for optimizing high growth within Quadrant 4 for Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Innovation.


Marketing Checklist


Identify other market segments similar enough to your current market segment so as to be able to leverage many of the capabilities you already have.

  • Setup a Market Strategy team that explores applications of your current products to solve problems outside your current market.
  • Build a disciplined market segment analysis approach to identify the best opportunities

Sales Checklist


Find the early adopters and key accounts in the new market segment

  • Setup a New Business Development unit charged with finding the right entry points within the selected potential growth area.
  • Define the compensation plan for rewarding success.

Customer Support Checklist


Do everything necessary to create highly satisfied and referenceable customers.


Set up a “Special Accounts” team whose priority is to do whatever it takes to make these early adopters highly successful with your products.

Innovation Checklist


Make it easy to custom fit your products to new market needs within 90 days.

  • Create a platform for your products that enable you to customize and support various versions of your products.
  • Rapidly complete Proof of Concept (POC) projects.
  • Rapidly convert approved POC into stable products.

Increase Your Customer Base with 4 Handy Checklists (Quadrant 3)

“Increase Your Customer Base with 4 Handy Checklists” is part of our “Four Quadrants for High Growth Quick Start Guide”.  To access the full series click here

Quadrant 3: Increase Customer Base

soma-quadrant3Overall Goal: Increase the number of your customers by 15%-20% per year

Quadrant 3 Sales is what most companies think of when they talk about revenue growth—increasing your customer base numbers. In fact many of the companies we work with focus so much time, effort, and money on Quadrant 3 that they neglect working Quadrants 1 and  2.

At the same time, most of these companies do not use the most critical strategy for farming in Quadrant 3: Four Funnel Framework. This is the most important strategy for winning new customers because it ensures tight integration of Sales and Marketing efforts. We will discuss the Four Funnels Framework in more detail in the next section.

Below you will find a Best Practices checklist for optimizing high growth within Quadrant 3 for Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Innovation.

Marketing Checklist


Deliver the necessary number of Marketing Qualified Leads.

  • Define the marketing content (assets) necessary to drive prospects through the various levels of interest: awareness, understanding, acceptance, preference, and conviction. The marketing assets must deliver the first three stages to generate Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
  • Build the automation that scores the activities of very early prospects and provides them with more marketing assets until they score high enough to be MQLs ready for handoff to the Tele-prospecting team

Sales Checklist


Increase the number of customers by 15-20% per year.

  • Define the qualification criteria that makes a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).
  • Develop the qualification and SQL acceptance process and build it into the Sales Operations and Sales Automation system.
  • Automate the handoff and notification process so that Sales immediately follows up on SQLs.
  • Build the right compensation plan that rewards progress through the Sales Cycle so that deals do not get stalled in the middle.
  • Build the right comp plan that rewards hunters for getting even small deals in key accounts that have significant upside potential.

Customer Support Checklist


Convert new customers to happy and fully satisfied ones within the first 2-3 weeks.

  • Design the new customer onboarding process to be as quick and as painless as possible.
  • Develop a scorecard that identifies the components of onboarding a new customer and rates the new customer onboarding team along each component.
  • Map the components of the scorecard into the customer support system and processes so that agents can do their work with a high level of efficiency and accuracy.

Innovation Checklist


Make your products easy to learn, use, and support so as to free up scarce resources for new product.


Review your current products and determine what can be done to centralize, standardize, componentize, and optimize to make them easy to sell, support, and use.

How to Sell New Products to Existing Customers (Quadrant 2)

existing customers

“How to Sell New Products to Existing Customers” is part of our “Four Quadrants for High Growth Quick Start Guide”.  To access the full series click here

Quadrant 2: Introduce new products

soma-quadrant2Overall Goal

Increase the number of products that each customer uses by 15-20% each year.

Quadrant 2 is all about selling other products and services you offer that your customers have not yet purchased. The most important of these are Upgrades, Add-ons; and Bundles or Packages. Quadrant 2 offers some highly attractive growth opportunities for a company that is set up to take advantage of it.

Below you will find a Best Practices checklist for optimizing high growth within Quadrant 2 for Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Innovation.

Marketing Checklist


Continually market to existing customers about how the value of their existing products increase significantly when used with another product that you sell, but that they don’t currently use.

  • Have an accurate database of which customer has which products installed.
  • Build an automated marketing that works on the logic, “If a customer has product A, then use Campaign X. If a customer has products A and B, then use campaign Y”, and so on.

Sales Checklist


Build an effective account management team that is very good at selling new products to existing customers with the goal of increasing revenue per customer.

  • Set up an account management system that uses the marketing database to call on customers to cross-sell and upgrade them to higher tier products.
  • Build your compensation plan to reward such account penetration.

Customer Support Checklist


Make customers highly successful at using your new products within 30 days of acquiring these.

  • Build a library of training material and resources to enable customers to self-train to use new products.
  • Build scalable support infrastructure such as chat and self-help portals to provide quality customer support with less impact on the Support organization.

Innovation Checklist


Introduce new products and services on a regular schedule—at least every 2-3 years.

  • Set up a Product strategy team that continually reviews the product pipeline and prioritizes new projects.
  • Set up agile development practices to enable rapid and iterative releases of products so as to enable quick changes based on shifts in customer priorities and preferences.
  • Set up Product Management to translate big initiatives that come from Product Strategy into clearly defined tasks that are implemented through the agile development process.

How to Sell More to Existing Customers (Quadrant 1)

This article is part of our “Four Quadrants for High Growth Quick Start Guide”.  Click here to access the full series.

Quadrant 1 Goal: Increase Usage from Existing Customers

Overall Goal: Increase usage of existing customers by an average of 5-10% over the previous year.


Quadrant 1 consists of existing customers who already buy a particular product. The goal here is to get these customers to order more of what they are already buying. If you sell software licenses, can you get them to subscribe to more licenses? If they buy boxes of widgets, can you get them to order more boxes?

Whatever product a company sells, the goal is to increase their consumption of that product by a targeted amount. If you are selling software licenses, can you increase the average license purchase per customer by ‘x’ amount? If your customer orders 100 boxes of widgets a year from you, can you increase that to 110 boxes? And how do you do that?

This is a low-touch sales environment. You want to simplify and standardize your operations so you can automate as much as you can. You want it to resemble a self-help portal where you let customers order what they want, when they want. The key is to continually market to them to drive them to do just that.

Below you will find some important tips on optimizing sales and marketing in this quadrant.

Marketing Optimization


The goal here is to automate all marketing to continually touch existing customers and give them new reasons to buy more of the products they are already using.

  • Continually come up with new ways to use your existing products that your customers are not currently doing.
  • Constantly update customers about new features that make things easier, faster for the customer
  • Give additional promotional incentive to increase usage–price savings on additional purchases, discounts on other products, etc.
  • Make certain premium services free for purchasing higher volumes
  • Send at least one promotional email campaign each month to make sure you stay front-of-mind

Sales Optimization


Increase Sales of existing products to existing customers

Ideally, Quadrant 1 sales can be completed without the help or involvement of a sales rep.

  • Make it very simple for customers to order more.
  • Automate price quotes, contracts, and ordering.
  • Make it simple to fulfill the order immediately.
  • Automate workflows to send orders to fulfillment as soon as contracts are signed.

A Quick Start Guide to the Four Quadrants Model of High Growth

Four Quadrants

The Four Quadrants of High Growth

The Four Quadrants of High Growth is a highly effective sales strategy that enables B2B companies to optimally deploy their limited marketing and sales resources to maximize revenues. The model divides a company’s total addressable market—first vertically into two halves of customers and non-customers, and then by product into existing products and new ones.

Unlike other segmentation strategies that mostly focus on non-customers and can be difficult to implement, the Four Quadrants system ensures that Sellers look at the entire potential market for growth–including their existing customers, and new markets that they can enter.

We discuss each of these highly targeted strategies in the sections below:

  1. Quadrant 1: Increase usage
  2. Quadrant 2: Introduce new products
  3. Quadrant 3: Increase customer base
  4. Quadrant 4: Find new lines of business

Four Quadrants

The end result is four quadrants representing different levels of risks and relationships:

  • Quadrant 1: Selling existing products to existing customers. Here we are selling more of the products that our customers are already buying from us.
  • Quadrant 2: Selling new products to existing customers. Here we are launching new products within our existing customer base.
  • Quadrant 3: Selling existing products to new customers. Here, we are selling our standard products to non-customers.
  • Quadrant 4: Selling new products to new customers. This is the same as entering a new market.

Quadrant 1 has the lowest perceived risk from the buyer’s perspective, followed by Quadrant 2, 3, and lastly 4. What we need to do in terms of marketing and selling is also quite different from one quadrant to the next.

In Quadrant 1, the seller hardly needs to educate customers on the company or product since they are already very familiar with both. At the other extreme is Quadrant 4. This is a totally different market from the one(s) to which the seller has traditionally sold, and the likelihood that Quadrant 4 buyers have adequate familiarity the company or its products is quite low.

Therefore, using the same approach for all quadrants will not work—marketing and sales efforts will likely be overkill in Quadrants 1 and 2 while insufficient in Quadrants 3 and 4.

By segmenting our total addressable market into four quadrants and optimizing our messaging, offerings, and resources for each, we are more likely to maximize revenues at the lowest costs possible, thereby maximizing our net income.

The Four Quadrants approach is one of the foundational strategies of the Predictable Revenue Model; it’s designed to position a company to achieve a consistent High Growth rate.

Strategy Matters

Companies that out-perform their competitors do so primarily because they execute a defined strategy. They don’t try to go after everyone with the same message, product, or offering. They segment — then tailor everything they do to fit that segment.

Segmentation makes it easier to isolate the right opportunities for a given company and highlights the right strategies to win those opportunities. Because you have the right message and the right offering for the right customer, you can shorten your sales cycles and increase your closing ratios. Effective B2B marketing naturally leads to effective B2B selling.

This is the essence of strategy – focusing limited resources on the best opportunities in the most optimal way to maximize results.

The Four Quadrants approach makes the segmentation process more intuitive. It also makes execution simpler and more full-proof.

Each Quadrant is Different

We all know that if we really want to sell our products and services, we have to tailor them to our customers’ preferences. What we tend to forget is that this is just as true regarding how we market and sell our products. We must tailor our sales and marketing according to how customers want to buy.

Marketing/selling to existing customers is totally different from marketing/selling to non-customers. And even for existing customers, the kind of marketing/selling necessary to get them to order more of what they already purchase is different from the strategy that gets them to try new products they haven’t used before. We know this is true from our own direct experience as customers.

Sometimes the right strategy is just to automate and make it simple for customers to order whenever they want. Why slow them down by having them talk to a sales rep?

At other times, there is a great need for consultation before sales can happen. Case studies, demos, and references are all a necessary part of reassuring a skeptical buyer that she won’t regret her purchase. And while the high-powered consultative sales rep is essential with a new customer buying for the first time, he would be expensive overkill for a simple reorder of a product a customer has purchased dozens of times before.

The essence of Four Quadrant selling is matching a company’s limited resources to the type of selling opportunities a company has and doing this as an everyday process – increasing sales, while keeping the costs of selling low.

  • Quadrant 1 is about customers who buy a given product. Your goal is simple — get them to buy more of what they are already buying. How do you get them to do that?
  • Once you have maximized your revenue from Quadrant 1, the only way you can get more business from existing customers is to get them to buy some of the other products you sell. That is how you get growth in Quadrant 2. What is the best way for you to do that?
  • As mentioned above, there is only so much you can sell to existing customers. And sooner or later, for one reason or another, you are going to lose some customers. You must acquire new customers not only to continue to grow but also to replace those you lose. That’s what growth in Quadrant 3 What is the best way to achieve this?
  • And if you are very successful and grow fast, you will eventually saturate a given market segment and can’t sell more there. We will need to find a new market segment where you can continue to expand, which is what Quadrant 4 is about. How do you do that?

When you look at it this way, it is apparent that your sales and marketing strategies in each quadrant need to be sufficiently different.

However, it is not just the strategies that need to be different. Systems, processes, assets, and people you use in each quadrant also need to be optimized for that quadrant to achieve the best result in that quadrant. Just as you look for a specialist when you want to see an eye or heart doctor, you also need specialists if you need to grow each sector on a consistent basis. You need people who are experts in each quadrant.

End Goal–Predictable Revenue Growth

If you have one-size-fits-all marketing and sales strategy, you will see mixed results. You want reliable, predictable revenue growth. That is why you have to optimize sales and marketing for each Quadrant.

We discuss these highly targeted strategies in the sections below:

  1. Quadrant 1: Increase usage
  2. Quadrant 2: Introduce new products
  3. Quadrant 3: Increase customer base
  4. Quadrant 4: Find new lines of business

Why the Four Funnels Framework is Your Key to Predictable Revenue

The Four Funnels Framework is a systematic methodology for generating high-quality B2B leads that deliver predictable revenue. This framework helps to overcome the “missing link” that sometimes develops between a company’s marketing and sales functions. Businesses can bridge this gap by implementing the following four funnels.

Four Funnels Framework

Funnel 1: Build Awareness

In order to sell to buyers, companies must first build awareness with their target market. The constant noise and crowding of increased market flooding creates buyers who are habituated to tuning out. Due to this, it takes nearly 16 distinct touches to sway prospective buyers to purchase; and this number only continues to rise.

Regardless of this tune out, businesses must still sell. To do so, they must first generate attention from prospective buyers. Buyers cannot purchase what they do not know exists. The most effective way to generate attention is by generating and publishing genuine marketing content. B2B sellers need to display knowledge of the pains and problems faced by their targeted buyers. Only when buyers feel that sellers understand their troubles will they consider entering into a purchasing transaction.

The goal of Funnel 1 is to drive a high number of the target buyers to where they can find out more and deepen the engagement with the seller.

Funnel 2: Build Trust

B2B buyers have little to no care about sellers’ particular products and services. Their primary concern is how to identify and address the problems they face in their companies and industries. To capture potential clients, B2B sellers must demonstrate care and understanding by freely providing the information required by prospects to solve their concerns and complications.

While such actions may appear to be giving away something for little to no return, providing this information establishes trust in the vendor. Trust generates quality leads that are more likely to transition into loyal clients.

The goal of the second funnel in the Four Funnels Framework is to feed the pipeline for Funnel 3—where Business Development Reps (BDRs) call those that have shown marketing engagement, qualify these, and pass on to Sales.

Funnel 3: Qualify

Until this point, seller engagement with buyers has primarily occurred electronically through the sellers’ websites, social media, and email campaigns. Now that contact information has been exchanged, it is time to qualify the potential buyer to determine if they are ready for engagement with Sales.

The object of this third funnel is to create a sales pipeline for the fourth funnel. In order to achieve this, sellers must ensure that the first point of in-person contact is done a professional, senior-level staff.

Many sellers have the mistaken notion that this is “telemarketing” and believe this is an entry-level job. Nothing can be further from the truth.

The task here is to interrupt a busy senior level buyer and in a matter of 20 seconds intrigue her enough to agree to a longer call or meeting at a later time. Most of the time, this requires not only knowledge of the subject matter and industry of the prospective buyer, but also an ability to know when to push and not, when to chat and when to get down to the point, all in a matter of seconds and over the phone. This is a task for an experienced Business Development Rep (BDR).

If the buyer agrees to talk for a bit, the BDR’s job is to make sure this buyer is qualified and then set an appointment with a sales rep as soon as possible.

A predictable revenue stream depends on two qualities of the Sales Pipeline:

  1. High Quality leads that close at a higher rate and close faster
  2. Sufficient number of HQLs to meet the company’s new revenue targets

Funnel 3 is responsible for achieving these objectives.

Funnel 4: Engage

With BDRs focusing on keeping the sales team’s pipeline full, sales reps can now focus on their primary role— deeply understanding the buyer’s world and building a partnership in solving the buyer’s issues, leading towards a successful close of the opportunity.

This is the primary function of salespeople—to work closely with motivated potential buyers and place their full attention on solving the issues of the buyer. Holding them responsible for both Funnels 3 and 4, while it may seem reasonable, is actually counterproductive.

In fact, a survey of sales professionals by Sales Insights showed that they spend over 26% of their time on average trying to generate a qualified lead. This is clearly a demanding task and takes a great deal of time away from a sales rep primary role.

Once a healthy sales pipeline and a quality sales lead has been established, the sales team can focus on continuing to qualify prospects while integrating them into the buying cycle.


The Four Funnels Framework provides a methodology for consistently achieving predictable revenues by generating High Quality Leads through a process that integrates marketing, prospecting, and sales. This integration removes duplication and waste, significantly lowering the total cost new customer acquisition.