May 21st, 2014 by Sarah Sluis

B2B companies are highly confident about their ability to grow, according to an inaugural research report from Sirius Decisions. The consultancy polled a global audience working in product management, sales, or marketing, and they were excited about their company’s ability to grow. 90 percent of B2B companies expect to grow this year. 88 percent feel the industries they sell Sales funnelto are growing. That means they’re more optimistic about their industries than the economy as a whole. 77 percent were optimistic about the overall economic forecast.

B2B companies, which included respondents from around the globe, identified three areas of growth in their businesses: energy, tech, and China. Sixty percent of companies expect to grow 20 percent or more. Just a few percent but their companies in the “flat” or “contract” category, which roughly three in ten companies expect growth between one to 10 percent.

Larger companies were more likely to identify acquisitions as a way to grow. Fourteen percent of companies over $500 million expected to grow this way, compared to eight percent among companies with revenues less than $500 million. Productivity was mentioned by 17 percent of smaller companies and 15 percent of larger companies as a way they expected to grow.

Most organizations identified “implement new skills training” or “implement new systems” as a way to improve productivity, but Sirius Decisions’ report noted the consultancy viewed that as a critical error. In fact, aligning related functions in order to improve productivity and looking at change management, which respondents ranked last, were the areas that Sirius Decisions believes companies need to focus on. When sales, marketing, and product teams align their goals, companies succeed, according to Sirius Decisions.

In the case of finding new buyers, for example, Sirius Decisions believes the two key challenges are getting in front of new buyer groups and having the right messaging once you get in the room. That means the sales, marketing, and product teams all need to know what to do in order to solve those problems. Sales might need to focus on conversation guides, marketing on buyer analytics, and the product team on competitive intelligence.

Frankly, I’m surprised with the level of optimism expressed by these companies, but I agree that it’s good news. Being able to envision growth of 20 percent, 50 percent, or more is great news. Indeed, for certain small tech companies, doubling revenue every year might even be considered conservative growth. According to Forrester, B2B sales has grown to over $550 billion of the US economy, and this survey went far beyond that, surveying twenty-five industries from the US, Europe, and the Asia/Pacific region. Maybe this company optimism is a bellwether for even greater things going on in the global economy.

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