Tag Archives: market cultivation

Case Study: Cracking the Execution Code at Compusearch Software Systems

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Compusearch  (now Unison) was a visionary company with visionary goals. But, as often happens with visionary companies, focus on a long-term strategy to revolutionize a market can mean that near-term execution and operationalization can suffer, creating barriers to growth.

In Compusearch’s case, the company had set out to transform how federal government agencies procure and contract for goods and services.

From its founding in 1983, the company used state-of-the-art software design and development to provide solutions that streamlined and automated key steps in government procurement, purchasing, and contract management.

In 2005, the company arrived at a strategic decision point. The company’s team of owner-operators decided to sell the company and retire. The new owner, private equity firm The Carlyle Group (Carlyle), saw immense potential in the company and its pedigree of quality innovation. 

But Carlyle also saw that the change in ownership was an ideal time to assess how the organization operated and to upgrade to more effective strategy execution and operations maturity. Maturing operations turned out to be essential to achieving the goal to double revenue and increase margins to realize a 4X return on invested capital within five years.

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How to decide who to sell to next.

An organization needs customers to serve.  Without customers the organization has no reason to exist.  The ideal customer:

  • Has the problem the organization solves.  There is no point selling a solution for which the prospect has no need.  If a prospect does not need the solution, organization leaders might be tempted to solve a problem other than the one which the organization offers. The organization can do this but it essentially means building yet another organization which drains resources from core activities while adding risk and complexity.
  • Finds the problem strategic to solve.  Every prospective customer has many problems.  No customer solves all of its problems at the same time.  Instead, either explicitly or implicitly, they determine which of all their problems are most important to solve and allocate resources to solving them.  Successful organizations sell their solution to prospects for whom it is strategic to solve the problem it addresses.