Strategic Guardrails

Where we drive it home.

Strategic Guardrails is Pennebaker’s intense, two-day process in which senior management—by this we mean every potential decision-maker in a position to derail any well-laid plans moving forward—is forced to view the company’s business from their customers’ perspective.

How does it work?

We identify opportunities and differentiators. We dive deeply into psychological drivers that influence buying decisions. We conduct a comprehensive market analysis that includes:

  • Target market segmentation
  • Customer, decision-maker and influencer profiles by segment
  • The competitive landscape
  • Products and services offered, and the 80/20 rule
  • Competitor brand, products and services
  • Points of differentiation
  • Channels of distribution
  • Desired brand personality
  • Opportunities to increase efficiency of the sales process

The deliverable: An executive-level presentation that codifies the results and outlines a go-forward strategy.

Guardrails Image 1

Total brand consciousness. That’s pretty cool.

At the end of this sometimes cathartic but always illuminating process, our clients have a confident framework for their brand, a strategic blueprint for business and marketing efforts. How they should be selling. Who they should be selling to. And who they should not be selling to—yes, Virginia, there are customers you don’t want.

The feedback we get from our clients, and we get this a lot, is “Strategic Guardrails is the most valuable thing I’ve ever done for my business.” We hear this not because we’re necessarily that brilliant.1 But because we’ve done for them what no other consultancy has done: challenged them to examine their most cherished assumptions.

“The feedback we get from our clients, and we get this a lot, is 'Strategic Guardrails is the most valuable thing I’ve ever done for my business.' We hear this not because we’re necessarily that brilliant, but because we’ve done for them what no other consultancy has done: challenged them to examine their most cherished assumptions.”

— Ward Pennebaker

Guardrails Image 2

Avoid Hell. That’s a tip you can take to the bank.

For example, we were recently working with a benefits company. Their sales model involved pitching on spec—a costly, time-intensive process that was successful 15 percent of the time. And that was during a good quarter. Salespeople by nature are crazy optimists. Theirs were no different, which meant the company wasted a lot of time on business it could never close.

We helped them identify their ideal customer (a customer from Heaven) and what those customers were looking for. Next, we helped them redefine their brand in a way that would appeal to this group. We also showed them that just because a customer is breathing, doesn’t necessarily make them a good prospect. We got our client to stop wasting time on dead ends (customers from Hell) and thereby repositioned the client as “a SWAT team for companies in crisis.”

One year later, the company had exploded in growth and had yet to lose a pitch.

Related Blog Posts