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Strategic Planning for Growth – Know What Decision Makers Want

At Sound Press, we sure get a lot of projects brought our way. Some are brought by CEOs and Presidents, but a lot of projects are brought by Commercial Officers, CMOs, COOs, Marketing Directors, Sales Directors, Sales Staff, and front line team members. But what projects get the green light? What projects get funded?

Well, that answer goes back to another two questions. Who is or who are the Decision Makers, and what do they want?

This is geared towards people that have projects and ideas to engage with us, that can grow the company in some regard. We do often end up collaborating with our clients to get the green light from the company.

There absolutely can be the “selling” of a project to company leadership and even boards. But it sure is important to know who the decision-makers are. At Sound Press, we really try to understand and know who those people are, because it can be absolutely frustrating to build a plan, show the efficacy and the financial model for success, and then have it shot down by someone who is the decision maker that was not involved in the process.

The first main piece of advice is to work with the decision-maker whenever possible. At Sound Press, we rarely go too far without some level of engagement with a decision-maker, and that is purposeful. We cannot build something in a barn away from the eyes of a decision maker, who then might swoop in and offer an option that is a yea or nay decision. That’s not fair to the hard-working people who deliver the product, nor is it fair to the company as a matter of financial investment to not have the decision maker involved in something worth spending money on.

The second main piece of advice is to know what the decision-makers want. Some decision-makers are 100% budget driven. And this better be followed. When getting funding for a project, the last thing you want is to “go back to the well” asking for more funding for some scope creep. It can happen, but often those ideas are simply saved for a later time.

So find out who the decision-makers are, find out what they want, stick to the budget as best as possible, and engage with the decision-makers as is appropriate at various stages along the way. Avoid surprises or changes in direction with good communication and feedback. We all want to sleep well at night and reduce stress, so try to eliminate the unknowns and keep a project or initiative successfully on track out of the gate.

What Manufacturers Are Doing Right

Planning For the Future

Manufacturing companies are amazing! Think of all the products we all use and enjoy. Even the design and engineering of products is incredible to actually study. In recently watching a documentary about Spaulding inventing the ball for the sport of basketball, it was interesting to see all the risk and reward and trial and error that went into getting that right, even down to creating the stippling on the leather ball so it wouldn’t be slippery. The documentary went on to talk about Rawlings and the baseball glove, Gillette and Schick with the razors. Progress with manufacturers doesn’t always happen quickly, but nothing is going to happen if the future is not planned for.

Automotive and Heavy Duty aftermarket and OEM manufacturers must plan for the future. Just like this blog article is not being written on a typewriter, so as times change, manufacturers need to be looking ahead at what’s coming next. There are a few aspects of planning for the future to cover but this article will focus on Products and Market Conditions.

Products – business folks might remember the old Boston Consulting four box grid with these four quadrants:

In the automotive aftermarket, knowing what the plan is for products and markets is paramount for success. It would be pedantic to belabor this point, but, please don’t make stuff that people don’t need or want anymore. Understand where your products fit in the current needs and trends. Know where you fall price to quality wise in the market. If you see a new market coming forth, such as alternative fuel vehicles, look ahead to what may be needed.

Market Conditions – In the aforementioned documentary, they showed how the Proctor and Gamble folks were a candle manufacturing company before they switched to soap, and rather discovered how to make a soap that floated. A lot of societal conditions were coming together for more hygiene focus, and their timing was perfect. Automotive and Heavy Duty aftermarket and original equipment manufacturers have this same challenge of knowing what the market is demanding now, and what the market will demand in the future. Take a look at the true vehicle stats, VIO Vehicles in Operation, the rise of EV and alternative fuel vehicles, but look at the true numbers because there can be a lot of noise in EV as infrastructure to support new EV vehicles is still being developed. Autocare is a great source for that information.

Plan for the future by not resting on your laurels with product wins, study the marketplace, use that still-true products and markets grid, get the right forecasting data to know where to innovate and produce, and make your growth pathway sound and strong.

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Buy Wise Auto Parts - A Case Study in Automotive B2B Ecommerce

For nearly 80 years, Buy Wise Auto Parts has been one of the most trusted wholesale retailers in the automotive parts and products industry in northern New Jersey, serving Service Stations, Auto Repair Centers, and Garages with both domestic and import vehicle parts.

The Buy Wise team approached Sound Press with an interest in our Hometab B2B eCommerce website offering. In addition to specials and promo content advertising, the Buy Wise team needed a way to display items such as their Line Card and info on upcoming training events. The Sound Press Hometab solution was the perfect fit to help market their products to their customers inside of WHI’s Nexpart/CONNECTION portal.

The Buy Wise Hometab eCommerce website was built on Sound Press proprietary technology that offers various ways to display specials and promos and utilizes our click-to-buy functionality that allows users to add products directly to the Hometab cart during their shopping experience on the website. A Sound Press’ Hometab website is fully integrated into Nexpart/CONNECTION for easy access to parts lookup and stock check.

Sound Press was on a tight deadline to launch the Hometab site in under 3 weeks to be able to showcase the new site at a customer expo the Buy Wise team was hosting. Sound Press worked closely with the Buy Wise team to gather the content needed to be able to launch the site in time and were able to hit the deadline.

The Samuels team is already seeing an influx of customers utilizing the Hometab eCommerce website and plans to add more click-to-buy products in future months to allow their users to make quick and easy sales online.

“We are so impressed with the job that Sound Press and our contact Joe Carella have done for us! Not only was an initial demo performed, but our questions were fully answered without being rushed! From contract acceptance to finished product! All was done in a timeframe that even we felt was going to take some doing, but Joe and his team over-delivered and made a real believer in us! Great communication, great follow-up, and most of all, a great product! Thank You Sound Press!”
Ron Dahlhaus – General Manager – Samuels Inc./Buy Wise Auto Parts

Did You Know?

Sound Press will be at AAPEX 2023 in Las Vegas!

Sound Press is thankful to partner with WHI/eBay at AAPEX 2023 (booth #A2857), October 31 – November 2 in Las Vegas! Schedule time to come chat with us about Automotive e-commerce, B2B, B2C, marketing, and sales growth strategies, or just stop by and say hi, we’d love to see you.

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