We asked 100's of EO companies what they see as their biggest challenges to growth are in 2020. Here is how they answered. The first 4 are what ALL respondents said, the second 4 are what HIGH GROWTH companies (growing over 20% YOY) wrote.
A large portion of survey respondents (22%) are worried about finding the right people. They report having a hard time growing teams to include high-quality employees and ensuring that new hires receive the training required to get up to speed quickly. Some expressed frustration with the lack of qualified candidates, and others noted a lack of budget to meet hiring needs.
Marketing challenges were reported by roughly 12% of survey participants. Effectively scaling marketing dollars and figuring out where to allocate resources is an initiative on the minds of companies in 2020. These firms plan to better define target markets and messages in order to determine the best strategies to get — and keep — customers’ attention. Mastering online marketing and growth outside existing markets are also top priorities.
One in 10 companies reported challenges with lead generation and customer acquisition. Challenges include everything from setting up enough new prospect meetings to figuring out how to generate leads online. Firms are also concerned about developing strategies for scaling lead generation and finding the most impactful strategies to help customers find their services.
About one in 10 survey respondents reported worry about greater competition in the market. Lower-cost competitors, working in markets with entrenched incumbents and emerging online competitors are a few of the challenges reported. Companies are also challenged by market saturation and the need to break into new markets.
The survey isolated the responses of “high-growth firms,” which it defined as companies with at least 20% year-over-year revenue growth.
Nearly one-third of survey participants reported hiring and human resources as a challenge for 2020. These companies are worried not only about finding people but also about finding qualified and well-trained individuals to fill roles. They also note that training is a consideration, and they need to “train fast” once they find the right person.
The No. 2 challenge for high-growth companies in 2020 is reported as generating leads and securing new business. High-growth firms reported they need to have more meetings with prospects in order to figure out how to develop leads in the digital domain. They also want to fine-tune strategies for closing more of those leads.
High-growth firms are feeling pressure from current and emerging competitors in the marketplace. One in 10 survey respondents reported this is a top challenge for 2020. Firms report feeling “increased and fierce competition” and saturation in their existing markets.
Marketing is a major challenge that high-growth firms say they need to overcome in 2020. About 10% of participants reported having difficulty in this area. They plan to get better at using “limited internal resources for sales and marketing,” improving their marketing efficiency and effectively scaling their marketing dollars.