Decline or growth in B2B? It’s your choice!

Collaboration – August 27, 2013

Fabrication: le déclin se confirme” (“Manufacturing: the decline is confirmed” in English) is the title of a recent article published in the Montreal-based French language weekly business newspaper Les Affaires. The article bases its conclusion on the latest data from the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ), and mentions that the productivity of the manufacturing sector in Quebec declined from 2009 to 2012, after a growth rate comparable to the rest of Canada and Ontario from 1997 to 2007.

Can this trend be reversed?

To this question, the Quebec Vice President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the response is, “Yes, but…” followed by a list of economic and legal factors. Financial reality is one thing. Entrepreneur reality is more complex. In fact, companies that play the game skillfully do so in business conditions and adapt in consequence. They choose growth and provide themselves with the means to get there. The others suffer and passively wait for outside help.

On this last point I noticed that during conversations with manufacturing companies in Quebec, several of them depend on government assistance before they can move forward. All types of subsidies, loans, coaching, financed by various organizations are often what factors that trigger them to act, rather than their own motivation to grow despite market risks.

Take time to reflect

The manufacturing sector in Quebec is changing. Companies have to adapt. To do so, they need to take a step back and do their homework. Productivity: it’s operational, it’s winning today. Growth: it’s strategic, it’s thinking tomorrow. And to establish a winning strategy, companies need to ask the right questions and answer them honestly. Lastly, they need a plan. Living from hand to mouth is great and the challenges are immediate. But these strategic questions are still present, especially if a company’s growth involves the launch of a new product.

Launch a new product to thrive

In the life of any company, launching new products (or services) is critical. It’s much more than communication. First and foremost, it’s a strategic action. This is why, at the beginning of a new business relationship, the first item in Exo Marketing’s program is called the “state of the situation.” This exercise is the base for the development of strategic planning, which in turn leads to a successful product launch.

This step is essential because it poses several challenges that companies need to overcome so that their project is profitable. According to a recent study conducted by Exo last fall on the best marketing practices in the manufacturing sector (that will be published soon):

  • – 4 respondents out of 10 do not have a formal sales process
  • – 16% do not have a customer relationship management system (CRM)
  • – 74% use trade shows and exhibits to start a sales cycle

These questions, and many others, are an integral part of the situation when a product is launched and whose purpose is to find answers in order to come up with strategic recommendations.

Choose growth

Thus, manufacturers from Quebec can choose either decline or growth. All they need is to take a step back and be properly assisted, with or without government aid. This is all motivated by the desire for a strong return on investment and the willingness to grow.

At Exo, our clients aren’t discouraged by market risks and the competition. They chose to be proactive in a structured manner. This requires time to ask the right questions, get a feel for the situation, do research and formulate a strategic plan that will vehicle the actions to take in view of sustainable company growth.

Manufacturers, growth is your choice. Take action and move forward. We’re here to help.


The manufacturing sector is huge in Quebec. It represents 14.1% of its GDP. By comparison, the sector represents 13.3% in Ontario and 10.9% in all of Canada.

Suggested reading:

5 essential steps to follow for a successful B2B product launch

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