AchieveNEXT Mid-Year Sentiment Study 2021


Growth is the #1 strategic priority for middle market and emerging enterprises, cited as such by 54% of the CFOs and CHROs in the AchieveNEXT 2021 Sentiment Study Mid-Year Update. A pair of profitability-oriented priorities were cited by 25% of respondents, with 14% saying that improving gross margins was top priority and 11% citing increasing EBITDA. But for most, growth rules — and they are experiencing it and see more coming.

How will they grow in the 2nd of 2021?

In sync with the 2021 CFO-CHRO Sentiment Report released in late January 2021, the majority of finance and HR leaders say that their enterprises’ 2021 strategies will not be substantially different from those they had in place pre-pandemic. However, the initiatives and tactics used to achieve strategic objectives are changing. Finding the right talent has become the #1 strategic priority for the middle market, far more urgent than anything else. Next in importance comes a one-two punch of initiatives to increase efficiency and investments in sales and marketing talent. As AchieveNEXT Managing Director Ed Wallace wrote in Harvard Business Review , “If ever there was a perfect time to reduce the friction between the CFO and sales leader, it’s now.” The third-order tranche of strategic initiatives comprises M&A, entering new markets, and strengthening financial planning and analysis.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest priority for your enterprise for the balance of 2021, rank the following actions you are undertaking for the remainder of 2021.

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

Expanding into new markets

Upgrading digital capabilities

Improving our leadershi p team

Strengthening enterprise resilience

Investing in new plant and equipment

Identifying inorganic growth opportunities

Improving data analyt ics and financial planning and analysis

Increasing efficiency

Upgrading sales and marketing talent

Addressing talent issues (e.g. engagement,

hiring and retention,

getting back to office, culture, diversity)

1 2 3 4 5 3 Moderate Importance

1 Lowest Importance

2 Low Importance

4 High Importance

5 Highest Importance


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