Speakers: Jeff Ray | Greg Alexander, SBI

Jeff Ray CEO Podcast


Today’s topic is how to evolve your strategy to stay ahead of the market. Joining us today is Jeff Ray, the Chief Executive Officer for Ellucian.  A worldwide leader, Ellucian provides software and services to the higher education market. 18 million students around the world are touched by the software tools each day. 


Strategic time horizons are changing.  5 year strategies are getting compressed to 3 year strategies and 3 year strategies are getting converted to 1 year operating plans with quarterly agile iterations.  This time compression requires the CEO, and his executive leadership team, to build the capabilities associated with strategy evolution.


Listen as Jeff and Greg discuss how revenue growth, return on invested capital, and cash flow linked.  Jeff describes Ellucian’s advantage of a vertical market focus and the benefits to allocating resources.


It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. Leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access a revenue growth methodology to hit your number quarter after quarter, and year after year.


Jeff guides his company to focus on the purpose of the company instead of the product.  The purpose of Ellucian is student success.  You avoid falling in love with your product and better understand how to drive revenue, short-term and long-term.


During the interview, Jeff answers these questions:


  • Is all growth equal, or do different types of growth earn different returns on capital?
  • If you had to classify the drivers of growth into the three categories how would you do so?
    • Market expansion- high water raises all ships meaning overall expansion in the market is the primary driver of growth.
    • Market exposure- growth will come to you by exposing your company to new growth markets you previously were not in.
    • Market share performance- you are in a mature market and growth will come by taking share from competitors.
  • In your business, how are revenue growth, return on invested capital, and cash flow linked?
  • How did you connect the capital efficiency of the sales and marketing team, typically expressed in the ratio of customer life time value-to-customer acquisition cost, to total shareholder value?
  • Which investments create the most value for shareholders over the course of your strategic time horizon- investments in products, services, marketing, or sales? How come?


Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you can make your number? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if:

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job




Greg Alexander

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by getting the product team, the marketing department, and the sales organization into strategic alignment.

Greg is the host of The SBI Podcast, the most listened to sales and marketing podcast on the internet.


He is the host of SBI TV, a monthly television program broadcast on the internet featuring top B2B sales and marketing leader sharing their strategies to grow revenues.


Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of The SBI Magazine, the leading B2B publication focused on sales and marketing effectiveness.


He is the author of two critically acclaimed books Topgrading for Sales and Making the Number.


Greg has authored over 100 articles on SBI’s award winning blog, The SBI Blog.


He graduated from The University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English and received his MBA from Georgia Tech.




Transforming the Sales Organization inside Fortune 500 Companies

Greg Alexander and John Gleason, Chief Sales Officer of Ryder, talk about the unique challenges of transforming a sales team inside of very large enterprises.


A Better Way to Structure Your Sales Force

Greg Alexander and Tony Capucille, Chief Sales Officer at Heartland Payment Systems, discuss the pros and cons of the 7 B2B sales organizational models.


Build a team of A Players Inside the Sales Organization

Greg Alexander and Todd Cione, Chief Revenue Officer at Rackspace, talk about hiring, onboarding, and developing exceptional sales talent.




Fill Every Role on Your Team with an A Player

In this article, Greg Alexander makes the case for applying the TopGrading methodology to the sales team, and outlines how to do so.


What CEOs Need to Know About Their Marketing Strategies

In this article, Greg Alexander and Rashid Skaf, CEO of AMX, discuss the role the CEO plays in crafting a company’s marketing strategy.


What CEOs are Looking for in a Sales Leader

In this article, Greg Alexander and George Norton, leader of Heidrick & Struggles Chief Sales Officer practice, discuss what CEOs need in the chief sales officer role.

Read full bio >