Speakers: Jeff Ray | , 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