Last week, guest expert Ron Friedman and I presented a webinar on the BrightTALK Sales Expert Channel, titled Assess, Align and Accelerate – 3 Steps to Power Revenue Growth. You can listen to the on-demand version here. I believe it will be a good use of your time since we covered some proven strategies for boosting revenue. Ron has a terrific record of accomplishment in guiding companies to success so, as the saying goes, he knows of what he speaks.
The first step to power revenue growth is assessment: figuring out your starting point, and giving you a benchmark for planning and measuring future progress. Start by asking five questions about your existing revenue model:
- How did your current marketing and sales strategy evolve? What got you to where you are today and are you doing things out of habit or choice? Inertia is a powerful force and when we’re not given a strong reason to change, we tend to keep doing the same things.
- What is your motivation for keeping the status quo? Be very honest here, because if you do not resist this tendency, it can keep you in a cycle of substandard performance.
- Are your processes hindering progress? We see two major issues here: The first is a lack of documented processes, leading to inconsistency and too many ad-hoc decisions. Second is the issue of complexity, which causes slowdowns and the tendency of personnel to bypass processes altogether. Either is seriously detrimental to performance.
- Can you accurately measure the marketing department’s contribution to revenue? If not, despite all the other great stuff you are doing, you are constantly in danger of budget cuts and perhaps even your continued existence at the company. You need the right technology to do this, preferably a closed-loop system that tracks inquiries from initial lead source through close of the sale and revenue recognition.
- Are there any time bombs at your company? Time bombs are those things that you are doing (or not doing) that if not addressed, can blow up in a way that makes recovery difficult. Here are a few examples:
- Channel partners that are underperforming or leaving you for the competition.
- Technology that can’t support your growth.
- Prohibitive % of S&M costs.
- Weak product strategy.
- Team performance issues.
Where is the Revenue Leakage?
Revenue leakage is a loss of sales revenue due to “preventable” reasons. While there are undoubtedly factors outside your control (environmental, regulatory, competitive, etc.,) here are some areas where you can be leaking revenue due to things you have control over:
- Failure to capture/count inquiries. You need to make it a rock-solid principle that every inquiry gets entered into a marketing automation or CRM system.
- Rep-generated inquiries handled outside the system. It’s great that your sales reps find, qualify and nurture their own leads – even better if they sell them something. What is not great, and not acceptable, is if these leads are handled outside standard operation procedures (SOP).
- Failure to follow-up (FTFU). I’ve seen studies that suggest that as many as one-third to one-half of all B2B inquiries are never followed up and that a large portion of the remainder are contacted two or more days after initial response. Big red flag here! Leads go cold very quickly and the standard is to contact all leads within 24 hours. At the least, send online inquirers an auto-response email immediately to acknowledge their interest.
- Ineffective nurture program. There are many individuals who contact you but are not yet ready to engage in a sales process. Our experience shows that if you set up an effective qualification and nurture program, about half of these not-yet-ready individuals will become ready (and possibly buy) at a later date. Set up a nurture process to capture this valuable resource.
- Complex selling/buying process. Companies spend huge amounts of money trying to attract the right audience, then waste that money by making the buying process more difficult than necessary. It’s a good idea to have every member of your management team go through the end-to-end buying process (starting with initial contact with your company) and do everything they can to simplify the process and eliminate bottlenecks. Better to do this as secret shoppers to experience exactly what your prospects go through.
For more about revenue/sales leakage and other sales productivity tips, read How to Turn Around Failing Sales by James Obermayer, Publisher of the Funnel Media Group, LLC and founder of the Sales Lead Management Association.
I’ll publish future posts on the alignment and acceleration processes for growing revenue. In the meantime, have a listen to our on-demand webinar: Assess, Align and Accelerate – 3 Steps to Power Revenue Growth.