Five Incredibly Exciting Rules for Managing Revenue Risks


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We’ve all endured small talk at networking events. “. . . and last year, when my daughter and I stayed with one of my sorority sisters, she discovered this weird mole on her leg, and . . .” Your fascination maxes out in the first five seconds as your mind wanders to other things, like whether you remembered to close the garage door that morning. Slipping out of such conversations can be a useful skill, especially this time of year. Better if you can do it politely.

Fortunately, there’s a rejoinder tailor-made for truncating dull conversations. Just say “. . . before you launch into that, could I share some ideas I read about managing revenue risks?” The sort of thing you’d say to ditch an encounter on Chat Roulette if your mouse wasn’t working. You will be rewarded: “. . . Hey, I just saw someone who I really need to talk to. . .” Off into the crowd goes your new acquaintance, and her untold dermatological mystery, while you move on to the bar. You can thank me for the idea by sending a Starbucks gift card.

But let’s say, by chance, this individual happens to be a CFO or an enlightened VP of Sales for a fast-growing company who tells you, “Great! That could really help my company’s performance. I’ve got time.” Game on! You will be ready. And you can speak with the same passion and fervor as a TV evangelist, because once you’ve scratched away the dry wrapper, risk management is pretty darn exciting. You’ll want to begin by sharing best practices. But call them something catchier, like five killer risk rules your competitors haven’t yet figured out.

1. Define risk broadly. Don’t just provide a forecasting spreadsheet or draw a sales funnel on the conference room white board, and leave it at that. In fact, there isn’t anything in the breadth of Enterprise Risk Management that couldn’t have an impact on revenue. That includes strategic, financial, operational, compliance, and reputation risks. So if your sales strategy planning doesn’t consider all of these categories, you’ve left something out.

2. Recognize both the opportunities and downsides of risk. Many organizations think of risks as undesirable, as something to reduce or eliminate. But all organizations take on risks, and the most promising sales opportunities often involve heightened risk. The management challenge is to take on ones that align with the company’s overall strategy, and that are not too high for what the company can accept.

3. Develop a culture of identifying and evaluating risk at multiple levels in the company. A tough shift for sales organizations steeped in a can-do culture. While risk identification and evaluation aren’t the same as can’t-do, they are often seen that way: “Don’t tell me how you’re not going to make your number, tell me how you are!” One reason why many business developers rarely see the first warnings of risk. Risk assessment must be performed regularly in every department, but especially throughout Sales and Marketing—from telesales on up—so the most critical ones can be presented to decision makers.

4. Look at the total cost of risk. Risks that come home to roost compromise revenue, and increase marketing expenses for maintaining higher revenue-pipeline multipliers. But there are non-monetary ripple effects as well: lost productivity, distractions, low morale, and in the case of social media, negative publicity.

5. Senior management and business development staff must collaborate. “I don’t know exactly what they do over in Sales to make goal, but somehow, they always manage to pull it off at the end of the year!” The best companies take a different approach, recognizing that Sales is not a black box. By working together and constantly improving connected strategies and tactics throughout the organization, they are more likely to achieve success.

After you’ve shared these scintillating ideas, who knows where the conversation will go! But in case your friend says, “Thanks for the insight! Now, about the mole I was telling you about . . . . . ” maybe you’ll be lucky. If your timing is right, the caroling will begin.

Happy holidays!

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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