Four steps to thwarting the growth killer: Revenue leakage

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In today’s uber-competitive business environment, every cent counts. The more revenue your business generates, the more your business can grow. However, a growth killer lurks unseen in virtually every business’s sales pipeline: revenue leakage. This unintended and often invisible loss of revenue harms all businesses. Less operating capital means fewer new products developed, limited new business and slower growth.

From inaccurate forecasting, limited selling time for reps and data entry errors, revenue leakage happens to the best of us. Perhaps internal systems aren’t sending alerts about duplicated invoices, resulting in double payment. Maybe a miscommunication led to a customer receiving the same email twice. It’s possible a representative’s contact person left the company and the sales rep is unaware of the move. These mistakes often go unnoticed, leaving thousands, even millions of dollars, on the table.

EY research estimates businesses lose up to 5% of their annual earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) to revenue leakage they never see. So a $100 million company could lose as much as $5 million in annual revenue from fixable, preventable (and costly) errors. In fact, according to BCG data, companies are squandering a shocking $2 trillion because of weaknesses in their go-to-market strategies.

But how do business owners defeat an invisible enemy? The best line of defense is a revenue intelligence solution providing a unified view of your entire sales pipeline. Once you have a clear pipeline view, operationalize the following four steps to remedy your organization’s revenue leakage.

Clean up your data with automation

Everyone makes mistakes, but those mistakes can be costly in the business world. Syncing sales data should be the rule, but many sales reps forget to do it or talk to contacts who aren’t in the CRM at all. Human errors run rife in manual data collection, and even audits may miss these revenue-hemorrhaging mistakes. For example, if your account team overlooks updating a subscription price from $10 to $50 your company bleeds away nearly $500 over a year. It’s one small amount for a multimillion-dollar organization, but these minor errors quickly compound and result in thousands of lost dollars.

To prevent data collection and synchronization errors, business leaders should invest in a tool that seamlessly integrates with existing systems and automatically captures all sales-related data, including customer interactions, sales calls and order processing from internal software like:

  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Email
  • Calendars
  • Quickbooks
  • DocuSign

Automating the data collection creates an accurate, centralized source of truth guaranteed to be free from human error. Automation can detect unsaved contacts and assign them to existing accounts or create new ones to ensure your systems are working with complete data. The cleaner and more comprehensive your data is, the lower the chance of revenue leakage.

Analyze your data with AI

If your plan to locate leaks involves manually combing through aggregated data, expect to be overwhelmed. Sifting through thousands of data entries by hand is inefficient and inaccurate — and because you won’t have context while examining files individually, pinpointing the data leakage source is impossible.

AI analyzes historical and current data to:

  • Generate a big-picture view of all data to help identify pipeline issues.
  • Offer insight into where (and why) you’re losing revenue.
  • Identify patterns and trends in marketing, sales and customer processes to pinpoint what’s working — and what isn’t.

AI can raise alerts when your conversion rate dips below the industry standard or customers are unhappy and about to churn so you can take the necessary actions to mitigate those issues.

Revamp your processes to prevent leaks

Completing your data analysis should find weak points in your processes so you can plug the holes, like implementing organizational process changes that stop leakage before it starts. Revenue leakage can sometimes be a symptom of broader issues within your organization’s operations. By identifying and fixing these issues, you can make more informed decisions that can drive growth and profitability.

For example, if your pipeline leaks because sales reps aren’t sending renewal reminders to existing customers, set up a trigger to prompt your people to reach out. Using a tool that has real-time, contextual notifications will guide your team on the next best action at strategic points in the sales process. Enabling your reps to remember next steps that may otherwise slip through the cracks will help patch your pipeline and recoup revenue.

Measure and maintain your fixed pipeline’s efficacy

Once you’ve implemented the necessary fixes, measure their effectiveness. This step requires tracking your key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the success of the changes and adjust as needed. Using a revenue intelligence tool can boost your conversion rate by 25%. Fixing your leaks increases efficiency throughout your organization — productivity sees a 62% increase, and go-to-market costs decline by 32%.

Using your revenue intelligence tool, compare your pre-fixed pipeline to the post-fixed one to determine if any leaks remain. Run reports to see the effectiveness of your fixes in real-time and as your pipeline evolves. By scheduling regular evaluations to verify that the updates remain effective, you protect your business from future damage and optimize the sales process.

Repairing your pipeline has benefits beyond preserving money. A fixed-up pipeline encourages sales team best practice playbook adoption and illuminates where your sales process still needs adjustments. A solid pipeline also enables accurate sales forecasting so your team can project appropriately. Organizations with accurate forecasting can expect to see year-over-year revenue growth. Further, 97% of organizations with accurate forecasting achieve their quotas versus the 55% of those without.

If revenue leakage kills growth, a patched-up pipeline drives it. Investing in a revenue intelligence tool will drive business expansion by providing an unobscured, holistic look at your sales pipeline so you can identify opportunities for improvements. Stop the growth inhibitor by rectifying your revenue leaks through clean data, AI analysis, process updates and effective maintenance.

Vlad Voskresensky
Vlad Voskresensky is the co-founder and CEO of Revenue Grid, a revenue intelligence platform that helps businesses identify and prevent revenue leaks at any stage of the revenue generation process. Vlad has been driving the product vision and leading the company’s technology direction for over a decade, reinforced with more than 20 years of deep expertise in connecting enterprise (CRM systems) and personal environments.

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