“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Every business wants to grow revenue. At the beginning of the year, most businesses set specific growth goals. (More ideas on setting goals: A New Way To Set Revenue Growth Goals.) However, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says, “A goal without a plan is just a wish!”
You need a revenue growth plan. That plan needs to be more sophisticated than simply saying, “We’re going to hire two more sales reps” or “We’re going to open an office in this city”.
Your revenue growth plan needs to provide detailed answers to two specific questions:
Under each of these questions, you need to detail how your sales and marketing initiatives will work together to achieve these goals. Let’s consider each...
When it comes to revenue growth, how are you setting your goals? What if there were a better way?
With the new year upon us, like most business owners, I’m looking forward to set goals for the next year. If you’re like me, revenue growth is at the top of your business goal list.
Most business owners set goals based on their current revenue number. They take what they did the previous year and add what they think is a reasonable growth percentage.
For example, if you did $10 million in revenue, maybe next year you set the goal of 20% to hit $12 million. That’s great, but where did you get that number? And, more importantly, how are you going to hit it?
I’d like to propose a different way to set your revenue goal. To do this, set aside your total revenue goal for a few minutes. Then, allow me to walk you through an alternative way to think about revenue goals.
Darrell Amy explains the two key revenue scorecard...
While generating net-new business is hard but necessary work for every business, cross-selling current clients into additional products and services may be the fastest way companies can grow. If you are providing great products with responsive service delivered by caring people, why wouldn’t your clients want to buy more from your organization?
The old saying is true: it takes 10X more effort to get a new client than it takes to cross-sell a current client. Even better, happy clients create a basis for referrals, helping feed the net-new side of your growth engine.
Unfortunately, most companies do not fully optimize their cross-selling opportunities in the rush to drive net-new business. As a result, cross-selling current clients creates low hanging fruit. As a consult with companies, many realize that if they simply focused on this half of their Revenue Growth Engine they could double their revenue without adding a single additional client.
All of this centers on creating a...
If you want to grow net-new business, your Revenue Growth Engine needs to be fine-tuned to attract and create new clients. To do this, you need to consider the two types of prospects: buyers who are actively looking and people who are not.
Buyers who are actively looking have felt needs. They have a problem that needs to be solved. You need to make sure that when they look for a solution that they find your company online. Once they find your company, you need to be able to convert that visitor to a sales opportunity. We’ll explore this in the chapter on inbound marketing.
For every buyer that is actively looking for what you sell, there are many who are not actively looking. It doesn’t mean that they couldn’t benefit from the outcomes your products and services deliver. In fact, many of these companies have latent needs, problems that lie below the surface that if solved, would make their lives a lot better. To grow revenue with these buyers you need salespeople...
One touch simply doesn’t cut it in today’s world. Salesforce.com research found that it takes 6-8 touches with a prospect to get an appointment. Sirius Decisions found that it takes 8 to 12 attempts to reach a decision maker by phone, even when they’re interested in your products or solutions. Whatever the number, the point is simple: you must reach out to prospects multiple times if you expect to get results.
Salespeople need both trust and attention. These are earned by consistently reaching out with ideas that prospects see as helpful to achieving their outcomes. As sales reps are seen consistently offering up helpful ideas, trust is earned, appointments happen.
Unfortunately, many sales reps are “one-and-done” when it comes to prospecting. They make a call or send an email hoping to find a hot opportunity. When they don’t get through, then put a note to reach out again in another 90 days.
Today’s sales rep is blessed with many ways to...
Recently the Wall Street Journal reported on the challenges small businesses face hiring talent in today’s tight labor market. This can pose a significant challenge for businesses that want to grow revenue by growing their sales team.
As a former sales manager I understand the importance of growing the sales team to grow revenue. However, what do you do to grow in a tight labor market?
There are two ways to grow revenue:
The math behind this is fun. If you show a modest 15% growth in net-new and 15% growth in the average revenue per client by cross-selling, you can double revenue in less than 3 years! Don’t believe me—see the chart below.
Question: What if you could only work with your existing sales headcount? Would it be possible to leverage your sales team to grow your customer base by 15% and cross-sell current customers into additional products and services to grow revenue per client by 15%?
Every day grocery stores throw out good produce that has spoiled. It really is a shame. Farmers worked hard to grow the plants and harvest the fruit. Truckers worked to deliver the produce to market. But once a bunch of bananas gets delivered to the grocery store, it has a limited shelf life. If the bananas are not bought and consumed within a short window, they will go bad. All of the work will have been for nothing.
Most companies have invested in search engine placement. Many are active on social media. Some have built calls-to-action. The vast majority are missing the piece we’re about to explore. They fail to respond quickly to leads. By the time sales reps get the leads, they are rotten. At that point, the reps complain that the leads are no good.
Like produce at a grocery store, leads have a short shelf life. Every hour you delay follow up, the lower the quality of the lead.
The Harvard Business Review published research where 2,241 companies...
Yesterday I was talking with my business partner at Convergo, a growth agency I launched in 2004. He’d talked with a business owner about moving from a tactical to a strategic approach with their marketing. In principle, it sounded good. However, when presented with a relatively modest budget compared to current annual sales revenue, suddenly strategic marketing didn’t seem so important.
I get it. I’m a recovering sales rep. In 1993 I took a job with Lanier Worldwide, a hard-charging sales organization that at the time only believed a cold call happened when you walked in the door of a business. At the time, we didn’t even use the phone. We carried demo machines in the back of our vans. It was all about cold call, demo, close. Don’t come back to the office until you have demoed at least two machines.
Having come from a rich heritage of intense sales activity combined with drilled in sales skills, I understand the importance of prospecting.
What you sell and what your clients buy may be two very different things. We think we sell products and services. What our clients really buy is outcomes.
Theodore Levitt, the father of modern marketing put it brilliantly: “People don’t buy drill bits, they buy holes.”
Your prospects don’t want to buy products, they want outcomes. For example, business owners don’t buy color printers, they buy color printouts. If you boil that down even further, they don’t really buy color prints. If they are printing invoices, what they are buying is the ability to collect money faster from their customers. If they are printing marketing material, what they are buying is competitive advantage and business growth.
One company can send out sales reps to sell color printers to people that don’t want one or have the budget allocated. The next company, realizing that people buy outcomes, can send their sales team out to help prospects streamline...