As one year draws to a close and new one begins, organizations find themselves in unhealthy routines. They become engrossed and lost in the minutiae of numbers, quotas, portfolios, and fail to take an organizational approach to grow revenue. Every organization should ask the questions below to create a productive dialogue. This dialogue provides the context to align revenue development, sales priorities, and long term health of sales to secure YOY growth.
- What are we growing?
- What are we killing?
- What are we creating?
What are we growing?
When I ask this question, most executives say everything we can. This answer implies a misunderstanding of the market, individual product opportunity, and a customer acquisition strategy. These all play a role in determining strategic investments for annual revenue development. Typically when hearing the word investment, people think of a new product or IT costs. On the contrary, the investment can entail travel, CEO time, training, support staff, or anything that will require a sizable amount of time or money or both. Some years, this may be a new product launch, while other years it is the number of in-person meetings, or this can be an investment of time into a market sector.
Seems easy enough, why can’t you do more at one time? The goal is to make a recognizable impact; therefore, it needs to have a financial component, a sense of urgency, and focus. You dilute the messages by having several top priorities.
What are we killing?
Every organization seems to have a low quota, poor performing offering. They represent a slow death with little upside potential — time to end this line and start anew. As an organization, you can choose to shut it down immediately or methodically divest until the offering is relegated to the archives by the end of the year. Owners and heads of sales ask why they need to kill a product that produces some revenue. The answer is simple: We all have the same amount of time, do you want your sales team focusing on activities that close high yield offering, or perform actions on poorly performing offerings?
What are we creating?
As the team aligns on growth priorities and starts minimizing the impact from poor offerings, you now turn your attention to long term health. What are you launching that will propel the organization to the next level? Like before, this does not need to be a product; this can be a marketing campaign, better lead nurturing, new markets, or better support. The question drives dialogue for what material change will have a marked impact on revenue. Like the growth question, you cannot create a pronounced effect if you have a diluted message and spreading the team thin. For example, you want to create a superior customer service experience to help with renewals. You start with a goal, develop objectives, and build tactics to help achieve the goal. When clearly defining and reinforcing these changes, employees become more vested in their jobs and organizations. Few people like being a cog, they want to feel challenged and create something great. That means tracking, checking, and changing based on the results.
This summary is a simple take on challenging questions for organizations. Try to sit down and outline a few for each category to get started.