Last week, I discussed the intensifying business imperative for growth, especially as companies large and small continue to grapple with the continuing aftermath of the worst recession since the Great Depression. In that post, I outlined several broad business strategies that smart corporations are now embracing to seize the day and accelerate their revenue performance and results as the economic recovery finally starts to pick up steam.
Today, I wanted to get even more specific and suggest what I believe are several essential strategies to inspire business leaders to ignite a true revenue revolution in the year ahead and beyond:
Adapt or Lose Ground
Sellers beware: it’s a buyer’s market out there. I really cannot overemphasize the importance of this growing sea change in the buying dynamics of today’s marketplace. The web and social networks have radically altered buying behavior, putting prospects and customers even more in the driver’s seat by enabling them to actively search and collect information before making their buying decisions. Since buying and selling are two sides of the same coin, it follows that there is also a growing sea change in the art and craft of marketing and selling.
As a result, businesses must adapt their approach to and interaction with buyers, shifting from “Always Be Closing” to “Always Be Helping.” The top performers in the revenue-building race will use the powerful new tools and methodologies now at their disposal to closely knit each marketing and sales action and touch-point to the known preferences of their target customers. This ability to reorient a company’s operations around individual customer needs and expectations during the buying process delivers the precision needed to build real engagement and generate outsized growth – not just incremental gains.
To incite the revenue revolution that I mentioned earlier, businesses must adopt a strategy and discipline for the demand chain that applies similar principles and processes as Six Sigma did many years ago for the supply chain. I described these steps in an earlier blog post, “Do You Need a Chief Revenue Officer,” which focused on what CROs (and all sales and marketing leaders) must do to ensure maximum sales and marketing coordination and revenue performance. The key RPM steps are worth repeating:
- Establishing an infrastructure where sales and marketing are fully integrated and equally responsible for revenue generation;
- Measuring and analyzing sales and marketing productivity across the entire revenue cycle;
- Identifying and removing defects to increase sales and marketing effectiveness and efficiency; and
- Implementing a systematic process of continuous improvement in ways that are repeatable and predictable.
Lead and Manage With Data-Driven Decisions
That’s what senior executives expect and view as a key competitive differentiator, according to a new global survey: Analytics: The New Path to Value. The study, which surveyed nearly 3,000 executives, managers, and analysts around the world, was conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value and MIT Sloan Management Review. I couldn’t agree more with the key findings of this global study. In this web- and information-driven world, data on buying behavior is omnipresent and must be leveraged and analyzed to optimize sales and marketing at every critical step in the process. It’s the core reason why earlier this year we launched the Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics solution, which helps organizations accurately measure and forecast the effect and ROI of sales and marketing activities across the revenue cycle.
In today’s volatile and complex business environment, it’s abundantly clear that incremental changes are no longer sufficient. What’s required by companies today is a fundamental transformation of how they create, manage, and grow revenue. The fact is that the current “Mad Men” era sales and marketing model is at best obsolete, at worst totally dysfunctional. That old revenue model does not need tinkering. It needs to be blown up and replaced.
A key measure of a great company, especially in challenging times like today, is how they create opportunity out of turmoil. As more companies embrace the kinds of revenue-driving opportunities that I have outlined above, I believe 2011 will be the breakout year when they vault their revenue performance to the next level of market leadership and sustained growth.
As the old saying goes, “Go big, or go home!”