Refine Your Search

Forum: Optimizing Your Revenue Function for Today

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That’s true in so many ways and, right now, it’s especially true as our Indianapolis business community works through unprecedented time. KSM Consulting’s ExecConnect Forum is a space for executives to come together, meet with a leader, and discuss how to support their organizations, customers, employees, and communities today.

In the April 2nd Forum, Greg Stanley of Accelerant Consulting discussed optimizing the revenue function for today’s environment. Questions and answers from the discussion are shared below.

What advice do you have for business owners to take today?
Consistent execution of the little things tends to create the outcomes you’re looking for. Intentionality is exceptionally important right now. Make sure every business decision you make is done with an eye toward valuation and the revenue function. For business owners, now is a good time to think about preparing for an equity event in the future. Think through the questions you will be asked that will affect your business’s valuation when it’s time to sell. Selling is a one-time opportunity, and you have an obligation to all involved to maximize the value of that transaction. Right now, I recommend thinking through the following and ensuring that you have good answers to these questions:

  • What is your concentration of revenue? Do you have a strategy for differentiation of revenue?
  • What is your strategy for increasing revenue?
  • What is your strategy for growing with your existing customer set?
  • What is your strategy for finding new customers? How are you determining types and levels of profitability?
  • What is your marketing spend in comparison with sales effort? What is the expected level of return for the marketing spend?

It’s also a good time to ensure that you have

  • A commission structure that incentives the outcomes you desire
  • An identified and differentiated organizational value proposition focused on outcomes, not what you sell
  • A strong understanding of your market segmentation and what you want your customer portfolio to look like down the road
  • Sales stories that differentiate your business
  • Process and infrastructure in place to qualify sales opportunities, especially for RFPs
  • Accountability framework in place for sales and marketing. State expectations for behavior and financial contribution.

During this time, do you recommend discounting of products or services?
I caution you from getting into the trap of unrealistic pricing expectations in the future. Instead of going straight to discounting, work with customers on payment term negotiation or other possibilities to create a mutual value proposition.

Do you recommend changing commission structure or sales goals right now?
I do not recommend changing your commission plan specifically for this time. Your compensation structure should always drive to the greatest value to the organization, and this is a short-term anomaly. If the structure needs to be adjusted overall, now is a time to think through it, but with the lens of long-term value as you don’t want your team changing direction constantly. That said, it is important to think through the metrics you are using to track your sales and marketing team.

What metrics and KPIs are you using to hold the team accountable?
Typically, depending on organizational goals and the type of sales, we recommend measuring and holding teams accountable for net new meetings, proposals sent, conversion of leads, conversion of proposals… what makes the most sense for that organization. For instance, if your organization has frequent, small transactions, you want to measure and hold accountable to getting to as many people as possible.

However, right now, with people not thinking about buying, we recommend measuring and holding accountable to building relationships and adding value for those relationships. For instance, measuring the number of touches to existing customers and the creation of value-add communication to customers. It’s also a time to hold sales accountable for building things with value today and in the future, such as tightening up the value proposition and sales stories.

What two or three things do you recommend business leaders do right now?
Leaders should take a step back and figure out how to be intentional about the activities they are doing and asking their people to do right now. Find ways to improve how you are running your business and serving your customers.

  1. Focus on execution with customers. If there are gaps, work through them.
  2. Set challenging and reasonable expectations for today and through the end of the year related to sales and business process improvement. Ask your sales team to help determine what is reasonable for the remainder of the year.
  3. Don’t assume that the market has grounded to a halt. People are still looking to connect. Arm your sales with tools and discussion points to allow them to add value in conversations and help in every connection. It’s not a time to push product or services; have exceptional value propositions, sales stories, and outcome stories, and ask your team to share those.