It's Not for Everyone - Growth
Win rates below 20%, lack of sales and marketing alignment on a shared revenue growth strategy for 2023, reps not achieving quota, and expectations that one or two individuals on the team will yield massive growth results. Sound familiar?
Perspective from leading, serving, advising and interviewing with nearly hundred companies over the years: I've come to a key realization, growth is not for the weak and those that favor the "status quo!"
Discovery calls and initial conversations with prospects and clients alike reveal that while they say they want to grow, the key work and actions that need to take place are usually skipped over with unrealistic expectations that growth just comes down to having some "key relationships" and minimal change to their entire revenue infrastructure. Additionally, they believe a few short term actions will yield the desired results for the longer term.
My view on growth and increasing your effective revenue increase, especially in challenging markets and economic times is this:
First and foremost, have a proven revenue growth methodology and framework to use in assessing where the key gaps and critical path infrastructure items to attack. Talent and experience alone will not yield the necessary results. A super-hero CRO or "Rainmaker" can yield results but rarely sustain on a year-over-year basis. Additionally, the larger your top-line growth is the harder it is for one or a select few to generate the scale you'll require for the five year or beyond horizon.
Next, evaluate the following points in generating a meaningful transformation in your revenue growth strategy and journey:
1. Deal with your own issues first
• Work out, with a high degree of realism, where you truly are in relation to your competitors
• Benchmarking is your friend
2. Calculate the size of the prize
• Is it really worth going after?
• What payback can you realistically expect?
3. Understand the relationship between action and outcome
• Get extreme clarity on which levers you need to pull to get maximum traction in sales and revenue growth excellence
• Will your efforts translate directly into improved performance?
4. Understand your organization’s appetite for change
• Lots of companies think they want to make the improvements, but when push comes to shove, they don’t really have the appetite for doing the hard yards
• If you don’t have the appetite for change, you could spend a lot of time, energy, and money only to hit immovable roadblocks later
5. Determine how you can make it attractive for your people
• They’re the ones who’ll execute the changes—you need to think about what’s in it for them • Without a compelling why, anything you manage to introduce to your operations through sheer force of will is going to slide backwards the minute you look the other way
6. Shine a light on problem areas, don’t cover them up
• It can be confronting to see the reality of where you are, if you’re entirely honest with yourself
• Embrace the ugly, because that’s the only way you’ll be really motivated to make it better
7. Own it in the line
• It can seem really attractive to stand up a dedicated transformation team, and to make it accountable for the change
• Transformation teams can provide focus, energy, and independence
• But any changes must be owned by the business units who run the day-to-day operations—otherwise, sustainability is impossible
8. Push accountabilities downward
• Make sure ownership of accountabilities is at the lowest practical point in the company
• Empower your frontline people with the autonomy to make the changes they know will improve the efficiency of their jobs
9. Understand the role of technology
• More often than not, technology doesn’t deliver fundamental enablers for sustainable change—it just provides accelerators
• Don’t fall into the trap of pinning your hopes on technology change
• Without the human element, any sales or operational excellence work will always be half-baked, and largely unsustainable
10. Drive it from the top
• Senior executive support is essential
• Without a top-down drive, results will be patchy at best
11. Resource your teams appropriately
• If the size of the prize is large enough, it’s worth investing in the resources you need to capture it
• For example, hire the best consultants you can afford
• Provide reporting and analytical support so that you can easily see what’s working, and what’s not
12. Give your leaders clarity
• Make it clear to leaders at every level what part you’re expecting them to play in the move to sales and operational excellence
• And, when it comes to the drive for sales/operational excellence, you need to be very clear with every leader: not changing is not an option
13. Execute relentlessly
• You’ll almost certainly underestimate the amount of time, energy, and commitment that’s required to execute change, and make it stick
• Pushing through barriers of resistance is going to be a daily challenge, and the minute you think you can ease off, you’ll see your teams slip back into old habits
• Just accept that this is the way
Once you reflect and work your way through this or the revenue growth framework and strategy, one of the key areas lacking in many organizations is the area of PROSPECTING!
It’s not easy to get a meeting with a decision maker. So when you have one, it had better go well! Have you ever finished a meeting and wished you achieved a better outcome, gotten further into the discussion or secured better next steps? I call this “the valuable gold nugget” of prospect meetings.
Here are six specific preparation and meeting strategies that will help you achieve the best possible outcomes.
1. Identify your objective as well as your prospect’s objective for the meeting. Most sellers think about their objective and what they want to get out of prospect meetings. They rarely think about their prospects’ objectives. For example, you may want a proposal request or to close a sale whereas your prospect may want to learn more about how your solution may be a better fit than the one he/she currently has in place. Very different goals. Your role is to strategically direct the meeting so you accomplish your objective while also fulfilling that of your prospect.
2. Research the decision maker, their boss, the company and the industry. A good understanding of the issues they are facing and the challenges they must overcome will help you articulate how your product or service can be the best answer. How can you make the decision maker’s life better? How can you help the prospect and his/her boss achieve goals? Then, prepare how you will articulate that during the meeting (visual/vocal).
3. Develop “high gain” questions that will elicit valuable information that will move you closer to the close. Prepare 3-4 questions which will help you learn key information that you can leverage to position yourself as the exact right fit. One time a seller failed to ask what the prospect’s role was in the organization. Had he asked he would have learned that the decision maker had responsibility over 3 areas. The seller assumed (bad idea to assume) that the decision maker was responsible for 1 area. Missed opportunity.
4. Anticipate prospect objections and prepare responses in advance. Pre-think, Prepare and Practice…the 3 P’s of being ready for even the most difficult objections. If you can pre-think the objections you will encounter, you can also prepare the answers. The answer can be a visual, a question, a statement or a success story. Choose the format that best helps your prospect move beyond the objection. Practice the response to be sure your delivery is spot on.
5. Determine what to present, what to leave behind and what to keep handy just in case. Use your visual aids to aid you visually, not as a crutch. The talk track you use with the visuals is significantly more important than the visuals themselves.
6. Plan the flow of the meeting, leaving enough time for the “next steps” discussion, which is the reason you’re there. When you begin the meeting, confirm how much time your prospect has for your meeting. Make sure to manage your time well. If you have an hour long meeting, you will want to close for next steps and set date & time approx. 50 minutes into the meeting. Most sellers are good at identifying next steps but few take out their calendars and book the date and time while they’re in the meeting. This step will save you time and shorten your sales cycle. Try it.
Before I end this morning's note, I am sharing exciting news about a key blueprint to business transformation event with a client of mine.
Ever wondered how you could turn your business headlines into positive trending stories? Brace yourself for a dynamic evening where we will plunge into the facinating world of business transformation, headlining our central theme - Transformation Key Strategies and Methods to Massive Benefits. This will not just be another event; it will be the story of tomorrow, the narrative that will continue to shape 2023 and beyond.
We're hosting this for senior executives and C-suite leaders in financial services. If you have interest to learn more about the event on June 22nd in Dallas, contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, attaching some of our key growth related briefs below:
More of our insights here as well: https://www.mattallendevelopment.com/blog