As we come out of the first quarter, many companies are going to look back and wonder, “How did we miss our numbers? Everything seemed so good, yet here we are again trying to play catch-up.” It can be very frustrating.
Upon reflection, there is something missing in the way you attack revenue generation. Your sales efforts might not be organized around a consistent process that EVERYONE follows. Your marketing and lead generation efforts are what we call hit-or-miss marketing, meaning you try different ideas hoping something hits.
Finally, you don’t have your people and your investments laser-focused on the most important tasks needed to move the number forward.
In short, if you feel like something is missing, you are correct. What’s missing is a revenue generation system for your company.You have systems for every part of your company – systems for purchasing, systems for paying your bills, systems for financial reporting, systems for hiring and systems for firing. But you don’t have a system for revenue. It’s missing, and it’s why you don’t hit your goals every single month.
Here are the elements of a revenue generation system that support your ability to grow month over month.
Processes are critical to helping businesses scale as they provide a clear framework for how work should be completed. By establishing efficient and effective processes, tasks are completed consistently and to an agreed standard.
This allows you to increase output without sacrificing quality. Additionally, well-defined processes make it easier to delegate tasks and measure the performance of your team, which can help ensure you have the right people in the right seat.
Creating a process for revenue generation is challenging because it includes three traditionally divergent groups – marketing, sales and customer service.
But this can be solved by including representatives from all three areas and building a process that encourages collaboration and cooperation.
This process includes getting work done weekly, planning work monthly and reviewing strategy quarterly. A weekly revenue team meeting, a 30-day sprint planning meeting and a 90-day strategy session put the building blocks in place for a revenue generation system.
The weekly revenue team meeting focuses everyone’s energy and attention on work that needs to be done across marketing, sales and customer service. It reviews metrics weekly to see how work is translating into business outcomes. It also gets the team talking about issues and solving those issues with a set of to-dos that are assigned accordingly. This process alone ensures progress is being made every week.
The 30-day sprint planning session is designed to give your team the opportunity to identify, discuss, prioritize and plan for the work required to reach your monthly revenue goals.
The 30-day sprint is 100% based on resources and the bandwidth of your team, either internal, external or agency. Once the team is 100% allocated, you’ll have to push additional work to a parking lot for next month or reprioritize to get more important work in.
Once done, everyone knows exactly what they have to do, why they have to do it and when it needs to be done.
The 90-day strategy session is an important part of the process to keep the revenue team focused on the most important elements of the company’s revenue strategy.
This session includes talking about the competition, new product or service launches, upcoming events that might require a multi-month project, changes in the industry that could impact marketing and sales efforts, and other high-level inputs to always ensure sales and marketing efforts are aligned with the company’s strategy.
Once installed, you have a weekly, monthly and quarterly process for keeping everyone associated with revenue generation all rowing and working in concert.
One area that a revenue generation system quickly identifies as important is your overall marketing strategy, which includes your Big Story, target prospect personas and how you differentiate your business. In our experience, this is missing or incomplete 80% of the time.
Strategy also includes goal setting and alignment of investment or budget with those goals. If you have caviar goals and a tuna fish budget, getting to your goals is going to be difficult if not impossible.
In just a few weeks, a revenue generation system can walk you through the exercises and workshops required to define your Big Story, create complete target personas, define what makes your business remarkable and set goals along with the appropriate budget level to reach them.
With the strategy behind you, now you can move to selecting the right tactics to get you to your goals. This is where we eliminate the random acts of marketing you’ve been executing to date.
By reviewing the appropriate set of marketing, sales and customer revenue tactics, you prioritize those that will have the biggest impact and take the least amount of effort. You’ll want to tackle these first.
This usually leaves another set of tactics that are nice to have but not required right away. These can be included if you free up additional budget, or they can be deprioritized and moved to the parking lot for planning in upcoming months. There may be an opportunity to swap out and move in something from the nice-to-have category down the road.
With the tactics selected and agreed on, you can move into campaign design. This is going to include selecting a narrow target, creating campaign messaging that connects to your Big Story, designing the campaign assets, setting the campaign performance metrics, defining the campaign timeline and getting it ready for launch.
You might be looking at a similar campaign for multiple targets, and the effort in this case would be to personalize each campaign to the specific target. Personalize the content offers, the messaging, the value proposition and perhaps even the design graphics.
The more personalized the campaign, the better it will perform.
Campaign design also means orchestrating all the campaign assets so that they tell a consistent and cohesive story regardless of where the prospects see your campaign assets. Whether they’re viewed on LinkedIn, Instagram, website pages, email, social media feeds, banners or at an event, all these assets should be telling the same story.
With all these efforts ready to fire, you’re going to need a technology platform to track, automate and analyze everyone’s efforts. If you already have marketing automation, sales automation, a CRM system, service automation and a CMS for the website, then you’re probably good to go.
Ideally, all these tools are on the same platform so that data flawlessly flows from one system to the next, giving you a complete picture of how prospects and customers are interacting with your marketing and sales efforts.
More than likely, you have some of this. Determining what else you need and planning how to purchase, install, configure, train and deploy the missing pieces should be part of your overall revenue generation effort.
You can’t have a revenue generation system without the right tech stack. There is too much to do and too few resources to do it without the right technology.
Speaking of resources, this is the last part of the system that needs your attention. You must have the right resources to do what you’ve agreed needs to be done to reach your goals.
These resources can be internal full-time people, external contract resources or part of an agency that is hired to deliver expertise in key areas.
Regardless, you need to have the right resources, the right skill sets, the right experience and the right mindset to growing your company.
Without process, strategy, tactics, campaigns, technology and resources, hitting your revenue goals month over month is going to be very hard.
But with these pieces in place and a revenue generation system organizing them into one single stream effort, before you know it, you’ll be exceeding your goals and your company will be on the fast track to growth.