One Role Or One Person Can’t Drive Strategy When It Comes To Revenue Growth
When results start to stagnate or decline, the first move is to double down on tactics, but the tactics are incredibly complex and multi-faceted. Plus, in some cases, they take time to gain traction.
What happens next is people start questioning the strategy — and they should. In most cases, underperforming programs do suffer from a lack of strategy, but you can’t expect one person to be the owner of that strategy.
If you’re working with an agency, you want your entire team (strategist, consultant, writer, editor, designer and interactive team members) to be included in the strategy conversation.
You want all of those different perspectives to contribute to creating an upgraded strategy, if needed. If you’re leveraging your internal team, you’re going to want a variety of contributors in that conversation too, including representatives from the sales and customer service teams.
One person shouldn’t be responsible for setting, creating, recommending and monitoring strategy. Here’s some of the thinking that goes into properly deploying strategy at your company.
Make Strategy A Team Sport
If you’re sending one person off to create the strategy, present the strategy and then gain sign-off on the strategy, you’re going in the wrong direction.
Strategy needs input, participation, feedback and iteration from every stakeholder in your company.
You should be looking for processes, systems, workshops, methodologies and exercises to bring everyone together, set the agenda and tone, and take people through a series of sessions that create the strategy as a team — including full agreement that this is right for your company, right now.
Go so far as to extend how you think about revenue strategy. Make sure it includes conversations and tactics around optimizing revenue from current clients, such as upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
But don’t stop there. Could new revenue streams, new products, new services, new pricing, new markets, product extensions, partnerships and packaging options also produce revenue growth?
Getting more people on the revenue team (including more people at your agency, if you use an agency) and thinking about revenue from your prospects’ perspective is going to create more opportunities for your company to not only hit but exceed revenue targets.
Consider Doing Some Testing
Coming up with a great strategy is tough, but executing it is even tougher.
After you have something that looks good on paper, consider doing some testing. You can test messaging, differentiation, content offers and even landing page design through an AdWords program.
Testing components of your strategy has the potential to provide some interesting insights before launch. You can test almost every aspect of strategy with clients and prospects directly.
Keep in mind, they already have some exposure to you, so their responses might not be 100% valid. But clients and prospects may offer interesting insights that help you refine your strategy.
If your website gets enough visitors per page, you can also consider doing A/B testing on the site. You can test variations of a single approach, or you can test two different strategy approaches.
In fact, you can test almost everything on the web, including CTA buttons, landing page design, content offers, page design, messaging and headlines. Just be sure you have enough data points and a large enough representation of people.
Set A Benchmark For Expected Results
To measure the success of your new strategy, you must set some benchmarks for expected results.
What do you expect this to do for your program? How many visitors, leads, sales opportunities and customers will you gain? What level of revenue are you aiming for? Are you looking for an increase in the close rate on new customers as compared to today’s close rate?
All of these metrics represent just the start of how you should consider measuring the effectiveness of your strategy.
You also need to consider an element of time with these results. If you have a 12-month sales cycle, then you might have to wait 12 to 18 months before you start seriously evaluating your strategy.
While you may find some early indicators that could be predictors of successful strategy, long sales cycles require patience, commitment and perseverance. With shorter sales cycles, you’ll have to wait less time to see if your strategy is producing expected results.
Consider A Slight Variation As Plan B
This idea is a little different than the testing mentioned above. Considering a plan B if plan A doesn’t pan out requires a more thoughtful and strategic approach.
While you’re working on strategy, you might find yourself with two pretty good ideas, and then when working through them, you end up with one that you prefer over the other. Don’t toss out the other. Instead, hold onto it as a possible plan B if plan A falters.
I like having back-up plans. With the complexity of today’s sales and marketing, having back-up plans is a smart way to do business.
You can also pull pieces of your plan B and test those in the middle of your deployment. For example, you could match your plan A disruption message with a differentiation component from plan B. You can continue to fiddle with the plan configuration, as long as you’re giving each configuration the time it needs to get tracking in both marketing and sales.
Look For Upgrade Opportunities Post-Launch
Doing little analysis before post-launch is another weak spot we see often with prospects. Analysis is something we do every month for every client. This effort helps you see what’s working well, what’s doing OK and what’s not working as well as expected.
Now you can apply upgrades for those tactics that are underperforming, double down on those tactics that are performing above expectations and make some smart decisions on tactics that are performing as expected. The upgrades limit the time underperforming tactics run, and the double-down strategy allows you to drive results more quickly and more aggressively.
This cycle is something we do naturally, but it’s not something all agencies do. Even more rare is for companies to have this cycle of analyze, review, respond and act. The more you can run this cycle, the better your revenue programs perform.
Analyze is about looking at the results and identifying the necessary insights. Review involves sharing those insights with other team members for the benefit of collaboration. Respond includes creating the response plan based on those insights. Act is putting those plans into play.
If the tactics are transparent to almost everyone (meaning we don’t need to tell you to have a great website and blog, email prospects and customers, leverage social media, optimize conversions, and use chat and video to drive engagement), then the only remaining variable that contributes to success or lack of success has to be the strategy.
We are big believers in strategy being the reason programs work or don’t work. If you can get behind that statement, then do you want one person working on strategy, or do you want a team of smart people collaborating to create your strategy?
We want the team approach. We want the copy team to create disruptive and emotional messages. We want the design team to help deliver those words and feelings visually. We want the interactive team to make sure the experience matches up with the feelings from the visuals and copy.
We don’t want the team getting direction. We want the team working together with company leadership and sales, all collaborating to create strategy that drives revenue.
We also want the marketing and sales enablement execution team to be included in the strategy workshops. We want them to have shared ownership of the agreed-on strategy, and we want them to execute passionately because they were all a part of what was created.
Revenue generation today is a highly complex, multi-faceted effort that requires as many smart people as possible.
You shouldn’t turn your strategy over to a single person and expect them to produce results in the highly complex buyer journey that today’s prospects are executing for their companies.
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