revenue

Business Is Just a Hockey Game

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Sales Perspective from the State of Hockey

Being headquartered in the State of Hockey (Thank You MN Wild) is either a plus or a minus depending on your interest in ice hockey.  Having invested decades of time watching youth association to professional level games, it is clear there are similarities that go beyond the scoring (above or below budget performance). 

Here are 3 items to consider getting ready for 2019:

  1. Talent – Teams with more talent win more games.  The talent part is a team issue – a composite of skating, stick handling, shooting and goaltending skills determine the outcomes.  What critical skills are needed/missing on your team to outperform the market?

  2. Speed vs. skill - Teams need both.  Speed players can move the puck fast but stick handlers can be just as productive.  Companies are always attracted to the big bio candidates but good stick handlers get things done too.  Stick handlers may have less speed but they have the peripheral vision (anticipate disruption) needed to keep moving forward.  Sometimes it is easier to find good stick handlers with strong team profiles.

  3. Adversity - What happens if you fall behind?  Normally that means you were not prepared (skill or disruption issues) or you underestimated the competition…or both.  Not a lot of options once the game (year) starts.  Typically, your top scoring lines get more shifts.  Bottom line – you leverage your talent and work your way out of the hole.  And yes, some coaches (CRO’s) get fired if the recovery effort doesn’t deliver in time.

Best of (Revenue) Luck to all CRO’s in 2019…and keep your stick on the ice!

Execution Isn't The Problem

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Our RoundTable program is totally results-focused meaning our executive membership knows the leadership road to results is always a combination of 3 components – Leadership, Strategy and Execution.

Many times we observe non-member leadership putting all their performance shortfalls on execution. More successful executives have learned that where the problem appears is not always where the problem exists. Our members say it best – culture eats strategy for lunch every day. When culture and strategy are not aligned (a core leadership responsibility) execution becomes an intermittent compromise at best…and terminally toxic at worst.

Leadership and Strategy exist inside the business – execution takes those “assets” outside to your market. That’s how it works so be careful not to define results as solely an execution issue.

The 5 Must-Have Components for Revenue as a System in 2018

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After 6+ years of hosting monthly roundtable meetings with revenue leaders from a diversified combination of businesses, it’s clear there is a core list of components CRO’s need to have in hand at the start of the year for maximizing success and driving revenue growth. 

The core components of Revenue as a System:

1)  Lead generation system – Differentiating Value (DV) is defined by target segments and campaigns are loaded for launch through all media channels.  It is never about what you say, it is more about what the prospect remembers about you.  The DV messages are 100% translated into the prospect’s world.   Response systems operate under time-is-of-the-essence priorities so nothing goes past a couple hours, worst case, without a direct engagement (not an auto-responder).  The goal is always a response time in minutes to connect in the prospect’s “window of interest.

2)  Revenue team roles – The right mix is a combination of inside and outside resources with the new business development goals assigned to specific hunters and not diluted across everyone’s goal sheets.  The hunters have line of sight vision to the targets and the tools to pursue them.  The right talent means trained and ready to handle all levels of communication - especially qualifying.

3)  Structured sales process based on your Differentiating Value – Selling is a communication process and your Differentiating Value (DV) is why prospects decide to do business with you.  As such, a CRO cannot invest the time to learn the unique qualifying approach of every sales rep in their organization.  I have tried it – it doesn’t work and the individual process I was exposed to were totally ineffective.  Qualifying is all about asking the right questions.  Every sale typically consists of 4-6 Critical Qualifying Questions (CQQ’s) that objectively determine if, how and when the deal comes together.  Sales reps never want to get a “no,” but the reality is getting more no’s than yes’s is the way it works.  It is far better to get the no before you invest a lot of resources into deals where you are not even on the list for consideration.

4)  Structured forecast process – Forecast accuracy is the report card of your qualifying system.  Sales reps know it is always better to be optimistic vs. realistic when forecasting.  Due to that approach, management does not know exactly what’s in their pipeline.  This is a common survival technique to buy more time without going under a formal “get-well” plan.  A bankable forecast process can be achieved - the challenge lies with your qualifying execution.  The key is to hold your salespeople accountable to qualifying suspects for motivation, money, methodology and market before moving prospects on/through the forecast.

5)  Properly-aligned incentive systems – Incentives are the most underutilized tool in the CRO’s arsenal.  The days of one-size-fits-all spreadsheet plans never really worked…and they still don’t.   It is important for plans to both recognize behaviors and reward results.  Incentive plans can include a variety of components – forecast accuracy, mix of sales performance by product and/or accounts, new logo accounts, etc.  No two businesses are identical so no two plans have the same focus.  It starts with understanding your specific sales model and building the incentive plan around key performance thresholds.  In the end, much of successful selling comes down to doing the right behaviors consistently.  Your incentive plan should creatively incent those behaviors.

This is just one of the revenue-focused topics we discuss at the RoundTable.  If you would like to learn more about the executive peer group, register to attend one of our upcoming briefings in the Twin Cities or Chicago.  Visit our Executive Briefings page here.

Why Do Executives Join Peer Groups?

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After 6+ years of interviewing candidates for the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) Executive RoundTable, the primary business reason most join is clear – Leaders listen to employees and experts but believe peers.

Leaders know they have to make good decisions for their business to prosper and grow. Most have 3 primary sources of input:

Direct Reports – employees have good tactical knowledge about the business today but typically have limited bandwidth regarding growth possibilities on the horizon.

Outside Experts – experts bring knowledge, but applicability is always a “fear of discovery” concern.

Peers – experience brings the “been there, done that” tribal knowledge of how the real world works…and they don’t work for you or want to sell you anything. That is the core reason why executives value a peer group membership.

CRO Executive RoundTable – we help members take the guesswork out of growth options and revenue strategies.