An Otherwise Good Walk Ruined
There is an old saying that goes, “golf is an otherwise good walk ruined”, referring to the frustrations inherent in trying to get that darned little white ball into the hole. Achieving revenue growth may not always happen as quickly as we’d like, but it should not feel as frustrating as golf often feels.
Are you frustrated with your rate of revenue growth? If yes, below are some common causes of Revenue Generation Frustration and how to mitigate them.
You: Business Owner & Sales Manager
Do you have a solid sales pedigree? If not, running even a small department can be challenging. Time ticks by and sales results don’t come.
If you are not a sales management expert, find a resource and get this task off your plate and onto theirs. Doing so is all upside – you lighten your load and have more time to do the stuff you love, such as leading the company into the future rather than being stuck in the sales weeds.
More dangerous than managing a function you aren’t an expert in, is not manage it at all. You just let your sales folks loose with a cell phone, laptop and gas card and wait for the sales revenue to come rolling in. This generally always fails. Invariably results are tepid and when you finally dig in you find you are down 6 months sales salary and your revenue future looks pretty grim.
The sales function requires daily monitoring to assess what course corrections are required for success in the ever-changing business landscape. See the advice in the paragraph above for how to fix this.
Your sales department should be self-funding. Salespeople should be generating between 3x to 5x their salary [depending on your margins] to be paying for themselves.
Take a good hard look and determine if your sales team is covering their costs. Factor in all costs related acquiring deals. There can be many reasons why they may be falling short [the comp plan is wrong, quotas aren’t right, headcount is too high, Lead Generation is too light]. Once you learn the underlying causes the fixes will be readily apparent.
No Leading Indicators
If your main sales success measures are primarily lagging ones [revenue generated, new implementations] you’ll continually be running behind. Switch to frequent measurement – think daily, weekly, monthly – of those things that cause sales to happen.
A few to look at are:
a) Pipeline Creation Rate: How many viable sales leads have been generated
b) Number of Sales Calls conducted
c) Number of Demos conducted
Identify your leading indicators and be rigorous in tracking them.
Flying Blind – No Dashboards
The value in measuring lies in using the data toward continuous improvement. Share the dashboards at minimum with the salespeople individually and review them together for coaching purposes.
Work together to determine what the numbers are indicating and what activity adjustments could/should be made to improve results. Depending on your appetite for a competitive sales environment you may share all results with the entire team.
No Recipe for Success
The number one cause of feelings of Rev Gen Frustration is a lack of a defined sales process. If no sales roadmap exists, the team may find their way more often than not, but it will be a continual struggle. This leads to lots of bad stuff [sales goals aren’t hit; commission payouts are low, and staff quit].
Hunker down with your sales team in a boardroom and capture a) your customer’s buying process and then b) your process to help them buy from you. This is the ultimate Rev Gen Frustration reducer.