Strategies to Empower Revenue Growth
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Earn more revenue, faster. This is the Holy Grail pursuit for every business. While the concept itself may sound simple, the process to achieve this is rather scientific and reliant on complex variables across every facet of the business.
No single team is responsible for revenue growth alone. However, some functions are more aptly positioned to drive the actions necessary to move the needle on variables that impact revenue — and sales enablement is one of these.
“[Revenue] growth is ultimately the health of our whole business,” said John Gilman, vice president of sales at Confluent. “A lot of organizations rely on the growth engine…[it’s about] making sure you have a plan to leverage those investments and then basically show repeatability and measurement of how you are proving that you’re making progress.”
As a function charged with equipping revenue-facing teams with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to be successful, sales enablement has a high degree of influence on an organization’s ability to grow revenue. By proactively planning for future growth, reflecting a deep understanding of buyer preferences, collaborating with revenue stakeholders, and enhancing accountability for rep performance improvements, sales enablement can help empower revenue growth for the business.
Proactively Plan for the Future
Growth does not occur overnight. This means it is not enough to base strategic decisions solely on the metrics and insights that are available today. Rather, it requires visionary leadership to anticipate future market trends and potential factors that may arise which could cause revenue goals to fluctuate.
Sales enablement can help revenue leaders make informed, strategic decisions to drive revenue growth. Consider these strategies from “Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies from the World’s Sales Leaders” by Thomas Baumgartner, Homayoun Hatami, and Jon Vander Ark to do so:
- Look 10 quarters ahead: Explore trends from the past and present across technology, politics, social movements, global relations, and regulatory shifts to hypothesize potential evolutions in the economy or market norms that might impact business operations.
- Mine growth beneath the surface: Consider potential opportunities for growth beyond sales. For example, think about how factors such as competitive intensity and market attractiveness might influence growth in marketing-led activities or post-sales customer engagement.
- Find growth opportunities in multiple data sources: Leverage big data sources to gather insight into customer tendencies, partner activities, and the market, and thoroughly analyze potential cause and effect relationships. In fact, companies that make extensive use of customer analytics have profit improvements that are 126% higher than their competitors.
No one has a crystal ball, and unanticipated obstacles are a given with any plan. However, organizations that are able to think ahead and proactively pursue bold strategies that might impact revenue are better positioned to drive innovation than those simply reacting as change arises.
Appeal to Multifaceted Buyer Preferences
Revenue growth requires a deep understanding of how buyers move through their journey, including how they prefer to be engaged with and at what point in the sales cycle. Not all buyers will respond to the same type of engagements, which makes it all the more critical for revenue teams to leverage multiple channels and methods of interaction. A multifaceted approach can also expand an organization’s reach to new personas, markets, and industries.
“The buyer has their journey that they’re going on, and we have to anticipate that, and we have to build that into our cycle,” said Joe Booth, senior director of sales enablement at SecureAuth. “We have to give our reps the chance to…be ready at the appropriate sales stage to give [the right] information.”
Consider how to leverage the following methods outlined in “Sales Growth”:
- Master multichannel selling: Incorporate a blend of various types of sales roles to engage buyers in different ways, such as leveraging both remote and field sales reps in a deal or bringing service channels into buyer conversations.
- Enhance efforts on digital channels: Build brand loyalty through digital channels such as social selling in order to turn clicks into sales.
- Optimize direct sales: Engage customers early and often, and pursue new prospects with tenacity in order to unlock growth in key accounts.
- Engage partners: Partners can be a strategic force multiplier for organizations. To maximize partner relationships, think of partner sellers as more than just an extension of the sales team, but a key lever for growth.
- Build expertise of emerging markets: Understand where the market is heading and invest in building the right support systems, both in terms of knowledge and talent, to build a presence in emerging markets proactively.
“We each have different preferences,” said Daniel Disney, founder of The Daily Sales. “Some of us prefer social, some of us might prefer email, some of us might prefer video, and so on. We each have these different preferences, and this is important as salespeople, sales leaders, business owners, that we leverage as many of these as possible.”
Engage Teams Across the Revenue Engine
All teams spanning the revenue organization — from sales to marketing, account management, customer success, sales operations and more — have a stake in producing revenue growth for the business. Sales enablement can increase its influence on revenue by ensuring that all revenue-facing teams are prepared to be successful.
“Revenue enablement in my mind is really the way to maximize cross-functional collaboration to support the revenue generation for the business,” said Caroline Holt, executive vice president of revenue enablement at EVERFI. “It’s ensuring that the rep then has the tools that they need to understand what the business objectives are, how they get there, what tools they need to be successful, and then how to make sure that that customer experience is as strong as possible so that we are ultimately able to renew that customer and grow them over time.”
“Sales Growth” shares the following strategies to drive revenue growth across multiple revenue-facing teams:
- Tune sales operations for efficiency: Sales ops is critical to maximizing rep efficiency and productivity by streamlining processes to ensure that reps are spending their time on activities that generate value. Partner with operations leaders to optimize the sales process and trim low impact activities, thus benefiting customers and building loyalty by creating a smoother and faster sales process.
- Prioritize pre-sales effectiveness: Often, pre-sales reps can become inundated with leads that ultimately fail to convert to revenue. Support the pre-sales function by focusing on the quality, rather than the quantity, of leads so that they can focus on providing valuable expertise that will move buyers forward in their journey.
- Maximize marketing impact: Capitalize on the first-hand expertise of frontline reps on the needs and preferences of buyers by fostering a flow of insights between marketing and the field.
- Mobilize post-sales productivity: Ensure post-sales reps are armed with the insights they need to establish customer loyalty and elevate their value over time.
“I think sales enablement often focuses far too heavily on getting new logos into the business and not as much on the critical development support and engagement of the commercial teams that have responsibility for the renewal and an upsell of their existing customer base,” said Holt.
By collaborating with teams across the organization that have a stake in revenue growth for the business, sales enablement can ensure that revenue-facing reps are equipped to deliver and expand value for customers throughout their life cycle with an organization.
Support Professional Development
While strategy plays a critical role in driving revenue growth for an organization, individual rep performance also carries a great deal of weight in driving growth opportunities across the finish line. Sales enablement can drive revenue growth on an individual level by ensuring reps meet the necessary competency expectations to succeed and supporting them in continuous professional development to refine their craft.
Consider pursuing some of the following initiatives to enhance individual rep performance in order to maximize revenue:
- Manage performance for growth
- Create comprehensive coaching programs to turn novice reps into rainmakers with behavior change
- Set a fast tempo for performance goals to pinpoint gaps in behavior and make adjustments as needed
- Leverage both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to motivate reps to perform
- Build a healthy culture that supports self-improvement
- Focus on retaining high-performing reps for the long-term by supporting their professional growth goals
- Provide management and leadership training to ensure all frontline managers have the skills necessary to motivate and guide their teams
“Becoming a leader is a different skill set,” said Chad Dyar, director of sales enablement at Prometric. “Getting people to do what you want them to do, learning how to really listen to people and understand their strengths and weaknesses, a lot of that has to be learned.”
Supporting professional development ultimately helps increase individual accountability to performance goals and outcomes. When more reps are able to meet and exceed performance expectations, the business reaps the benefits through increased revenue.
Historically, many organizations have leaned on their revenue number for the year as the indication of whether or not they were successful as a business. However, if businesses wait until that number comes in, then they have missed an opportunity to transform the outcome. Maximizing revenue growth is a continuous journey that requires constant analysis, effort, and iteration.
By taking a proactive approach to anticipate future revenue impact, meeting buyers where they are in their journey through multiple channels, supporting revenue-facing reps across the business, and driving individual performance improvement, sales enablement can help organizations continuously innovate to drive revenue growth.