5 Steps to Significant Revenue Growth in 2019
By Robert Jurkowski
This article first appeared in Software Executive Magazine
There are five steps you can take right now that will put you and your company on a path for explosive revenue growth in 2019. Over the past 10 years we have worked with over 300 software, cloud and services companies to identify and apply the five most important steps that you can take to achieve significant revenue growth.
By implementing these revenue growth best practices we have helped companies grow their revenue by 30%, 50% and even 100% year over year. Let’s review each step and how you can leverage them for your software or cloud company.
Align with the Customer Acquisition Process
According to The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) 57% of the sales cycle is already completed before a prospect engages with a sales person. That means that the buying process starts early when your prospect is conducting their own research on the internet and visiting your website and requesting valuable information that will assist with their education, evaluation and selection.
To better align with the customer and partner acquisition process many companies are combining their marketing, sales and business development investments and resources under the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) who has ownership for the entire buying process. Likewise, best of breed marketing automation and CRM application companies are merged together to provide a more tightly integrated solution that supports the entire customer acquisition process. As an example Salesforce acquired Pardot, Adobe acquired Marketo, Oracle acquired Eloqua and Hubspot began offering an integrated CRM solution.
This type of organizational structure and supporting integrated systems break down the silos between the functional areas of Marketing, Sales and Business Development. Your demand generation programs provide 100% of the leads required by your sales team and your direct and indirect sales complement each other to provide you with the overall market coverage that you require.
Understand your Buyer
How do you best understand what will motivate your buyer to invest in your solutions or services? There is nothing better than a rigorous market survey to understand what your buyer or prospect wants, needs and will justify. All of us make many assumptions about our solutions, target markets and what our prospective buyer wants but we need to validate those assumptions. Some of our assumptions are correct and some are no longer valid or false.
When you use a rigorous market survey to understand your target audience it eliminates all of the guesswork about how to engage that audience or how to justify to your Board or Investors that you truly understand your buyer.
At a construction management software company that helps companies manage their large capital projects and increase their efficiency, we conducted a rigorous market survey with their target audience to truly understand what they wanted and needed. What was fascinating is that we discovered that they had three markets with different needs. Companies with a small capital budget were primarily concerned about efficiently managing their resources. Companies with a medium capital budget were focused on managing their growth. Companies with a large capital spend were primarily focused on managing complexity. By understanding the needs and requirements for each segment of their target market this software company was able to tailor the right message for each audience.
The best investment that you will ever make is to understand what is important to your buyer and target audience through a rigorous market survey. This step alone with save your significant money and time to accelerate your engagement and sales. With this knowledge your buyer-validated messaging, engagement and offers converts visitors into prospects and prospects into customers.
Reach your Entire Audience
Every year we conduct revenue growth workshops with CEOs and business owners across North America and I always ask what percent of their target audience are they actively engaged with today. With few exceptions, most companies are typically only engaged with a fraction of their target audience – typically 5-10%. Unfortunately, their audience cannot buy from them if they do not know that they exist.
You need a strategy to reach your entire audience over time because you do not know which 5-10% of your addressable market will invest in your type of solution or service this year.
Working with a business intelligence and analytics company we determined that their target audience was 500,000 CIOs in North America. We also realized that purchasing or building this large database would be very expensive. Instead, we put in place a plan to acquire 12.5% or 1/8 of their target database every quarter so that by the end of the second year, they would be reach and engage 100% of their target market.
An investment into an accurate database of your entire audience is probably the most overlooked critical investment that I see across hundreds of companies. Another challenge is keeping your database current because up to 20% of a database many become inaccurate each year given the movement of employees, mergers and acquisitions, and shifting organizations.
When you are able to reach your entire audience you have put in place your strategy to win each market.
Drive Velocity and Volume
Every software and cloud company is part of the subscription economy where monthly subscriptions have replaced one-time perpetual licenses. The key to significant revenue growth is driving velocity and volume. Here are specific ways to can drive velocity and volume for your company.
I still see many companies that want their prospect to sign up for a demonstration. Does that increase or decrease friction with their buyer? A way to decrease friction is to provide a benefit focused recorded demonstrations that immediately present your solutions on your website. Custom or in depth demonstrations can be presented to qualified buyers later so you allocate your best resources to selling instead of educating.
Next put in place a demand generation engine so you can scale a significant volume of high quality sales leads for your sales and partner teams. When I worked with the CEO of a cloud Accounts Payable and E-Payment provider, he wanted to double revenue every year at his company. Instead of creating 38 leads per month, we put in this engine and created 350 leads per month so that they could double revenue every year.
Does your website tell instead of sell? Another way to increase velocity is to enable the buyer’s journey on your website to guide your buyer through the entire buying process. That journey may be initiated when your buyer selects their role, industry or another important self-selection criteria. Even if you cannot sell your solution or service online you have created a strong preference for what you offer and significantly shortened your sales cycle.
These are three of many ways that you can significantly increase the velocity and volume of business for your company and increase profitability by keeping your customer acquisition cost (CAC) low.
Execute in all Revenue Growth Areas
You have an opportunity to accelerate revenue growth in all of your revenue growth areas including direct sales, channel partner sales, and upsell and cross sell strategies offering new solutions and services. When I was the CEO of Intacct, a leading SaaS financial applications provider we onboarded 5000 new customers and 300 sell through partners. One of our key objectives was to execute all of the revenue growth areas for the company.
With our direct sales team we achieved significant sales velocity and volume through our direct sales team by partnering with front office leaders like Salesforce to offer an integrate front and back office solution to our customers. We also created the buyer’s journey on our website to accelerate the sales cycle and provide that frictionless buying process.
When you have a SaaS or cloud offering we found that this significantly increase our ecosystem of potential partners. With our channel partners we identified CPA firms and market makers that would embed or private label our SaaS solutions to create a whole solution for their customers. These partners helped us reach many industries and audience where we did not have domain expertise or direct sales coverage.
In order to maximize the upsell or cross sell potential with current customers we deployed progressive bundling to offer solution bundles that enabled our customers to grow their investment and value received with our solutions. We added new capabilities such as executive dashboard and analytics to enhance decision making for our customer CFOs and their management team.
This focus on predictable revenue growth and profitability eventually led to the acquisition of Intacct by The Sage Group for $850 million and 9 times revenue.
These are five steps you can take today to accelerate significant revenue growth for your company in 2019.
About the Author
Robert Jurkowski is the Founder and Managing Partner for a Global Revenue Acceleration Agency, On Demand Advisors (www.ondemandadvisors.com).
He is a Revenue Growth Expert and works closely with Business Leaders to help them grow revenue dramatically and win their target markets. As an operating C-level Executive he has led some of the most successful software and cloud companies in Silicon Valley. As CEO, COO, and Chief Revenue Officer for both public and private companies Robert understands how to drive triple digit revenue growth, market dominance, and increased profitability.
You can reach Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 1-800-208-5688.