magazine | January 1, 2017
Make Your Number in 2017
You have a lot on the line and no time to waste. How are you going to make your revenue growth goal for 2017? You don’t know, do you? The new year has yet to begin but you’re already worried about it.
Take a deep breath. My firm, SBI, has your back. We spend every minute of every day thinking about one thing: helping you make your number. To answer a single question, we conducted months of painstaking research. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. Leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 to access a revenue growth methodology to hit your number quarter after quarter, and year after year.
For the past decade, executive leadership teams with aggressive revenue growth goals have counted on this flagship publication to create the annual operating plan for their sales and marketing teams. This year’s edition explores emerging best practices from the world’s best performers. These are the leaders in the top 22 percent, who consistently grow their revenue faster than their competitors and faster than their industries. What can you learn from them? To net it out, they do one thing that the others don’t: They hit their revenue growth number every year. Average executives, the remaining 78 percent, are inconsistent. They make their number one year, miss it the next; make it one quarter, miss it the next.
Lots of executives find themselves in the right place at the right time and temporarily boost the top line. But truly great growth executives don’t rely on luck and timing. They exceed their revenue targets regardless of circumstances. This article gives you an overview of how they go about doing that. To discover their secret sauce, you need to read the entire workbook and go through the exercises.
Top Performers Blend Strategy and Execution Masterfully
It is easy to be good. It is difficult to be great. Growth executives in the top 22 percent work on strategy and execution in unison, always making their revenue number in a predictable, hassle-free way. They understand that this quarter’s results reflect actions they took a year ago. And next year’s results will be determined by the actions they take today.
Some executives focus only on strategy—doing the right things. These executives suffer from periodic short-term revenue misses. They sound good but don’t produce. I call them empty suits. Other executives focus only on execution—doing things right. These executives experience periodic long-term revenue misses. They work hard but are unreliable, going from hero to goat quickly and expectantly. I call them flashes in the pan.
Our annual workbook codifies emerging best practices from these top performers into a methodology you can implement at your own company. All together, these emerging best practices constitute the Revenue Growth Methodology. If you want to grow revenues faster than your competitors and your industry, download the workbook to learn more.
Emerging Best Practices Create Powerful Differentiators
How to Make Your Number in 2017 is SBI’s flagship publication. Our annual workbook codifies emerging best practices from executives who have achieved successful outcomes. An emerging best practice is a process or a methodology that is used by the top 22 percent of growth executives, the best of the best. As a result, emerging best practices accelerate revenue growth. Think of them as powerful differentiators.
In contrast, a best practice is a process or a methodology already in widespread use. Best practices typically do not result in accelerated revenue growth. They lack the impact of emerging best practices because many executives are already implementing the same things, often in the same industry. Think of best practices as nice-to-haves.
Standard operating procedures can also be processes or methodologies. SOPs differ from emerging best practices and best practices because they are industry standards. While SOPs do not cause revenue growth to accelerate, when they are not in place revenue may decline. Think of them as requirements.
Executives who use our annual workbook share a common goal: grow revenues. The workbook presents the Revenue Growth Methodology in terms of SOPs, best practices, and emerging best practices to address different starting points:
In each of these scenarios, the Revenue Growth Methodology helps executives increase the probability of making their number.
Applicability: The best way to describe the applicability of the Revenue Growth Methodology is to discuss the roles of the executives using it, the industries they work in, and the size of the companies they work for.
Executive roles: Leadership teams inside growth companies with aggressive revenue growth goals are most drawn to the Revenue Growth Methodology. Typical executive roles include the CEO, head of sales, CMO, chief products officer, chief human resources officer, and business unit general managers.
Industries: This management method is used almost exclusively in B2B industries. Our research, spanning the decade of 2006–2016, has uncovered versions of the Revenue Growth Methodology in 20 industry sectors, with concentrations found in industries that have complex sales.
Company size: Large companies (over 5,000 employees) typically use the Revenue Growth Methodology at the business unit level, most often driven by the head of sales. Midmarket companies (500–5,000 employees) implement the Revenue Growth Methodology top-down, driven most often by the CEO. Small businesses (50–500 employees) frequently adopt a light version of the Revenue Growth Methodology, often at the request of the board of directors. Companies with fewer than 50 employees rarely use the Revenue Growth Methodology.
Strategic Alignment: Accelerates Revenue Growth It’s no mean feat for executives to grow revenues faster than their competitors and their industry. The Revenue Growth Methodology is a four-step management approach Top-producing organizations ace their revenue growth numbers by bringing corporate, product, marketing, and sales strategies into alignment. that accelerates your rate of revenue growth by bringing corporate, product, marketing, and sales strategies into alignment. To dive deeper, download the workbook and turn to Part 4.
Step 1: Corporate Strategy
We start with corporate strategy because sales and marketing leaders need direction from the CEO in the following areas before they can build their operating plans:
Step 2: Product Strategy
Next comes product strategy. Great sales and marketing teams often fail to grow revenue because they are in the wrong markets with the wrong products. By addressing the following areas, the product leader gives sales and marketing teams a fighting chance to become successful:
Step 3: Marketing Strategy
Armed with the inputs from the CEO and product leader, the CMO is now equipped to create a compelling marketing strategy that converts budget dollars into revenue by covering the following areas:
Step 4: Sales Strategy
The head of sales now has what he or she needs from the CEO, product leader, and CMO to attack the market. It is time to develop a sales strategy that covers the following areas, to make the number every month, quarter, and year without fail:
What You Won’t Find in Our Annual Workbook
By now, you have probably gone to our website and downloaded the workbook. If you are still wondering whether it’s worth your time, read on for a description of what it is not.
Your Ticket to a Successful 2017
If you are like most of the executives I talk to, right now you are feeling insecure about the upcoming year because there are a lot of unknowns. Your number went up and with it, so did your personal risk. You feel threatened by the magnitude of the task. You feel worried and concerned about your future. And you are not alone in feeling exposed. You don’t know how you will make your number in 2017 just yet.
Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you can make your number? Here is a tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if: