Success starts from the top; how do you know if you have the right talent in your revenue leadership?

Overview of today’s environment:

 

In today’s highly competitive, fast-paced, and complex business environment, traditional sales leaders are being upgraded to revenue leaders.

 

This is not just a buzz word, but a significant departure from the traditional sales leader.  Revenue leaders are accountable for all revenue generating functions within the organization.  This may include, not only the sales function, but components of marketing, customer service, and pricing.  This role generally has the most significant impact on revenue growth for a portfolio company, which is why it is critical for Private Equity firms to review their revenue leaders across these three areas:

 

  1. Command & Control of Metrics
  2. Strong Operational Capabilities
  3. Record of Success.

     

Revenue Leaders Have Complete Command & Control of Metrics: 

 

Revenue leaders have a complete understanding of all relevant data, and the ability to directly influence the most critical metrics.  These metrics may include:

 

  • Customer Acquisition Cost & Lifetime Value: Simply stated, these two metrics ensure customers are profitable. For further insights on CAC & CLTV, read our article titled 5 Metrics For Performing Sales Leaders

     

  • Source of Bookings: Who are our top 25-50 customers? What are they buying?  What are they NOT buying and why?

     

  • Pipeline: What is our pipeline coverage for this quarter, and beyond? Do we have bottlenecks in any particular stage?

     

  • Customer Churn: where are we losing customers and why?

     

  • Utilization: How quickly and how often are our products being used (SaaS specific)? What are some early indicators of customer attrition and/or opportunities to cross-sell/upsell?

     

  • Sales & Marketing Expense: How much of this expense is labor vs. non-labor?  Quota-carrying vs. non-quota carrying?  How does our Sales & Marketing expense compare to our competitors?

     

  • Total Headcount and Key Ratios: What is our composition of sellers to product specialists?  First-line managers to sellers?  How do these ratios compare to our competitors?  Are we receiving adequate ROI for the headcount?  Are we retaining top-talent?

     

     

For additional insights on key performance metrics, from the eyes of a CFO read 7 KPIs Evaluate Go To Market Effectiveness

 

 

Revenue Leaders Are No Longer “Just Sales Guys”, They Have Exceptionally Strong Operational Capabilities:

 

Best-in-class revenue leaders will not just have years of sales management experience, but they will be adept in all aspects of running a business, with direct responsibility of the P&L.  Several aspects include:

 

  • Marketing: today’s revenue leader will have broken down any existing silos between Marketing & Sales. They will ensure marketing efforts are both driving above-funnel leads, along with necessary support for sellers in the field.

     

  • Customer Success: Revenue leaders set the strategy for customer success. This is increasingly critical in SaaS models, with low barriers to exit and disaggregated purchasing decisions (as opposed to OnPrem).

     

  • Pricing: the revenue leader works directly with the pricing department to ensure products are not only priced competitively, but also command the value based on customer’s willingness to pay. They also closely monitor discounts, and ensure proper controls are in place to prevent excessive discounting from the sales teams.

     

  • Product: Revenue leaders are responsible to ensure the product teams are incorporating feedback from sales teams. They are also charged with new product launches, ensuring the new product receives adequate rep mindshare and the reps receive adequate training.

     

     

Behind Revenue Leaders Follows A Long Record of Success:

 

They will have a long history of successful senior leadership roles, specifically in companies who sell complex products across multiple geographies.  Surprisingly, specific industry experience may not be a deal-breaker, since the traits of a great revenue leader transcend most industries.

 

  • Long term vision, with short-term execution: “You’re only as good as your last quarter”; Revenue leaders balance short-term results, while developing a scalable organization for repeatable success.

     

How Do You Rate Your Revenue Leaders?

 

Buying behaviors are evolving at an accelerated pace, largely driven by disruptive business models and emerging technologies providing unprecedented access to data.  Revenue leaders drive value creation by proactively making decisions ahead of the competition.

 

These decisions can be confidently made and enacted with:

 

  1. Command & Control of Metrics
  2. Strong Operational Capabilities
  3. A Record of Success. 

     

Download the Evaluating Your Revenue Leader Tool to help you assess revenue leaders across these dimensions, helping you Make Your Number.

 

While success starts at the top, it is absolutely critical to have as many “A-Players” on the bus as possible. For more on this topic, read No Time Like the Present to Upskill Your Sales Team to All “A” Players.

 


 

Additional Resource

 

For additional help evaluating your strategies, click here to take SBI’s Revenue Growth Diagnostic.

 

Sales Revenue Growth

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Gosline

Challenges the status-quo to accelerate profitable revenue-growth.

Prior to joining SBI, Chris spent nearly a decade in management consulting, focused on revenue growth. He specializes in sales strategy & execution; including, account segmentation, sales coverage models, resource deployment & sizing, job design, competency models, sales compensation, and quotas. Prior to management consulting, Chris he worked in financial services, where managed a portfolio of structured loan products, and undertook several cross-functional, revenue-enhancing projects within GE Capital. Recently, Chris led the sales model integration of two PE-backed healthcare IT companies. This included product-portfolio rationalization, opportunity-based account segmentation, development of a cohesive go-to-market model, right-sizing sales roles, and expanding use of digital sales. Engagement resulted in accelerated revenue growth, at a reduced cost of sales.

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