7 deadly sins: what can we learn from failed revenue strategies?

In the course of working with over 200 technology companies during the past couple of decades, I have observed a lot of failed strategies. I’ve also seen quite a few companies turn their strategies into significant drivers of revenue growth. What makes the difference?

The difference is simple. Those that successfully capitalize on an inflection point and change in strategy are able to quickly transition to a new set of buyers. That’s it. However, very few marketing and sales organizations are effectively able to make this transition or fail to deliver revenue fast enough. The success of the old hinders them from getting traction with the new.

Here are 7 deadly sins that will quickly torpedo any change in strategy.

1) You Have No Market Validation: The market does not develop or is not big enough to support a growth business or substantial revenue stream.

2) You “Think” You Understand Your Buyers: Your company does not actually have a good understanding of the new buyers – their problems, challenges, buying process, what makes them a hero, how they are influenced, what technology they have already bought, and which particular buyers have a proclivity to buy.

3) Your Story Stinks: Your me-too story is full of geek-speak, does not resonate with your new buyers, doesn’t create a hair-on-fire or sense of urgency. Your viewpoint is un-differentiated and the story does not answer the fundamental question – “Why do I need your solution, NOW?” ..Its just another blah, blah, blah added to the cacophony of market chatter.

4) Your Sales Ramp Takes Too Long: Let’s face it, your field sales reps follow the easy path to revenue. And if they have been making their number with yesterday’s strategy, it’s very difficult to transition them to selling to a different set of buyers. Strategies fail when the sales team doesn’t have confidence. Sales enablement need to be armed with the conversations that will resonate with the new buyers, effective criteria for qualifying in AND out, pragmatic sales tips as well as the gotcha’s and competitive response to increase their chances of winning.

5) You Don’t Know How You Will Make Your Number:  Strategies fail when companies don’t have a precise understanding of where the revenue will come– which geos, which territories, which target accounts – and/or the sales coverage model is a mismatch. All too often, execs try to address this by hiring more reps, adding spiffs and increasing quota.

6) Your Launch Is a PR Event: Strategies fizzle when the launch of the new strategy is considered a PR exercise or a single, big-bang event that makes employees feel good but has no impact on sales cycles or category buying criteria. News fades fast and most companies will be off the radar screen in a quarter  -unless the launch is a 9-12 month consistent drumbeat of programs and momentum campaigns to multiple audiences, not just the press.

7) Your Viewpoint Is Not Provocative: Buyers turn off the same old “blah, blah, blah”  – do you have anything substantive to offer your buyers? What is your contribution to this industry? What new way of thinking do you contribute? Failed strategies “sell” products. Successful marketing strategies ENGAGE buyers. Engage them with new ideas, solve problems that make their lives better, provocative viewpoints that make buyers stand up and notice.

For every one of these sins that are made, your probability of success dramatically decreases. The inflection point is missed, revenue comes in too slow or your company doesn’t maximize the revenue opportunity.

There is a better way. A new framework to drive strategy to the point of revenue, faster – and, at these critical junctures, turn new strategies into a successful driver of revenue growth.

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