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Will you meet your revenue growth targets?

“Aim for the stars and if you miss you will at least land on the moon” – that sounds great and probably motivates one to dream big. And there is nothing wrong in that audacious dream because all great things are accomplished from such dreams. But when you wake up into the world of business, it’s the how, when, and where that you have to work with. Then comes the knowledge of attainable goals, revenue and growth expectations, overshooting, resource potential, people management, customer expectations, competition, the cost of failure and above all the fundamental question of ROI – Return on Investment.


There are great ideas out there conceived by very capable and highly intelligent minds – the dreamers. These wonderful minds are often aided by their charismatic personalities, quick wit, and charged with their enthusiasm and a world of possibilities. These dreamers are often pursed by a rather large group of people who are usually self-appointed subject matter experts with poor work ethics yet with great corporate relationships and contacts who offer to introduce these unsuspecting dreamers to these potential unqualified future customers usually in exchange for a equity stake or a large fee – the dream sellers. These “dream sellers” flock to such entrepreneurs promising to deliver their dreams based on a few ideas of doing business, elaborate unsubstantiated claims, hollow conversations and often with the aim to conform the dreamer’s ideas regardless of the actual mechanics of attainability or rationality. Then if the entrepreneur is lucky enough, they stumble upon the “Dream Makers”. These are the rare and unique group or individuals who are thinking mechanics, who share the entrepreneurial spirit, are ambitious and driven. These people eventually maneuver themselves into vital roles within a company and become the cogs and wheels of your business. They are the people who often think of possibilities, truly believe in the dreamers’ idea, eager to learn more and in-depth about the subject, dare to question the processes and explore the possibilities. They are focused on their personal merits by attaining success and accomplishing the objectives. They ponder and resolve ideas of Purpose, Process, and Profits. They break things down, investigate, retool, improve and implement these essential tools for business success. They collaborate, brainstorm, question every idea, and dare to ask “why not?” they are the “Can do” people that most of the successful organizations rest their growth strategies on. In today's world, these individuals are often referred to as "The social generation" where their motivation and sense of purpose is driven by their social status, image, and respect as opposed to the traditional money, career and stability.


For a business leader it is a constant challenge to be able to differentiate and identify the different kinds of people they come across to be able to select, appoint and delegate their business objectives to. It is also important for business leaders to be able to identify such talent quickly and smartly.


All of this begins when the business leader truly acknowledges the need for such talent.  The age of "if it isn't broken don't fix it" has come and long died at the doorsteps of the age of technology and its nature of continuous rapid self development to exponential growth. Today the mantra is more like "If it isn't broken, then brake it and rebuild it better before your competition does it". As a healthy exercise to identify if your revenue growth objectives are well aligned across the company floor, it often pays to ask the most basic questions to uncover problems  and the need to engage with resources that could leads to great solutions for promising revenue growth. Two of the most important questions to uncover the revenue growth and sale problems are these:

Every Business leader needs to ask these 2 questions often to their Sales and Marketing Managers


1. What do you tell our customers today that compels them to buy our product offering as opposed to our competitors?

2. Who are the top 3 decision makers in our customers’ business and how do you reach them?

Do not be alarmed or surprised to hear the answers you will hear and how different they could be from what you thought that they should be. Such questions often creates an opportunity to first identify the real problems and the desperate need to revisit and develop intelligent solutions and processes. And in these processes every business and entrepreneur will truly explore and understand if their ideas and business will truly succeed. This is when the dream is set on a path towards possible success and eventually becomes a reality. If your purpose is to make a lot of money, it is in these processes that you will truly realize if this investment will truly return your expectations.


The age of Dragons Den and Shark Tank have given birth to a popular misconception that has lead to very bad business math amongst ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders within some corporate offices. Entrepreneurs often fail to understand what the dragons are truly saying. A business idea is built on its market potential. The typical math goes like so: The business of Craft Beer grew by 7% to over $26 billion capturing an alarming 24% of the $114 billion beer industry. An entrepreneur now begins an emotional and enthusiastic arithmetic processing of his idea. If he or she invests in a microbrewery they have the potential to address this growing industry. Yet, they try to be humble and aim to attain a very modest market share of just 0.25%. That really means they aim to attain a revenue potential of $65 million. Attainable? Sure. The wheels begin to come off that wagon only when they begin to work on the "how?". It becomes even more challenging when they begin to analyze and realize that there are over 6200 competitors fighting for the same market share and at least a good handful of them are owned by major big brands with deep pockets for their well oiled marketing machines and sales support. Next, the sales and distribution costs and process provides a greater challenge that will need to be addressed. What is their sales process? How are they going to entice and seduce the consumer to their new brand of beer? What is the cost of all this? And above all, how long will this take and why will it succeed? These are the essential facts that all business owners and dreamers need to address. This is not being “negative”. This is being “realistic”. The idea of a business or a product is often an emotional one, but accomplishing it is a practical one with hard numbers and tactical complex strategies. And facing the problems and discussing the real problems to find solutions is not a negative thing it is a much necessary and perhaps the most vital process. It’s a very positive and most essential process for any business. This is a concept that every CEO or Business owner should embrace and encourage. Setting an expectation of "conform to my ideas and dream, or else"… is probably one of the most damaging and lethal characteristics of any business leader.  


Similarly, a business leader or a senior manager responsible for develop a sales strategy often stumbles up on bad and skewed data and statistics and practices. Hire a sales professional, set an expectation of attaining 10 deals a month and aim to achieve at least 20% of that expectation in the hope that it still meets the revenue numbers the organization expects. Motivate the sales individual with a very generous commission structure, support and encouragement. After all you have a great product or service that you believe that many people will need. Great sounding plan? No! Certainly not is this age and time of "The Social Generation". This wagon too quickly falls apart when the company has wasted a few precious dollars on this plan that failed and soon realize a the key flawed reasons for expectations stemming from poor data and statistics conceived by the sales operation manager. Sadly, this is a widely prevalent practice in the industry. So, why do sales strategies fail? Here are a few common aspects to pay attention to:

Why Sales Strategies Fail:

1) Replication of Sales - Just because you managed to sell to one or two customers it doesn’t confirm that the rest of the market needs or values your product. Each customer has an individual buying criteria and sales process. By replicating and multiplying "A" single successful sales process by an unrealistic number to derive a revenue potential is not sufficient to succeed. Why do you think you can sell 2 or 10 deals a month? Are they really attainable? If yes, how, why how long is a sales cycle?

2) The buying criteria - Each buyer has a different buying criteria and need. How many of these different buying criteria’s and needs have you truly identified and developed a value proposition to address these effectively? And in today’s market, do you have the right combination of sales and marketing tools (digital and actionable strategy alignment) that reach the key decision makers.

3) Customer Budget – No matter how many successful sales meeting you attain, and how successful have you been to connect your product or service to the customers need, it often boils down to their budget. Can they afford your product or service? Can they afford it now? And most importantly, is the customer urgency or need compelling enough to afford the expenditure now? Do they have the budget?

4) Competition – How do you compete? Why will a customer opt for your offering as opposed to your competitors? What is it that you offer that is compelling and different from your competition?

5) Individual Value Migration – Sales people, especially in today’s world, are more motivated in their individual value and purpose than money. Their emotional and social satisfaction, purpose, personal needs, reputation and value within a process, relationship or organization matters the most. There is always another company offering a little more money or a better work environment or a better bonus potential. What are you offering to keep the individual motivated to be successful? This brain drain or migration of talent to your competition or other companies are often the result of dumping unrealistic goals and expectations on such talented individuals or nurturing a culture of "Yes Men"  that invariably are coerced to support bad ideas without an opportunity to help realize and correct them. And this hurts their social image, value and thus they result in migrating to another organization where they are valued and their ideas are nurtured and respected. 


The idea is to conceive, develop and execute a successful business enterprise. This idea can only be achieved by realistic, attainable and intelligent objectives, goals, purpose, process and profits that can be transferable and actionable.

How attainable are your revenue growth expectations?

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