Five Things You Can Do Now to Build Revenue Resilience
These are challenging times for revenue organizations. But despite the seriousness of the moment, a little vigilance can go a long way toward building revenue resilience.
Here are five things you can do right now to improve your team’s selling and renewal performance.
This isn’t the time to be steadfast about messaging that worked so well in another economy. It’s probably not going to work. You need to revisit your messaging with an entirely different lens.
Like your company, your prospect is looking for ways to reduce costs and preserve revenue streams; they probably need to digitally transform, fast; they’re under pressure to enable a newly distributed workforce — and to find novel sources of differentiation at a time when every competitor is cutting prices to win.
If your prospect sells into certain sectors like healthcare, for example, maybe they’re even experiencing a lift in their business, which should, of course, inform your ideal customer profile (ICP) and targeting. But even outside of these counter-cyclical segments, business goes on — and the more relevant your message, the more likely it’ll land. This is always true, but to an extraordinary degree right now.
Show up to win
The best sales reps show up to win for every opportunity, but average reps will take shortcuts based on the assumption of healthy deal flow. They show up and throw up, hoping that some part of the story will stick. They rush to the demo. When deal flow diminishes, as it has for the vast majority of revenue organizations, you need to make every single at-bat really count.
Make a positive impression by showing you are thoughtful, prepared, and that you run a tight and professional sales process. Listen, actively. Overprepare. Do the necessary research and put in the hours to demonstrate a faithful commitment to partnership. Present it in a way that’s polished, professional, and really sweats the details. After all, how you show up is a reflection of the brand — yours and the one you represent — and it will make a difference in how you perform.
Do yourself a favor by creating structure in the sales process to maintain control and predictability. Remember that sales performance is opportunity volume multiplied by win rate. When the former decreases, as it likely has, the latter has to increase.
Focus on outcomes
The opposite of showing up and throwing up is asking smart discovery questions to identify pain and to create value for the customer and advantage for you in the sales process.
By focusing on outcomes, you tell a story of a better future that inspires your prospect to take action, and you position your solution for maximum relevance. Importantly, when you do this successfully, you also help your prospect find budget by promising your solution will help them address their most urgent priorities (which probably include the challenges noted in section one above). Making outcomes the central focus of your sales process will increase your odds substantially.
Build trust by putting some skin in the game
Untold millions have been invested in structured sales methodologies that help train sales reps to ask smarter discovery questions in order to sell on outcomes. But, more often than not, these efforts are one-sided: They help the rep close deals, but do they actually deliver on the promise?
Sometimes they do, of course, but even then — who really knows? After the deal is closed, the thread is broken and these outcomes are rarely handed off properly to the implementation and success teams, much less measured and revisited. Thus, they become empty promises.
In this economy, revenue organizations that document, organize around, and hold themselves accountable to measurable outcomes are the ones that will close deals and renew customers disproportionately.
Think of it as using transparency to build trust — and making trust your unfair advantage.
Get (way) ahead of the renewal
Too often, renewal teams scramble at the eleventh hour to retroactively paint a rosy picture on an all-too-thin premise of value delivered and benefits derived. The quarterly business review (QBR) becomes a dreaded one-sided affair that’s more about managing renewal risk than it is about your customer seeing a return on their investment. No wonder your customer rarely accepts the calendar invite.
By sheer force of will or by dint of personality, the customer success manager often squeaks by and somehow eeks out yet another year — but there’s something that feels unsustainable about the whole bargain.
In today’s economy, renewals won’t happen by virtue of persistence or charm. A customer’s willingness to renew will be based on coldhearted proof of performance.
The best revenue teams don’t leave any of this to chance. Instead, they measure progress against these outcomes. They understand the habits of healthy customers, and they take action to reinforce these behaviors to ensure customers are deriving value.
This all starts with an understanding of how your customer measures value — specifically, what outcomes they want to achieve — which then becomes the steel thread that traces through the entire lifecycle of the customer relationship.
The result is revenue resilience.