Revenue Acceleration: How to Move From Alignment to Action

As companies expand, they typically end up with what is referred to as “silos.” This happens because each department in the company develops its own set of processes and priorities.

For any company looking to grow exponentially, this is an issue they need to address quickly.

This article will show you how cross-department accountability can help your company break down these silos so everyone can work together more efficiently.

Why Organizational Friction Is Hurting Your Bottom Line

In B2B organizations, the word “silo” is often used to describe a point of contention.

They’ve created tension between departments who are all trying to achieve different goals and missions, and this has negatively impacted marketing, sales, and customer success teams.

Over the past few decades, customer journeys have become more complex with an increasing number of touchpoints and channels. This complexity has made it harder yet more important for companies to remain agile while still achieving their goals.

However, lack of alignment among teams adversely affects outcomes preventing the companies from reaching full potential.

After years of being relegated to the back seat, customer service is finally taking center stage. As more and more companies realize that customer experience leads directly to profits, it’s no surprise that marketing, sales, and CS are now being called on to work in lockstep.

Yet, many teams still struggle to align their efforts towards a unified goal- building an organization focused on digital experiences and sustainable business models for the future.

This shift brings changes in how businesses interact with their customers- one is that there is less friction between these internal teams as they work together to create amazing seamless interactions for every person who interacts with the company.

For this reason, revenue functions have become increasingly important to help companies remove friction. These are Revenue Operations and Revenue Acceleration.

Revenue Operations & Revenue Acceleration

Revenue Operations, or RevOps for short, is the combining and aligning of sales, marketing, and customer success teams within a business.

With these three teams working together, a business is able to optimize its sales and marketing funnel, collect more high-quality leads, and make more money.

Now let’s see what Revenue Acceleration is:

Revenue Acceleration is part of the revenue operations process.

Revenue operations focus on executing and aligning teams, while revenue acceleration provides tactics and tools for sales, marketing, and CS to take action in their day-to-day work to fuel growth. Both revenue operations and revenue acceleration have the same goal: to introduce full-funnel accountability between the three revenue teams and provide more value to customers.

With Revenue Acceleration, marketing, sales, and customer success teams merge to help customers achieve the value they expect from the brand.

The revenue team helps customers achieve the value they expect by connecting with them through a personalized experience that is tailored to their needs.

The study shows that the companies that align their revenue teams have a 19% faster revenue growth. These companies are able to do so because they act on the same insights and share the same goals, which means they have full-funnel accountability.

One of the best ways to get these teams on the same page is rallying them around their customer.

This will give them a better understanding of what they are trying to accomplish, and help them be more efficient in how they work together, all while doing what’s in their customers’ best interest.

After all, a good customer experience is like a gold mine. It not only pays for itself, but it also generates more revenue than any other form of marketing.

The key metric, customer lifetime value (CLV), is used to tie marketing, sales, and CS together. These teams each own a revenue segment that impacts the experience and success of CLV.

Once your team has a single source of truth around data, you don’t have to waste time debating who is right or why the numbers don’t match up. You can take action to:

  • Identify deal risk and upsides
  • Accelerate current quarter pipeline
  • And accurately predict revenue early in the quarter as well as forecast future quarters

By using the forecast and pipeline as a single source of truth, you can start looking two, three, or even four quarters into the future. This will help you to make better decisions for your company.

To create a more predictable, streamlined process for revenue, we’ll go over our framework and model for Revenue Operations and explain how to use this model in order to accelerate your business growth.

Accelerating Revenue

If you’re not set up properly, then you’re just throwing darts in the dark when it comes to your pipeline.

Unless you have a framework for guiding and prescribing the next steps for revenue teams, there’s still unpredictability involved with what happens next.

This framework has 3 parts: alignment, actions, and outcomes.

First, we will talk about alignment.

Frameworks begin by outlining your company’s operating plan. An operating plan is where your revenue goals are set and should be visible to the rest of the organization. Operations work with the finance to create a master document that serves as a guide for all sales, marketing, and CS goals for the whole year.

In alignment, we have 3 main phases:

  1. Engage: In this phase, the revenue teams are tasked with a crucial responsibility. They need to ensure that they’re targeting the right accounts and using appropriate messaging in their campaigns for those specific individuals. The SDR team should also be active and prospecting into accounts with the right messaging for those important personas at this stage of pipeline development.
  2. Execute: Here, you enable your sales team to convert potential leads into sales by guiding them through each step of the process. This stage includes all one-on-one meetings between reps and managers as well as forecasts for future quarters so that plans can be set in place ahead of time.
  3. Expand: In this phase, Customer Success comes into play. CS is responsible for retaining and finding new customers. They do this by helping retain the current customer base, understanding where to expand their reach, and forecasting future churn.

When a company has a large number of accounts, they have to figure out how to manage them all while retaining existing customers. Customer Success does just that by focusing on product usage, retention, and expanding into white space in an account with expansion opportunities.

Actions are next.

They include a high-level process that will show the buyers and customers how to move through the funnel:

  1. Engage with buyers/website visitors
  2. Target potential buyers
  3. Accelerate deal cycles
  4. Grow customer value
  5. Transform customer engagement

And finally, outcomes. Outcomes are at the heart of what your team is trying to accomplish. They are the end result that will help move buyers and customers through the funnel.

Now, we are going to talk about every part of this framework in detail, along with the following:

  • The responsibility of marketing, sales, and customer service in accelerating revenue and growing CLV
  • What metrics the revenue teams use to measure their performance
  • How companies use data to help revenue teams take action
  • Best practices for targeting and engaging buyers in an increasingly digital world

Engage

Technology has changed the way marketing is done.

Consumers have become savvier and are harder to please, so marketers need to be even smarter about how they can better engage potential buyers with personalized campaigns and relevant messaging.

In order to do this, it’s important for marketers to understand how their efforts translate into ROI — but many of them are still struggling with that.

In this section, we will show you how to build a machine that turns marketing meetings into sales meetings and drives the pipeline by focusing on what really matters: the buyer experience.

Marketing Metrics & KPIs

No marketing strategy can be successful without performance metrics. Marketing teams that are ruled entirely by lead generation often suffer from three pitfalls:

  • Lead quality issue
  • Failure to scale
  • Inability to effectively prove ROI:

So, what metrics and KPIs should you focus on in your marketing strategy?

Let’s start with the most crucial one:

LTV:CAC

The Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) to Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) ratio measures the lifetime value of a customer and divides that number by the cost of acquiring that same customer.

This metric tells us whether or not we are extracting enough value from our customers because LTV:CAC can tell you how profitable your company’s customers are, and it can also show sales and marketing efficiency as well.

For example, If your company’s LTV is $3,000 and the total cost of acquiring a customer is $1,000, then your LTV:CAC ratio is 3:1.

For growing SaaS businesses, they should aim for a ratio of 3:1 or higher since it is an indication that the company has a high ROI in sales and marketing. However, keep in mind that if your ratio is too high, it is likely you are under-spending and are restraining growth.

Quarter-to-date pipeline created

This is volume. As previously stated, volume still matters, and it has an effect on how other teams perform.

Quarter-to-date pipeline quality

High intent or ABM accounts typically fall under here.

Sales velocity

Sales velocity is a measurement of how fast you’re making money. It looks at how quickly leads are moving through your pipeline and how much value new customers provide over a given period.

Sales velocity has been shown to have a huge impact on businesses — and should never be taken lightly. The faster prospects move through our pipeline, the quicker we can close deals and bring in more revenue.

At every point in your funnel, speed matters. So ask yourself these questions: How can you make self-service more efficient so that potential customers can pass through the funnel more quickly? How can you make it easier for sales to connect with customers?

Target account engagement

Account-Based engagement is an evolution of account-based marketing (ABM) that encourages firms to double down on creating a cohesive and holistic customer experience.

With ABE, the goal is to get closer to leads, so that you can create a personalized customer experience with them and at all stages of their life cycle.

The idea of this strategy is to focus more on long-term growth than short-term gains.

With this strategy, your team will need to be wholly customer-focused and ensure every touchpoint with the customer is personalized and highly relevant.

Pipeline coverage

This is the sum of your existing sales opportunities divided by your operating plan’s revenue targets.

This metric is particularly helpful early in the current sales period and even better for upcoming quarters. It alerts managers to which prospects to target, if they need more leads, or if they’re on track with meeting quota.

To be successful, marketers need to track their sales pipeline and optimize it so they can reach growth targets. A direct correlation exists between the way a marketer manages marketing leads and the ability to meet sales projections.

Here are some KPIs examples that will help you achieve your high-level metrics:

Decrease lead follow up time by 55% by EOQ

Increase meetings booked rate by 23% by EOQ

Increase conversations on product pages by 35% by EOY

Increase conversions from paid ads by 25% by EOY

The key to success is focusing on the metrics that matter and executing a marketing strategy with a great understanding of potential buyers.

With this approach, marketers can work backward to identify how their contribution impacts quarterly goals and their larger marketing strategy.

Understanding Your Target Audience

Understanding who your audience is and what they will like is the key to everything you do. When working on campaigns, messaging, or channels, make sure you’re catering to that ideal customer profile (ICP).

Many don’t know who they’re talking to. They just want to sell, or they think their product is good for anyone and everyone. But it’s not that simple. If you want more engaging and high-converting conversations with buyers, you need to know your target audience in depth. This is the fundamental step in Conversational Marketing.

Conversational Marketing is all about getting the conversation started with your customers. To do so, you need to know who they are and how they’ve found out about your business.

Let’s see how we can engage website visitors.

We can engage website visitors by answering these questions:

  1. Who are you engaging (Unknown, known, or returning)
  2. Where are you engaging them from (website)
  3. What page are you engaging them on (product, solution, pricing, blog, resource center, contact us)
  4. Why are you engaging them/why are they engaging you ( new lead, meeting, sales/get help, talk to sales, learn more)

Identifying the touchpoints in a customer’s journey is also necessary for delivering a catered and personalized experience.

It can be difficult to know what consumers want, but by understanding their needs at every point of contact with your company, you can deliver an experience that will keep them coming back again and again.

Engagement & Targeting

In today’s world, people are living in a constant state of “busy.” You need to consistently engage with your buyers, so when they have the time or intent to do so, they’ll be more than happy to engage with you! If not? That missed opportunity might cost you business.

The buyer is an individual with a set of interests and wants. You should know who they are, where they have been, and what they are interested in before you start marketing to them. Your communication should be targeted around this information in order to be effective. You can measure successful engagement by three things:

Targeting: The level of personalization and the type of outreach you use should be dictated by segmentation and your target market. By segmenting your buyers into volume, target accounts, and top target accounts, you can better prioritize your channels, budget for campaigns, and focus your energies on top target accounts.

Relevancy: Understanding that most people are busy and have limited time during an interaction, think of how helpful your marketing message is when attempting to persuade them into making a purchase. How easy is it for them to get what they want during an interaction?

Timeliness: According to Salesforce, 71% of buyers expect companies to interact with them in real-time. To accelerate revenue, the revenue teams must invest in channels that connect them easily with buyers.

Execute

The sales team is the backbone of any company. They are responsible for generating revenue, so it’s important that they are data-driven. If you want a consistent flow of cash, then you need to have a team that can track and act on performance metrics confidently.

By the end of this chapter, you’ll be able to take a more systematic approach to forecast, performance tracking, outreach, and enablement. So without further ado, let’s start.

Defining Sales Metrics & KPIs

The execution phase has two major steps: targeting potential buyers and accelerating the deal cycle. These are both measured through metrics to ensure success at the end of this phase.

Let’s take a look at a few key sales metrics commonly tracked in sales teams:

Sales forecasting accuracy

Sales forecast is the key determinant of how a company invests and grows. The more accurate your sales forecast is, the better you can plan for growth and success.

Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)/Annual recurring revenue (ARR)

MRR/ARR is the monthly or yearly revenue growth of your company.

Win rate

Win rate is the percentage of closed/won deals. It shows how well a company has been doing over time and can be used to forecast the amount of pipeline coverage needed in order to hit the target.

Conversion rate

This metric helps you assess how well your sales reps are converting their leads into new clients.

Average deal size

Deal size is the total revenue per closed deal. If you want to grow sales and move upmarket, tracking the size of closed deals will help you do this.

Sales cycle length

To accurately forecast company sales, it’s crucial to track the amount of time a sale takes from beginning to end. We recommend going even more in-depth by identifying how long a deal takes at each stage.

Quota attainment

This metric compares the number of closed deals (or revenue) in a given time to the chosen quota for that period.

Pipeline coverage

Tracking pipeline coverage will help sales management see the red flags and keep things on track.

Sale linearity

Linearity is a concept in sales that describes the pattern of revenue teams closing opportunities at a predictable rate throughout the course of a quarter. By knowing when the contracts will be signed, approvals will happen, and logistical roadblocks will arise before they happen, linearity allows for better chances to hit sales numbers by avoiding last-minute rushes.

Sales activity (productivity)

Successful sales reps are always looking for the signs of deal velocity. They know that it tells them whether or not an account is actually engaged and the level of engagement in an opportunity. In today’s uncertain times, this is one of the few true ways to measure the health of a relationship with an account or to determine whether or not a deal is likely to close.

Deal slippage

Slippage rates are important because they show how many opportunities you had in the past that didn’t close within their forecast period. You can use this information to identify your slipped deals and make sure you don’t let them happen again next time.

Improve Sales Effectiveness Through Coaching

The key to success for high-performing teams is having top-notch coaching, and that’s exactly what we are going to talk about in this section.

A world-class sales team is essential to any company’s success, but it takes a lot more than just hiring great people. Knowing that a world-class sales team should be the ultimate goal of any business, you must invest time and resources into coaching your staff.

One-on-one meetings are the best way to coach your sales reps. This type of meeting should be collaborative, strategic, motivating, data-driven, and tactical. Managers work with reps on deal execution, discuss current roadblocks and how to resolve them, and strategize next steps.

Expand

With the rise of digitalization, customer experience and customer success have emerged as important factors for driving retention revenue, increasing revenue, and fostering strong relationships with customers.

Defining Customer Success Metrics & KPIs

Companies are taking a more active role in growing customer relationships and experiences. CS is developed to help businesses manage their interactions with their customers, while CX is designed to make the experience for customers more personal than ever before.

Let’s take a look at critical metrics for your CS and CX teams to measure and act on:

Customer churn %

Customer churn is the percentage of customers who leave you at the end of a given time period compared to the ones you previously had. This could be measured monthly, quarterly, and yearly.

Revenue churn %

This is the revenue loss from churned customers at the end of a given time period compared to the revenue from the previous period.

Net dollar churn %

This is the revenue loss from churn and down-selling, plus gains from expansion revenue. This indicates how the expansion revenue offsets those losses and can lead to a surplus in some cases.

Expansion revenue %

This is the new revenue generated from upselling and cross-selling for a given time period divided by the revenue at the end of the previous period.

Gross revenue retention

This is the annual revenue loss from churned customers. This metric shows how well your company’s growth rate is going because it doesn’t take upgrades, downgrades, or other related revenue streams into account.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS (Net Promoter Score) is a measure of whether or not customers would recommend your company to friends and colleagues. NPS surveys ask users how likely they are to recommend the company on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being extremely likely. These surveys should be sent quarterly or before QBRs in order for them to get the best results.

In order to accurately measure sentiment, B2B companies need to develop a process for every contact. This way, they can see potential churn before it happens instead of relying on anecdotal feedback that comes too late.

Growing Customer Value & Retention

Now we’ll discuss why it’s important to transform your customer service from a reactive team into a proactive, prescriptive, and predictable one.

Proactive

We’ve found that a proactive approach to CS, such as continually connecting and reinforcing your business value to customers, can have a significant impact on the success of your organization.

Engagement is crucial for customer service. Customer service should start conversations with customers on their terms and make it easier for them to reach out in real-time or answer their own questions through self-service.

Additionally, you should be able to identify where your CSMs spend their time by looking at activity metrics and account engagement so that you can take action if certain accounts are being neglected.

Prescriptive

CS has an integral role in forecasting future pipeline by analyzing customer churn, revenue churn, and net dollar churn. With shifts in the economy come changes that affect all facets of any business, including these three metrics. By looking at historical data from previous years, we are able to determine what level of change may be coming down the pipe.

Technology like machine learning can help us forecast future churn more accurately. However, if that’s not an option right now, CSM and renewal managers should work together to identify the red flags as well as expansion opportunities.

Here are some of the best practices for improving forecasting, reducing future turnover, and following up on growth opportunities:

  • Define healthy customer benchmarks
  • Segment customers
  • Have CSM and renewal managers work in lockstep
  • Send a survey prior to the renewal
  • Create next steps for churn and expansion

CS should continuously practice empathy with its customers. Not only does this help them build lasting relationships, but it allows CS to anticipate and offer predictive solutions for any problems that might arise.

Conclusio

B2B companies know that revenue generation is the most important activity, but few teams view it as an end-to-end process that can be optimized.

As companies strive for renewed confidence in this uncertain market, alignment across the entire revenue generation team will be essential to achieve sustainable growth.

We hope you find this resource useful when improving your market strategy now and in the future.

Let’s take a quick look back at what we have talked about:

Businesses should double down on internal sales processes that operate alongside digital technologies for revenue operations.

Revenue Acceleration allows revenue teams to communicate with buyers and customers in real-time across channels once a clear process is in place.

Need help in changing the system and aligning the teams in your company?
Let’s talk.

p.s. originally published on Funky Marketing

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Nemanja Zivkovic

I combine research and strategy with creatives to help B2B companies develop demand for the way buyers buy now |