Profitable revenue is a result of having a revenue generation STRATEGY with an aligned STRUCTURE supporting it. With those elements in place, EXECUTION should be rapid, smooth, predictable, and most importantly, profitable. It’s like having a consistent, well-paved REVENUE ROADMAP to guide the organization.
So what happens when that roadmap doesn’t exist or is full of potholes, dead trees, boulders and roadkill? Plenty – and none of it is very good.
When you’re launching a new offer, everyone is fired up and sees a clear road to success. “The product is great. The market is huge. This will sell itself, and we’ll get top dollar, too. We just have to be ready to meet huge market demand.” So the organization busies itself preparing for huge demand and profits to suddenly appear.
Interestingly, salespeople often don’t see the same easy road the rest of the organization sees. (This fact surprises most of the executives we work with.) A sales team sees gold at the end of a road, but the road they see is long, twisty, challenging and uncertain. It will have potholes, dead trees and dead ends. They also know that they will probably have to build or repair that road if they want to get new deals to close at the end.
This confusion and disconnect between leadership and sales can be solved by creating a company-wide REVENUE ROADMAP, a critical tool in your revenue generation program.
A roadmap sets the direction and pace
With a carefully designed and accurate roadmap, travel is smooth, rapid and highly profitable. Without it, the sales team has to find their way on their own. They start creating their own individual maps, and those maps will vary by salesperson and by individual deal. Instead of flying down the road en masse, each salesperson is making a slow, confusing, risky, expensive, and journey. Many trips end up at dead ends. Some drag on forever.
What a map looks like
A good roadmap begins with the key milestones as suspects travel through your sales process to becoming customers.
It then layers in the key revenue generation activities in three phases.
Phase 1: GOLD BOXES = MARKETING
During this phase, the organization agrees on an organization-wide revenue strategy. Then it works on the required structure to sort through an almost infinite number of suspects to
- find those that meet the definition of an ideal clients
- define the problem you solve with your product or service
- determine that the prospect has enough pain to want to take action now
- eliminate prospects who are committed to our competitors or an action you can’t deliver.
Phase II: BLUE BOXES = SELLING
After the marketing activities have been successfully executed, the right group of suspects move to the BLUE phase for qualification. Once qualified, the sales team manages the selling process WITH THE SUPPORT of many other parts of the company like finance, engineering, customer service, legal, etc. The result of this inter-disciplinary cooperation is a clear agreement between buyer and seller to do business supported by a jointly-agreed upon statement of work, bid, and/or contract.
Phase III: RED BOXES = DELIVERY
If everything has been done right to this point, an ideal client contracts for something you are very good at delivering, and then the final phase is delivery.
What happens without a map?
The salesperson’s job is to speed ahead and generate as much revenue as possible to meet their quota. That requirement forces the salesperson to repair or build the revenue roadmap as they go. If something isn’t done well (or at all) by other parts of the organization, the salesperson has to fix that part (as quickly and best as they can) so they can keep moving.
Here’s what that looks like: When the sales team has to stop selling (working in BLUE) to go find a prospect (in GOLD) to have someone to sell, the trip gets slower and is much harder to complete successfully. Let’s say they have to create messages, marketing collateral, marketing programs, systems to nurture prospects who aren’t ready, etc., then those salespeople will have very little time to work in BLUE.
Worse than that, the sales team was hired for their expertise in BLUE, and now they’re doing GOLD and maybe even RED work. There are better ways to do the GOLD and RED work that cost a lot less.
7 Facts about Revenue Roadmaps
- There is a revenue roadmap for every completed sales transaction.
- If the company doesn’t create the roadmap, salespeople will have to create a new one for every prospect.
- With custom roadmaps, the sales team ends up doing a lot of work in the GOLD, BLUE AND RED areas when their expertise is in BLUE. This is very expensive, very risky and only works a small percentage of the time. Worst of all, it makes our company look harried, disorganized and unprofessional.
- The sales team’s roadmap will deliver whatever kind of buyer it can get to complete the trip, and that buyer is seldom the company’s ideal buyer or even a profitable one. Just because they showed up at the beginning of the road doesn’t mean they’re the right ones to travel it.
- Custom roadmaps don’t lead to a high level of referral or repeat business.
- Consistent, profitable revenue generation happens when the entire organization creates, understands, and supports the same roadmap.
- Products and services don’t sell themselves!
Roadmap Development Plan
- Build your map (no matter how good you already feel it is) by getting your team together and mapping it as it looks TODAY.
- Define what needs to happen in GOLD, BLUE and RED to create a great client experience and lots of profit.
- Determine ways to measure what happens in each phase.
- Define what is intended to happen at the handoffs between phases (and measure it).
- Get clear about what the client will experience and receive as a result of delivery.
The key is to start, then keep making the whole roadmap better and better. Three years from now you will be really good and making a lot more money.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us here!