Revenue enablement doesn't stop (or start) with "we sold a bunch of stuff". A true 360 degree approach takes into account what a customer encounters before a lead reaches sales, and after the sale is made, says Brandon Jones, VP of Revenue at PAAY.
He spoke at the Revenue Acceleration Festival - where he talked about The Four Pillars of a High-Performing Revenue Engine.
Q. What leadership traits would you say are crucial for driving revenue growth - particularly in today’s uncertain environment?
A. The first would be accountability - and it must be bi-directional.
Many sales leaders hold reps accountable, but it’s not often that they’re willing to be held accountable in return. As a sales leader you must be decisive and follow through on the strategic commitments you make to your team. You have to resist the urge to chase the new flavor of the week which will erode your leadership efficacy over time, particularly in times of uncertainty.
The second would be having confidence in your convictions. More often than not, you won't have complete information when making decisions. If we look back at the last year, none of us could have predicted what was going to happen next. When faced with uncertainty, your reps look to leadership to be decisive and have the courage to stand by their decisions. So I would say it's about projecting confidence in your decision-making, stick with it, and your team will rally around that.
Q. How do you ensure consistent team performance that ensures success amongst the key teams that are involved in driving revenue?
A. In my experience, this starts with the incentive compensation plan. If you haven’t already revisited this, now would be a great time for sales leaders to do so by making sure:
- the plan is completely aligned to the current business objectives. So, if the business objective has changed in the last year, it's a great opportunity to make sure that your reps’ incentives are completely in line with what you're now asking them to do. Otherwise, it creates deep misalignment between your company objectives and GTM strategy.
- what you're asking them to do is within their degree of influence. If a primary measure of their performance is based on a component that they cannot directly influence to drive to the desired outcome that has the potential to demotivate and depress rep productivity.
Q. Can you share an example of when and how you’ve adapted or pivoted over the past year at PAAY to ensure continued revenue growth?
A. Here at PAAY, prior to the pandemic, our reps primarily engaged in initial conversations with prospective customers in person at live events and conferences. Over the last year, we’ve had to make adjustments to this strategy and learn how to pivot to virtual channels to better connect with prospective customers.
One of the ways we’ve done that is by making investments in GTM tooling that our reps need to do their job effectively in the current environment. Beefing up everything from our martech to prospecting tools to value delivery tools to help us better scale our sales execution.
We’ve also found this a great time to put more effort into creating a robust sales playbook to help foster more consistent repeatability in our sales motion. Iterating things like a more tailored value prop, ideal customer profile, customer personas, prospecting tactics, and updating our sales process.
Q. Do you feel Revenue Leaders should shift more focus onto retention, cross-selling & upselling as a means of revenue generation, rather than new customer acquisition, at the moment?
A. The focus has shifted over to how well you are serving and retaining your current customers. At the beginning of the pandemic, new business acquisition ground to a halt, as many companies had frozen their spending. Now, as companies have eased those budgets again, many are taking a fine-tooth comb to their existing and new purchases to make sure the solutions they adopt are those must-haves that deliver ROI throughout foreseeable uncertainty.
So the key is to make sure your solution is not seen as a “nice to have” and that your customers are seeing exceptional value. Shifting from reactive customer success to proactive success planning and value-add.
Q. How is the role of Revenue Leader different to traditional sales leadership?
A. When I think of the traditional Head of Sales, their sole responsibility was to the sales organization. Which would leave other functions like customer success and marketing siloed from sales.
But, I think this ignored the fact that there's something that a lot happens before a lead reaches (marketing activities and lead generation) sales and after the new business sale is made (customer onboarding, value delivery, retention, customer satisfaction).
I believe the shift to calling it “revenue” has been a shift in accountability to the entire funnel. Being accountable to answering questions such as - how do you go from communicating with potential customers that don't know about your product or solution, and building awareness, education, interest? To how do you generate demand for it all the way down through the sales cycle to how do you then retain and delight those customers?
That’s how I've seen it evolve - and that's my current responsibility. It doesn't just stop with, “we sold a bunch of stuff, let’s throw it over the fence” - it's a 360 degree customer accountability.
I believe companies have had to adapt mainly because customers now expect a seamless buying experience. Traditionally, they may have been passed to a different point of contact at each point in their buying experience whereas now there’s a shift toward more ownership and accountability of the customer’s experience throughout their journey.
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