Tired of watching your revenue growth stall?
We’re launching a movement for companies who want to unlock revenue acceleration
If we had a dollar for every time we heard any one of these sentences we’d be millionaires by now. It may ring a bell for you too.
- What is the Marketing team doing all damn day? We need more leads!
- Why does the Sales team suck so bad? They need to close more deals!
- How can the Product team be so far removed from what our customers need?
- When is the Success team going to step it up and do something about our retention?
If you are like us you’ve probably heard these literally thousands of times. For the past 20 years these have been constant issues: in the companies we started or worked for, in the ones we invested in, in the ones we advised or consulted for. Lots of different companies, same old story.
Here’s the thing: growth has a gravity to it. And yet everyone wants a path to more revenue, faster, more efficiently… except for the fact that every department has a different definition of what that means as well as a different idea of how to try and achieve it.
The result? Companies that have strong potential end up growing at a fraction of the speed they could, while different departments try different solutions that never really come together. That’s the key word: “come together” (ok, yes: it’s two words, but you get the point).
You see, traditionally companies have been organized in departments, with lots of structure within each department but not really much coordination between them… which ends up creating silos of people and functions competing with each other, sometimes fiercely so.
But if you look at the most successful companies out there, when it comes to revenue acceleration, there are a few things that *always* stand out. Things that these companies mastered and operationalized, materially contributing to their breakthrough success.
We think these core principles should be part of every company’s toolbox, rather than the best kept secret of a few wildly successful ones… yes, your company too. Without further ado, here’s our revenue acceleration manifesto.
1. Engineer your revenue trajectory
Here’s the thing: as absolute revenue numbers grow, relative percentages of growth decrease over time. That’s what we call the first rule of Revenue Acceleration: growth has a gravity to it. It flattens out over time. Sophisticated operators are well aware of this and prepare accordingly. They’re constantly running a series of experiments to validate a series of possible initiatives.
The goal? Not necessarily implementing them right away, but keeping them ready to go for the highest impact moment. It may be a new interesting approach for you to experiment with too. In a way, the word “engineering” is usually used while referring to product and technology, but the same principle can also be applied to your company’s revenue trajectory.
One key point is that this is not “simple” growth hacking: running experiments programmatically is how you validate the tactical aspect, but the moment you fully deploy them is a very strategic decision. Pro tip: always pay attention to the entire funnel, more often than not gains generated at some step of the funnel will have negative consequences above or below that specific point.
2. Break down those silos
You’ve heard the old saying about customers buying the hole not the shovel, right? Let’s push it further and be a bit controversial: today’s customers not only care about the hole (rather than the shovel), but they care about who they’re buying the hole from. In that sense, customers buy your brand and the values attached to it.
They don’t buy your marketing department, or your engineering team. They don’t care about how the sausage is made, or where the data is sitting, they expect a consistent high-quality experience at every touchpoint. They’re willing to pay a premium for that. The best-of-breed companies not only are very aware of this, but they operationalize this in a very intentional way.
Having the data somewhere (your CRM, your marketing automation solution, your datalake) doesn’t really mean anything until you’re able to surface the right insight at the right time. The best companies have a build their infrastructure to support that idea. That’s the second rule of Revenue Acceleration: timeliness is the ultimate value multiplier.
3. Everything is a value exchange
Companies at their very core can be seen as the sum of two functions — they need to be able to deliver value on one side, to be able to extract value on the other. Traditionally, companies would focus on providing lots and lots of value, postoping the capture of a portion of that value very far out in time and/or in the customer journey. Not anymore.
Which brings us to the 3rd rule of revenue acceleration: the atomization of the value exchange. Think about this concept in this way: instead of a big a-ha moment, lots of smaller nuggets of value. And every time you deliver a nugget of value to your customer, you can ask for something in return right away. Let’s go a step further: not only you “can”, you actually “should”.
Even more interestingly, every nugget of value you create/extract, decreases the friction toward the next stage of value exchange, enabling you to deliver/ask for more. It’s what’s called “Value Based Marketing”, although this is not only a marketing-related conversation anymore… it encompasses Product, Sales, Success, as well as the organization as whole, really.
4. Efficiency is the new north star
In today’s world it’s not enough anymore to deliver results. The most sophisticated operators always have an eye on what the cost of that result is: both in terms of people, time and resources… as well as its opportunity cost. How much efficiency to aim for (or not) is a strategic decision, but it’s always part of the conversation.
It’s the 4th rule of revenue acceleration: not every dollar is created equal. The cost of generating a customer differs based on the how that lead was generated, processed, activated, converted, retained and eventually upsold. This is a broader, more holistic approach compared to the simpler CAC/LTV ratio. Most companies think about this later on. The best ones? Very early.
Within this more holistic approach, one special mention needs to be reserved for Price & Packaging: one of the least understood and highest potential levers available. Pro Tip: you can almost always safely assume that you’re somehow underpricing the value you’re delivering to customers. Because of this, most sophisticated companies adjust prices every 18-24 months.
5. Deep & Narrow > Broad & Wide
When it comes to the definition of ICP (AKA Ideal Customer Profile), most companies have a very fuzzy and general, fundamentally data sparse, idea. Most of the times it will be based on the gut feeling of the founders / leadership team, in the best of cases it will be based on some market research. The issue with that?
Even the best market research only represents a small sample of your customer’s population (often just a single percentage point of it), more frequently than not done a long time prior (years, in some cases). That was good enough when sales cycles were long, markets didn’t evolve quickly, and data was scarce. Today? Not so much anymore.
That’s why the best operators also close the loop with marketing to feed into a better, deeper, narrower definition of the ideal customer profile that’s almost entirely data-driven as well as evolving in real-time. Effectively, the net result is transforming the conversion funnel into a virtuous feedback loop based on a full customer view across functions & department.