Rethink Your B2B Revenue Model

Author: 
Tom Urie, President and CRO, Optymyze

Early in my career, I made the not-so-typical move from engineering to marketing and spent 15 years innovating and creating events, programs, content, processes, and systems that challenge the status quo.

However, it was when I had the opportunity to build a sales organization that my perspective and point of view shifted dramatically. I had supported sales throughout my career, but when it came to the age-old argument about who was to blame if sales failed to hit the mark, I was squarely in marketing’s corner: “we” always produced more than enough leads.

Turns out, the leads weren't good, the process was backwards, and sales was shouldering all the burden.

In the traditional marketing-then-sales structure, marketing does its thing (finding targets, sending emails, capturing clicks), and then throws a name over the wall for sales to do its thing (introduce the company, discover/challenge, educate on the offering, propose a solution). Both functions have their own processes and goals however, those goals often conflict. Worse yet, neither side typically has visibility into the other. The result: misalignment and finger pointing. The bottom line: the approach is inherently flawed.

What began as a hunch has continuously been validated over the years, both from personal experience and in scientific research. In fact, findings from recent Gartner CEB research confirmed that a shift  must take place since the customer journey is not linear, but instead a maze, where buyers jump back and forth from from one point on the journey to another throughout their search for a solution.

After going through the process of building out a marketing-then-sales organization and suffering from the same challenges, I designed and implemented an altogether new way to think about generating revenue -- a six step model that turns the “then” into “and.”

Expect Victory

Always expect that you’ll win every deal you go after. That simple mindset shift will drastically change your organization’s approach to execution.

This starts with targeting, which is often underutilized but can make or break revenue efficiency. Start by building a list of target accounts that match the profile of your ideal customer. Those accounts are your opportunities. If targeted correctly, every one of those accounts can benefit from your solution. The question is not if, but when that account will turn into a customer.

Know What You Need Before You Begin

Once you make the first mental shift from if to when, the rest of the model begins to fall into place. List all the activities connected to winning and every touchpoint that leads up to the client’s signature. Were every one of those touchpoints critical to winning the deal? Probably not.

Simplify this list by determining the information needed to become an expert on the account and specify the behaviors that changed to bring the customer through the buyer’s journey – if an item isn’t on the checklist, it’s not needed.

Remove Subjectivity

With the ability of today’s tools to track every action and reaction, organizations have an abundance of information available to them. Some of that data is fantastic and objective, however much more of it is subjective.

Increase efficiency by removing subjectivity in favor of gathering more accurate and insightful data. You know what you need to win the deal – you’ve already compiled the checklist. Your challenge is to execute without assumptions, and that means you need to ask questions.

Align Skills and Tools to the Processes

Traditionally, demand generation functions are focused on quantity of leads, while sales development sets up meetings. Neither has visibility into what the other is doing.

With a well-thought-out checklist of objectives, everyone knows what needs to be accomplished to close a deal. To effectively execute, think in terms of business processes and the skills needed to achieve the desired outcome. This opens the door for anyone in the organization to contribute.

Don’t Wait to Check Off a Box

This model isn’t sequential. With visibility into what needs to be done to win the deal, anyone can contribute at any time. The more boxes you can check off, the higher your probability of winning.

You might feel unnerved by the thought of the chaos that could ensue if everyone in marketing and sales jumps onto the same opportunity at the same time. However, this model has one last component that provides order to the process while also controlling the spend.

Double Down

Increase your investment in an opportunity based on its progression. It’s like doubling down in a game of blackjack: you learn more, you invest more. Simply match your investment to the probability of the win.

This model makes the process of generating revenue systematic - everyone knows what needs to be done to win the business. While it does change the application and goals of sales and marketing skills and activities, it doesn’t replace the need for a strong brand, go-to-market strategy, and product.

Tom Urie is president and chief revenue officer at Optymyze, which enables sales improvement with cloud platform technology.