I have written previously about growth being the critical business imperative during these still challenging post-Recessionary times. Now, The Conference Board has further confirmed this thesis with a new global survey, which found that fueling business growth is the #1 issue for CEOs these days.
The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2011 survey polled more than 700 CEOs, presidents, and chairmen from across geographies and industries worldwide. According to Jonathan Spector, CEO of The Conference Board: “The global CEO consensus about 2011 suggests that growing one’s business is the key to success. Now more than ever, business leaders are turning to new ideas, products and markets to fuel growth, drive innovation, and remain competitive on the global stage.”
As Mr. Spector states, innovative ideas and products, and new markets are all key ingredients that senior executives are baking into their strategic growth plans. But, just as important, in my view, is improving the corporation’s sales efficiency and productivity – in fact, strengthening the entire revenue-generating process on an enterprise-wide basis.
In my experience, if there is one thing that CEOs and other top corporate officers think about when they wake up in the morning, it’s probably, “How do we improve our sales efficiency and productivity?” Nothing is more urgent for senior management, because nothing has more of a direct impact on driving top-line revenue growth. CEOs have already cut about as far as they can to shore up the bottom-line, so top-line growth is the new mantra of the C-suite.
The numbers prove how much room for improvement there is for corporations to raise their sales effectiveness metrics (which are a direct link to revenue performance results). Here are some statistics that graphically illustrate the point:
- 94% of marketing qualified leads will never close (SiriusDecisions)
- 52% of sales reps do not achieve their sales goals (CSO Insights, 2010 SPO Sales Strategy Analysis)
- 45% of sales reps’ time is spent on admin and prep work, not with customers (IDC Sales Advisory Practice)
- 15-year low in terms of sales productivity (Chief Sales Office, Insights Study)
As long as sales efficiency and productivity metrics are so anemic, it is going to be an enormous challenge for companies to achieve the ambitious growth targets that CEOs (and especially the financial community) are now demanding. The critical first step to confront this 21st Century growth challenge – and win – is to fundamentally transform the entire revenue process, not just tinker with separate, disconnected elements of sales and marketing (i.e., improving salesperson’s time efficiency or boosting lead flow).
End-to-End Process Drives Sales Efficiency and Revenue Results
What’s required is establishing an end-to-end, analytics-driven revenue process that revolutionizes the company’s entire sales and marketing engine – from generating the initial leads, to closing the ultimate sale. It’s akin to the global business/management movements that similarly revolutionized logistics in the 1980s with supply chain management, and production in the 1990s, with Six Sigma.
This end-to-end revenue process combines proven cloud-based technology, advanced analytics, expert guidance, and best practices that change forever how marketing and sales work – and, more importantly, how they work together. Because, breaking down the traditional silos that still separate the marketing and sales functions is a vital part of what makes this new end-to-end revenue approach so powerful and effective.
Of course, I am talking about Revenue Performance Management (RPM). RPM is an entirely new category of technology applications and business-building solutions and services that have the potential of making the previous CRM revolution look small by comparison. RPM accelerates revenue growth by expanding lead flow, optimizing sales and marketing investments, and aligning teams to produce maximum revenue performance and results.
As a fully integrated, end-to-end solution, RPM is all about making the sales rep more effective at every stage of the revenue chain. It gives sales (and marketing) the tools, information, and insights they need to have a much clearer view of when the prospect truly is “ready to buy,” and not still gathering information and advice from trusted sources (typically on the Web and through social networks).
With RPM, corporate sales and marketing departments can increase their lead quality, improve lead-to-opportunity rates, strengthen opportunity-to-win rates, and drive deal velocity. Generating outsized revenue growth in 2011 and beyond is not just a dream of CEOs and their C-suite colleagues. By taking a true end-to-end approach to the entire revenue process, and employing proven RPM solutions, companies are right now accelerating their growth and results to levels they never would have thought possible before.
Phil Fernandez is President and CEO of Marketo. He is a 26-year Silicon Valley veteran and has the scars (and a couple of successful IPOs) to prove it. Prior to Marketo, he was President and COO of Epiphany, a public enterprise software company known for its visionary marketing products.
This article was reposted with permission and was originally published on Marketo’s blog.