Sustaining Sales Growth and Revenue Acceleration
In my previous blogpost, we discussed how difficult sales success can be for the first salesperson in a company. But having passed that hurdle does still not equal a check mark for sustained revenue acceleration.
One is not done
Let’s say that the company finally found a good salesperson. One who can produce real sales growth to accelerate your revenues. As we have concluded earlier, that can be very hard to do when you have a groundbreaking product. Often, only the founder and the development staff really know and understand the product. Prospects, customers, partners, and even some employees all lack a deeper understanding. The understanding needed to either buy or sell a product that introduces even a slightly new way of doing things.
But let us also say that you finally crossed that chasm. Revenue acceleration has finally happened, validating many man-years of development and hard work. Founders and investors bring out the “hockey stick” – projecting explosive sales growth over the next five years. First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin, as Leonard Cohen sings.
Two isn’t necessarily true
Two years later, deep frustration has often replaced that euphoria. As it turns out, finding successful salesperson Two, Three, and Four is just as difficult as finding salesperson One. But we fixed that problem, didn’t we? Salesperson One knows his/her stuff now. Knowledge transfer should be easy now. But it rarely is. Very often the knowledge isn’t documented. It might be more of an individually developed, trial-and-error method that the successful salesperson has implemented.
So the early success might not be easily replicated to new salespersons. Even if the sales approach can be consciously described, salesperson One might not be very good at teaching or otherwise transferring expertise.
The predictable result is revenue figures with poor acceleration. The same year after year – despite expert sales hires and tons of very hard work. That leads to deeply disappointed founders, investors, developers, salespersons, and partners. And sometimes destroyed careers and relationships.
Companies that succeed in accelerating revenue are therefore that much more interesting to look at. They create and use a scalable sales process. And a marketing process that supports sales. Stay tuned for a real-world example that created billions of shareholder value.