Five Factors Affecting Revenue Growth

According to research from Gartner, only 6% of chief sales officers (CSOs) report that they are extremely confident in their team’s ability to meet or exceed their revenue goals. This means that for the vast majority of sales leaders, reaching revenue growth targets is a high-priority challenge. 

At the same time, the B2B purchasing process has changed entirely in the digital era. To stay competitive, companies must adapt and keep up with their dynamic customer bases as their buyers navigate the digital world on their own terms. But how can companies do this?

The following five factors offer insight into the key elements that impact your company’s revenue growth.

Factor 1: Choose the Right Market Focus

Choosing the right market focus for your company is the single most important factor impacting your revenue growth. It’s essentially the keystone of your marketing and sales activities, the one crucial element that can make or break your revenue growth.

A well-chosen, narrow market focus can result in millions of dollars in the sales pipeline, as well as more high-quality leads each month. 

How does this work? A narrow target market empowers you to focus on excelling in a specific area. You can develop in-depth knowledge of your target market that would be impossible to develop otherwise. This increases efficacy and boosts the number of high-quality leads generated by your marketing efforts. 

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Factor 2: The Sales Process Is the Buyer’s Process

The old sales process is out of date. The tactics that may have worked in the past—like cold calls and mass email marketing campaigns—are quickly becoming obsolete. 

Today’s buyers spend only 5% of their time with a given sales representative during the purchasing process, on average. They spend more time researching solutions online, preferring to discover for themselves whether or not a vendor is well-suited to fulfill their needs. 

In the new buyer’s landscape, you must meet buyers on their terms—which involves creating highly individualized content to demonstrate what you have to offer your target market. 

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Factor 3: Align Sales and Marketing for High Growth

To facilitate revenue growth, marketing has to be directly linked to sales outcomes. It’s not enough for marketing to simply generate brand awareness anymore—marketing strategies must result in high-quality leads that are likely to start a conversation with sales. 

In fact, at least 50% of sales that close should be a direct result of your marketing strategies

To align sales and marketing, make sure that your sales goals are the motivation behind your marketing efforts. Uniting sales and marketing with a common goal will change the way you approach marketing, transforming it from a cost center to a revenue generator. Read on to discover how to accomplish this.

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Factor 4: Use Intelligent Sales Data to Grow Sales

How do you ensure that your marketing and sales departments are up-to-date and in alignment? The answer is simple—use intelligent sales data to guide your strategies, rather than historical data and experience-based knowledge.

One goal of intelligent sales data is to keep your strategies as up-to-date as possible. You should be responding to industry changes and accommodating new buyer preferences in real-time, not years into the future. This makes intuitive sense—using historical data, you are responding to buyers’ past preferences, not their current needs. Intelligent sales data keeps your strategies cutting-edge. This will keep your company from falling behind.

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Factor 5: Importance of Managing by Metrics

You can’t fix what you can’t see. That’s what the final factor is all about—to successfully increase revenue growth, you must track the right metrics and use them to build effective strategies for sales and marketing.

Using metrics to manage your strategies will provide you with an objective understanding of how your sales and marketing efforts are performing. The right metrics will expose where you can improve, where you’re already excelling, and everything in between. This is essential to increasing revenue growth. 

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Revenue Growth: Focus on Buyers

One key element all five factors have in common is a focus on the buyer. At every stage of the process, successful sales and marketing strategies place the buyer front and center. 

This is what B2B buyers expect in the current era. They want to work with vendors who understand their industry and anticipate their needs, preferences, and habits. To put it simply, today’s buyers have higher expectations than ever before. The companies that deliver revenue growth in this environment are prepared to meet and exceed these expectations.

Further Resources:

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Factor 1: Choose the Right Market Focus

Successful marketing isn’t about reaching the broadest audience possible—it’s about reaching the right audience for your company. 

You have a limited marketing budget, which means that you have to maximize the ROI of each dollar you spend. Without a defined target market, you will waste your resources reaching market segments that aren’t the right fit for your product.

The challenge is to target and reach customers who are most likely to convert into sales. You don’t want to waste your money on anything else.

By targeting a narrow market, you can increase your depth of understanding in a specific industry. By offering more individualized information that is relevant to potential customers, you stand out from the competition. 

Remember, your goal is to get on the shortlist of vendors the buyer will contact. Buyers want to know that you can offer the right solutions for their specific pain points. 

To do this, you’ll need to develop an in-depth understanding of your buyers. Not only do you need to understand their industry, but you also need to understand what motivates your buyers as individuals. This process is also known as persona development, which involves conducting thorough research to create a profile of the types of customers that are most likely to purchase your product. 

Let’s make the concept of choosing a market focus more concrete with a case study. 

Case Study: Establishing Market Presence with Digital Content Strategy

Without a specific industry target, your marketing efforts could draw the attention of companies in any number of industries. Not all of these companies will be the right fit for your product. 

In this instance, the client was a digital technology services provider that built digital capabilities for its clients. They provided services to any incoming request and did not target a specific industry. Company executives knew they had to focus on a specific industry sector to execute its outbound strategy, but which one was the right one?

We helped the client analyze its track record to determine which industries were the ideal targets. Then, we conducted in-depth industry research to narrow down the top industry that was worth targeting. 

With one specific industry in mind, the next steps were to create content for this industry and generate targeted demand through email campaigns and phone prospecting. 

As a result of this digital content strategy, the client generated 16 high-quality leads per month, increased name recognition, and brought 4 million dollars into the sales pipeline. This success story demonstrates the value of focusing your marketing efforts on a specific industry. 

The Right Market Focus: Key to Success

With a narrow target market, you can develop your understanding of your target market to a greater degree. You can devote more of your resources to specializing in this industry, to refining your knowledge of their pain points, current and future challenges, and crucially, how your company and its services can help. 

There’s a reason that finding the right market focus is Factor 1—it’s the first thing companies should nail when developing a strategy for increasing revenue. It will make your company stand out, and increase the effectiveness of the following factors—starting with the buyer’s process in Factor 2

Resources:

5 Ways to Reach Your High Performance Marketing Goals

Case Study: Establishing Market Presence with Digital Content Strategy

Persona Development & Targeting 

The Creative Content River White Paper

Factor 2: The Sales Process is the Buyer’s Process

Does this story sound familiar? A salesperson blindly calls and emails through a list of contacts, hoping that someone will respond so he can convince them to schedule a meeting. On the off chance that he is successful, he will conduct the meeting as follows: First, he will tell the prospect all about himself. Then, he’ll ask the respondent about their company. Regardless of the response, he will then launch into selling his product. 

This clunky, sales-centered approach is the old sales process that prioritizes the salesperson’s preferences. There’s a reason this process is ineffective—despite its name, the sales process is not really about the salesperson. Buyers aren’t interested in working on a salesperson’s schedule—they have their own priorities to fulfill, and they appreciate salespeople who anticipate and respond to their needs and work with their schedule. 

So, calling it “the sales process” is a misnomer. Your focus should be on the buyer’s needs, desires, and timeline, making it more accurate to call it the buyer’s process.

To fully understand the buyer’s perspective along their journey toward making a purchase, let’s look at the purchasing process from their point of view. 

The Buyer’s Process

Today’s buyers start with research. Once they recognize the problem that needs solving, a team member begins looking for answers online. They’ll comb through blogs, articles, industry reports, and other sources, all in search of the best possible solution to the problem at hand. Your job is to stand out amongst this crowded market and make it to the shortlist of vendors they will contact. 

To stand out, your content must address exactly what your buyers are looking for. This is where your in-depth knowledge of your target market comes into play (as you already know from Factor 1). 

The reality is that buyers only spend 5% of their time with a given sales rep during the purchasing process, on average. As they spend less time with sales reps and more time researching online, your content is becoming increasingly important

Buyers make the crucial decision of whether or not to include your company on the shortlist based almost entirely on your content. So, you must ensure that your content is highly valuable, relevant to their needs, and surfaces on search results pages. 

As you can see from the following infographic, marketers use a variety of content types designed to appeal to buyers at different phases of the process. 

Content to demonstrate your comprehensive knowledge of the potential buyer’s needs at every stage of their journey is the key to standing out in a crowded market. This approach works with the buyer’s preferred process—conducting independent research—and provides them with useful information to substantiate their purchasing decision.

Ultimately, the key to building a successful marketing and sales strategy is to focus on what the buyer wants. Your focus on a single target market will shine through your content and encourage readers to set up a meeting. Now the question becomes—how do you ensure that the right people are finding your content? Read Factor 3 to find out. 

Resources:

The Creative Content River White Paper

Content That Converts White Paper

Fixing a Broken B2B Sales Model

Digital Marketing Mix Infographic

Factor 3: Align Sales and Marketing for High Growth

Marketing and sales should work hand in hand to increase growth. Ideally, marketing efforts will deliver about 50% of the leads that the sales department will convert into buyers. 

Start with your revenue goal and work backward from there to determine the targets your sales and marketing efforts should strive to reach. This process will align sales and marketing in pursuit of a common goal: growing revenue. 

To achieve this goal, marketing has to deliver the right kinds of leads. It’s not just about branding and spreading the word—it’s about finding highly motivated leads interested in purchasing the product you’re selling, capturing their attention, and nurturing them along the funnel toward sales.

The following infographic shows exactly what we mean when we talk about funneling prospects toward sales

However, for every highly qualified lead that is likely to convert into a sale, there are plenty of less-qualified leads who will find their way into your funnel. Maybe they’re students researching a project, or an HR manager creating a job description—whatever the reason, they’ve come across your content, shared their contact information to download it, and are not at all interested in purchasing your product.

You should choose targeted keywords to filter out as many of these leads as possible, but you will probably still receive some low-quality leads. Now, it’s the marketing department’s job to sort through these leads and separate the promising ones from the rest. 

Automation is key in this instance. Your marketing department is busy with strategic high-level tasks, and separating leads manually is time-consuming. Automate the process so you receive more of the job titles you want to receive while minimizing the number of low-quality leads. 

The goal is to streamline the lead generation process to deliver the highest quality leads possible to your sales team. To accomplish this, both departments must be on the same page in terms of their goals, progress, and how these indicators will be measured. 

Read Factor 4 for more information about automating intelligent sales data to grow sales.

Resources:

Fixing a Broken B2B Sales Model

High Growth Lead Generation Cheat Sheet

3 Prospecting Strategies and Why They’re Effective

Four Funnels Infographic

High Growth Lead Generation Playbook

Factor 4: Use Intelligent Sales Data to Grow Sales

Traditionally, sales planning relied on account segmentation, driven by historical knowledge of the market rather than up-to-date facts. But things have changed.

In a post-COVID-19 world, historical data may not be relevant at all. The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have long-lasting effects on consumers and companies alike. So, using outdated data to develop your sales strategy will leave you struggling to keep up with buyers’ needs in real-time.

Experts predict that smarter, more responsible, and scalable AI will be key to growing revenue from sales in today’s world. Access to constantly updating information about your target markets and their industry trends will be essential to developing effective sales strategies.

As we discussed in Factor 3, sales and marketing should work hand in hand to deliver sales growth. Intelligent data is the way to ensure that this process is working as it should be. 

But where does this data come from? Automated sales and marketing tools will provide you with the information you need to develop an effective and dynamic strategy for increasing growth. Automated tools simplify the process of collecting useful sales data, which makes it easier to put this information into action. 

Using Intelligent Sales Data: Good Things Take Time

In response to a drop in sales, the sales department might be too eager to make adjustments without taking the time to review performance and properly diagnose the issue affecting sales. A sales diagnosis is key to determine what went wrong and how to fix it.

The data you gather from practices like these should form the basis of your sales and marketing strategy. Rushing into a quick fix without uncovering and addressing the root of the problem will lead to more issues down the line. 

Taking the time to implement intelligent sales data tools, interpret that data, and apply it accurately to your situation is essential to developing the strongest possible sales strategy. This is similar to the process of managing by metrics, the subject of the fifth and final factor affecting revenue growth. 

Resources:

Fixing a Broken B2B Sales Model 

SOMAmetrics Sales Strategy

The Importance of Performing Regular Sales Diagnoses

Sales Diagnosis: A Sales Game-Changer

Factor 5: Importance of Managing by Metrics

To effectively foster growth, you must know exactly what is and isn’t working and why. This is what managing by metrics is all about—to develop growth-minded strategies for sales and marketing, you must track the right metrics in real-time.

Below, you’ll find some examples of critical metrics to track:

  • Closing ratios
  • Sales cycles
  • Average deal sizes
  • Average discount given
  • Quota attainment rate
  • MQL to SQL ratio
  • SQL to closed deal ratio
  • Sales budget per sales dollars
  • Marketing budget per sales dollars

Metrics like these provide you with crucial information that you can use to substantiate your strategic business decisions. They give you an objective and evidence-based measuring stick to use to foster your company’s growth. 

Let’s take a look at a case study that demonstrates the power of metrics in action.

Case Study: 246% Sales Pipeline Growth in 90 Days

This client was a software vendor targeting the financial services industry. Their goal was to increase the number of clients served and bring in more new business from completely new customers—a crucial challenge for any company. So, how did we go about strategizing for this level of growth?

Measuring the right metrics was key to developing and implementing a sales plan that could double sales from new customers in 12 months. To achieve this goal, all salespeople had a set number of activities to complete each week, including calls, emails, and demos. 

The proof is in the results—after 90 days, the company saw a 620% increase in outbound sales calls and achieved 246% growth in the sales pipeline. The result was a 67% increase in the number of deals closed each month.

This level of growth wouldn’t have been possible without regular and accurate measurements of strategic sales metrics. As this case study demonstrates, setting attainable, evidence-based goals for growth is a key step toward building your high-growth lead generation strategy.  

Managing by metrics can expose areas of weakness in your sales and marketing strategies, providing useful data detailing what you can improve on. This is crucial to any sales and marketing strategy today.

Final Thoughts

Through these five factors, we’ve provided a comprehensive overview of the key practices that impact revenue growth in today’s world. This knowledge will form the basis of a sales and marketing strategy that delivers revenue growth now and into the future.

Please contact us with any questions or thoughts. We are here to help.

Resources

Case Study: 246% Sales Pipeline Growth in 90 Days

SOMAmetrics Sales Metrics & KPIs

High Growth Lead Generation Playbook