Business Leaders running today’s organisations place a heavy emphasis on profit. Profit growth always requires top-line revenue growth, and they expect every one of their business units to be aligned with this growth plan.

How can you test this?  Here are 10 critical topics to validate your revenue growth plan against:

1.  Market conditions:

Have you got a handle on the changes in client buying patterns in this disrupted economy?

a.  How engaged are your clients?

b.  What is your next new target client segment to gain new growth?

c.  What has changed in their organisations, and in the method of purchasing by their end clients?

2. Client segmentation:

Have you re-segmented your clients in the past year?

a.  Is there a strategy in place to review how you treat clients who have not spent money with you in the past year?

b.  How many will survive?

c.  Have they done anything in the past few months to “advance” even a single sales situation?

d.  Will the remaining clients enable you to achieve your growth targets?

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3. Sales model:

Have you reviewed your sales model?  Giving the most attention to your biggest client does not work anymore.  We have entered an age where the most profitable clients may very well be the middle-sized ones:

a.  Have you re-allocated your best sales resources to deal with the most profitable client segment?

b.  Are there any former marquee clients who are now eating up valuable resources?

4. Client engagement:

Are you calling higher and earlier with your clients?

a.  Compared to two years ago, are you getting more or less proactive invitations to bid on new business?

b.  Does your team have a method of engaging earlier and higher with your client to explore and develop problems around the very things that you are best at solving?

5. Sales and Marketing alignment:

How aligned is your sales and marketing functions?

a.  Does the messaging produced by marketing resonate with today’s reality when the rubber hits the road, and your sales team engages with a client?

b.  Is there a method of keeping marketing abreast of what your sales team is learning from the clients that have different issues and opportunities in the disrupted economy?

c.  How often do your best product marketing and sales people engage together – to jointly work on messaging?

6. Lead generation:

How satisfied are you with the results of Prospecting for new business?

a.  How often do you make outbound calls to your clients?

b.  How comfortable are your best sales resources in making outbound calls?

c.  Are the unsolicited outbound calls having a positive impact in setting up key meetings to win new business?

d.  Do you have a Digital strategy to create in-bound demand?

e.  Do you have a Client Referral and/or Centres of Influence (COI) strategy in place?

7.  Cross-selling:

How important is Cross-selling to existing clients?

a.  Do you have a cross-selling strategy in place?  Is it working?

b.  Is the cross-selling strategy focused on developing new needs with existing clients around specific problems that you solve?  Or does it serve to push new products or services to existing clients.

c.  What proportion of your clients have two or more lines of products or services from your organisation?  Is there scope for improving this proportion?

8. Critical deal conversion:

Compared to two years ago, are you winning more “must win” deals?

a.  How confident are you of winning at least 50% of the few critical opportunities in the sales pipeline?

b.  What resources can be devoted to winning more of these critical opportunities?  Is this justifiable?  What is preventing this from happening?

9.  Client-centric solutions:

How confident are you that the proposed solutions in your Top 10 deals meet the explicit strong needs, as viewed through the lens of the client?

a.  How well does your sales team focus on client’s problems (and the resulting consequences from these problems) that your solutions can solve?

b.  When you launch a new offering (product or service), how do you get your sales team up-skilled in getting clients talking about the problems and issues that lead directly to uncovering and developing needs for your solution?

10. Accurate forecasting:

How accurate is your sales forecasting?

a.  Do you have any leading sales indicators (e.g., the client’s actions to move the sale forward) in place to complement the lagging indicators (e.g., value of proposals in the sales pipeline)?

b.  Compared to three months ago, what has changed in those existing opportunities?

Why plan for growth?

If you are not stepping up to this new reality with confidence in at least seven of these 10 areas, then growth may stall and your job could be at risk.

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