Why Revenue Targets Must Start with Customer Experience


Weak data-informed decisions only lead to fractured sales revenue targets, declining morale with increased attrition rates, frustrated leaders and ultimately, poor customer experience.

All too often I see, sales strategies start with the CEO or C-Suite supporting an arbitrary growth ambition based on investor demands, new product developments, operational capacity; or some other internal driver, that has little evidence in customer demand.

The problem is that the annual sales target is set to support the business ambition and developed with little research into the relationship between the customer experience and the projected customer demand. Data must substantiate the business ambition with informed evidence backed by real numbers with resources allocated and cost implications. There must be a realistic and well-informed sales strategy and process created to support the desired growth ambition based on the key customers’ experience.

With economic uncertainty and tightening margins, many sales teams are already running at full capacity when they are hit with higher internally focused sales targets. According to Eric Markowitz, INC. “over the past four years, sales quotas have risen nearly 33%, yet the percentage of representatives making their quota has fallen by 25%. No wonder an average of 50% of salespeople fails to hit quota, and critically, are set-up to fail to meet customers’ expectations.

Without substantiated strategies to fill the gap between business ambitions and current situation, progress is unlikely to happen.

Start with The Right End in Mind. 

The objective is not to sell more; the aim is to understand the customer needs better so the business can add value with every interaction. If the end in mind is not focused on your key customers and creating excellent customer experiences, then the business ambitions are in trouble!

Alice Heiman is quoted as saying “Customer Close, not Salespeople,” customers decide in their timeframe, and this does not always align with the monthly, quarterly or annual quota calendar. However, the closer you are to your key customer, the better you can anticipate and predict their needs, demands and decisions and meet their expectations.

Piling more pressure on sales to deliver unsubstantiated targets will not give the results the CEO expects. There is so much more to consider in meeting an annually increasing target!

  • According to Temkin Group even a moderate improvement in Customer Experience would impact the revenue of a typical $1 billion company an average of $775 million over three years.
  • According to Salesforce, 74% of business buyers say they will pay more for a great experience.
  • According to Dimension Data, 84% of organizations that improve Customer Experience report an increase in revenue.

Five Considerations to Fill the Business Ambition and Results Gap

  1. Whether filling the gap with increased volume, value or new accounts, each initiative requires different strategies, resources and cost implications. Assess which of these strategies deliver the quick wins and which, need more prolonged investment of time or resources?
  2. What is the relationship value of your current key customers, and do you have the breath of relationship in the target customer organisations? If not, what’s the strategy to fill this gap?
  3. Do you understand the value you add to your key customer that they also value? Are you able to easily turn the tap and capitalise on adding more value and creating more opportunities?
  4. What are the competitive nature of your product or service and the adaptability of your supply chain? Can you gain a competitive and innovation advantage from your supply chain?
  5. How close are you to your key customers’ decision-making unit, and how well do you understand the customer needs and business ambition? If not enough, do you need to spend time identifying influencers and nurturing key customer relationships to improve your standing and preferred status?

What’s the Strategy for Developing Your Key Relationship and Opportunities?

Having identified your key customer quick wins and the investment opportunities, review how dedicated the whole business is to give the customer value in every interaction and delivering excellent customer experiences? Then create the personalised customer roadmap:

  • Understand that the business ambitions must be driven by having deep and meaningful conversations with key customers.
  • Deploy active listening strategies and asking strategic searching questions to understand the customer better.
  • Personalise the growth strategies, and customer account plans to serve the customer needs and their growth ambitions better.

With the customer account plans in hand, you can confidently feed the realistic and relevant data into the annual business target. You must align with where your customers see the struggle and how they see the value-added.

Adding the right value and experience at each interaction involves a whole company approach to develop the depth and breadth of relationships and moving the key customer along a mutually agreed roadmap.

If you understand where the key customers are on the roadmap and understand how you are performing in their experience expectations, then you can deploy the necessary resources to best support the customer decision.

The mutually agreed account roadmap must not be limited to the internal annual target but look beyond this. Instead, focus on how you can build the key customer relationship long term to a mutually beneficial partnership that through the mutually agreed roadmap that secures revenue ambitions far beyond an annual target.

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Scale Your Sales Janice B Gordon

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