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The Revenue Room™ - Building Your Revenue Operating Plan

by
Heather Holst-Knudsen
December 7, 2023

The 3rd installment of The Journey to Revenue Excellence Blog Series

In our preceding blogs, we've shed light on The Revenue Room™ and Revenue Kaizen, presenting pivotal operating principles to elevate revenue into a center of excellence in B2B enterprises. Our focus now shifts to the intricate components that make revenue an essential business process, exploring how to implement and manage these elements effectively.

The Essence of Revenue as a Business Process

Revenue Operating Plan Steps

Following the steps of the Revenue Operating Plan is crucial, especially in the B2B sector, as it lays the groundwork for a systematic and efficient approach to revenue generation. By aligning products with customer needs and demands, and engaging effectively with target segments, businesses ensure that their offerings are both relevant and compelling. The execution phase, which focuses on managing the sales pipeline, leverages data-driven strategies to optimize sales processes and reduce revenue risks. The delivery stage is key to fulfilling customer expectations and building long-term value, fostering customer loyalty and retention. Finally, the expansion phase concentrates on growing business within the existing customer base, through upselling and cross-selling, which is essential for sustainable growth. The iterative nature of the 'Rinse, Lather, Repeat' step, using data to continuously refine and scale operations, ensures that the business stays agile and responsive to market changes. Implementing these steps effectively results in a robust, customer-centric revenue model that drives business success and resilience.

  • Build: Align products with customer needs and demands, ensuring future offerings are equally aligned.
  • Engage: Generate demand within target segments and ensure alignment across marketing, business development, sales, and product teams. This stage is crucial for pipeline development and acceleration.
  • Execute: Optimize pipeline management for predictable closures. Utilize data for identifying risks and seizing opportunities while enabling sales leaders to provide real-time coaching and deal guidance.
  • Deliver: Commit to delivering value that exceeds customer expectations, using data to pinpoint product opportunities and unmet needs.
  • Expand: Focus on retaining and enlarging your client base through upselling and cross-selling within existing accounts.
  • Rinse, Lather, Repeat: Continually refine and scale processes using data-driven insights.

Aligning Revenue-Critical Roles in Phases

Implementing a phased approach to align revenue-critical roles is vital. Starting with the most obvious alignments, the process evolves through four distinct phases, each adding more departments into the alignment, from Sales and Customer Success to including Marketing, Operations, and Product teams. Data is pivotal in this alignment, fostering collaborative, data-driven decision-making.

"Revenue critical roles'' refer to key organizational functions that directly influence and drive revenue generation. These roles are pivotal in ensuring the financial success of a company. In the B2B information sector, the roles are more expansive than in other B2B businesses. They span across various departments, each contributing uniquely to the revenue stream. Here's a breakdown of some of these roles and their primary functions:

SALES

Function:  Responsible for directly selling products or services to customers. They play a crucial role in meeting sales targets, developing sales strategies, managing the sales team, and building relationships with key clients.

SALES MARKETING

Function: Focus on creating and implementing marketing strategies that enhance brand recognition and generate leads for the sales team. Their role involves market research, campaign creation, digital marketing, and tracking the effectiveness of marketing efforts in terms of ROI and lead generation.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

 Function: Tasked with identifying new business opportunities, partnerships, and markets. They are crucial in expanding the company’s client base and finding new revenue streams. Their role often overlaps with sales and marketing and while common in most B2B businesses, not as common in B2B information sectors.

CUSTOMER SUCCESS & OPERATIONS

Function: Ensure customer satisfaction and retention, which is critical for recurring revenue and upselling opportunities. They work to understand customer needs, address issues, and provide solutions that enhance the customer experience. In B2B information, customer operations includes:

  • Digital advertising operations
  • Demand generation operations
  • Event operations
  • Subscription management
  • Membership management
  • And more

REVENUE OPERATIONS

Function: Oversee the integration and alignment of sales, marketing, and customer success operations. They are crucial for streamlining processes, optimizing the sales funnel, and ensuring that the different departments work cohesively towards revenue goals.

PRODUCT

Function: Oversee the development and lifecycle of a product. Product teams ensure that products meet market demands and customer needs, directly influencing the sales potential of the product. In the world of business information - eg.  media, events, price reporting, marketplaces - the product eco-system includes but is not limited to:

  1. Audience: Build and sustain a viewership, readership or attendance base, which in turn can drive advertising revenue, sponsorship revenue, tradeshow revenue, subscriptions, and brand partnerships.
  2. Content: Position the company as a trusted source of information. Create and curate relevant, high-quality content that meets the specific needs and interests of their business audience. In price 
  3. User Experience: Various roles within B2B information businesses impact user experience including event and digital operations. 

FINANCE

Function: Play a key role in revenue forecasting, budgeting, and financial analysis. They provide insights into financial performance, cost control, and investment opportunities, aiding in strategic decision-making.

Each role contributes to the revenue pipeline in different but interconnected ways. Their functions are crucial in driving sales, optimizing marketing efforts, maintaining customer relationships, and ultimately, ensuring the financial health and growth of the organization.

Aligning KPIs and Outcomes

Creating revenue-impacting KPIs for the aligned organization is a crucial step. These KPIs span across different departments - Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, Operations, Product, and Finance - each with its specific set of metrics that align with overall revenue goals. We will do a deep-dive into the specific KPIs in an upcoming blog. Make sure to sign up for blog alerts so you can be notified when we post.

Aligning KPIs

Standardization in The Revenue Room™

Standardization plays a crucial role in data-driven revenue organizations for several key reasons:

1. Enhances Data Quality and Integrity: Standardization ensures that data across the organization is consistent and uniform. When data is standardized, it reduces errors and discrepancies, improving the overall quality and reliability of the data. This is especially important in data-driven businesses where decisions are based on data analysis. Poor data quality can lead to incorrect conclusions and poor decision-making.

2. Facilitates Data Integration: In today’s business environment, data often comes from various sources, including internal systems, social media, IoT devices/event tech, and third-party sources. Standardization allows for easier integration of these diverse data sets. It ensures that data from different sources can be combined and used together effectively, which is essential for comprehensive analysis and insights.

3. Improves Efficiency: Standardized data streamlines processes and saves time and resources. It reduces the need for manual data cleaning and transformation, allowing data scientists and analysts to focus on higher-value tasks such as analysis and interpretation. This can lead to faster insights and more agile decision-making.

4. Enables Scalability: As businesses grow, so does the volume and complexity of their data. Standardization creates a framework that can easily scale, accommodating increasing amounts of data without sacrificing quality or performance. This scalability is vital for data-driven businesses that need to adapt to changing market conditions and business needs quickly.

5. Supports Compliance and Data Governance: With the increasing importance of data privacy and security regulations (like GDPR, CCPA, etc.), standardization aids in compliance. It ensures that data handling across the organization meets legal and regulatory requirements. Moreover, standardized data supports robust data governance, allowing organizations to manage their data more effectively and securely.

6. Facilitates Better Analytics and Machine Learning: Standardized data is critical for accurate analytics and machine learning models. If you need predictive analytics, they won’t happen without standardization. There is no way to create the model accurately. Inconsistent or poor-quality data can lead to biased or invalid model results. Standardization ensures that the data fed into these models is accurate and consistent, leading to more reliable and actionable insights.

7. Enhances Data Sharing and Collaboration: In large organizations and across different departments, data sharing and collaboration are essential. Standardization ensures that everyone is on the same page, allowing different teams to understand and use the data similarly. This uniform understanding is crucial for collaborative projects and cross-functional teams.

The Net Net

Transforming revenue into a critical business process is not just about adopting new strategies or technologies; it’s about a holistic transformation of your business’s approach to revenue generation. It requires continuous improvement, standardization, and alignment across all departments. By following the outlined components and phases, businesses can effectively make revenue a center of excellence, paving the way for sustained growth and success in the competitive B2B landscape.

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About The Author

Heather Holst-Knudsen has deep roots in the B2B world, growing up in the renowned Thomas Publishing Company. With years of experience and a passion for the industry, she has significantly contributed to digital innovation and monetizing audience engagement. Holst-Knudsen's expertise led her to found H2K Labs, specializing in generating financial returns from data and driving revenue and profitability.

Have a question or want to share your perspective? Email me and let’s set up a time to speak.  

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