The Challenge — Topline Revenue Growth
Topline revenue growth is one of the clearest signs that an organization is thriving. But consistent and profitable revenue growth is not easy to achieve. According to McKinsey, only one in eight companies recorded growth rates of more than 10 percent per year in the last ten years that preceded COVID.
And now, sales leaders face increased competitive, inflationary, and recessionary pressures coupled with a massive shift in employee and customer expectations.
6 Keys to Successful Growth from Growth Leaders
Our clients that have been growing successfully despite market challenges have six topline revenue growth similarities that have helped them stay ahead of the pack. Which sales growth strategy tips apply to your unique situation?
- Create Alignment for High Growth
Our organizational alignment research found that when companies align their strategy, culture, and talent for growth, they grow revenue 58% faster with 72% more profitability than their unaligned peers. To accomplish this feat, they ensure that their:
— Growth strategy is clear, believable, and implementable enough to their key stakeholders
— Workplace culture is healthy, high performing, and strategically aligned with topline revenue growth behaviors across the entire organization
— Talent Management Plan focuses on attracting, developing, engaging, rewarding, and retaining people that create revenue growth
For example, one recent client found that their growth strategy made sense but the way people were behaving, thinking, working was in complete conflict with their high growth plans. Only after redesigning how work got done and rewarded did the firm begin to grow.
Are you aligned for growth?
- Prioritize Your Competitive Advantage for High Growth
Perhaps the most powerful attribute of a potent revenue growth plan is being crystal clear and ruthlessly focused on how you distinguish your company from the competition in a way that is desirable and not easily replaced or replicated.
High revenue growth companies define their ideal target client and the unique value proposition that clearly distinguishes their offerings in the marketplace. They do not waste time trying to be all things to all people. In conjunction, growth companies know that “how they sell” also needs to be part of the differentiation equation.
To drive profitable revenue growth, your job as a growth leader is to clearly define what you do better than competitors and lean on that for your winning formula.
For example, one recent client saw their new business win rate triple after focusing on opportunities that fit their sweet spot versus chasing every sales lead.
Is your competitive advantage clear to your target clients?
- Embrace a Sales Driven Culture for High Growth
High growth companies embrace selling and helping customers to succeed. From marketing, to new business development, to customer service, to legal, everyone takes a customer centric approach to their work. Putting the customer first is an important first step in creating the company-wide growth mindset that builds long-lasting relationships with target customers.
For example, one client purposefully shifted from a “product-based culture” focused on product development and engineering to a “sales-driven culture” focused on understanding their clients, delivering unmatched client value, and putting rigor into their new business development process. After not growing for seventeen consecutive quarters, they grew 15% last year.
Do you have the sales driven culture required for high growth?
- Focus on Your Core Business While Being Opportunistic in Adjacencies for High Growth
Topline revenue growth leaders know that a healthy core business is the underpinning of a successful revenue growth strategy. They are crystal clear about the segments of their business with the highest performance and potential. These segments receive a purposeful disproportionate level of attention, investment, and support.
Once the core business is set up for continued growth, topline revenue growth leaders ensure that they are aware and ready to take advantage of related opportunities. Studies show that a company’s core business generates about 80% of growth. The remaining 20% comes from expanding into adjacent industries, offerings, and geographies.
For example, one client found that offering services by industry vertical versus as “one-off” solutions fueled revenue growth in current clients. Another client, based upon success in their local market, expanded internationally after finding out that their competitive advantage translated effectively across borders.
Are you programmatically rationalizing your business for growth?
- Choose M&A and “Lift Out” Opportunities Wisely
Organic revenue growth is hard to maintain over time. Few decisions can change the value of a company faster than a major acquisition. The highest growth companies can get more than one-quarter of their revenue growth from a smart stream of mergers, acquisitions, and lift-outs (hiring a high-performing team from a company).
When done strategically to drive growth, smart M&A’s can add attractive new product lines, provide needed facilities for expansion, open the door to high growth markets, thwart competitive threats, and deliver targeted expertise, intellectual property, and credibility in a particular market.
For example, Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel, and 20th Century Fox because each brought unique value to the table in terms of advanced animation practices, successful movie franchises, and content rights.
What opportunities do you have to grow combined businesses faster?
- Understand that Less Can Be More for High Growth
Just as high performing cultures regularly assess the effectiveness of individual team members, topline revenue growth leaders regularly evaluate the effectiveness of various components of their business. They proactively rationalize offerings and approaches and thin out slow-growing and needy businesses in favor of investing further in high growth areas that are easier to serve.
Do you have a proven process by which you continuously adjust your portfolio to take advantage of growth opportunities?
The Bottom Line
Is your business set up for high growth? Consider the keys to growth and follow what will make the most sense in your unique business.
To learn more about how to create topline growth, download How to Optimize Your Sales Force in the Face of Increased Performance Pressure