Missed Your Number? Target Your Customer Base

17 Nov 22

So you missed your number. It happens. What are actionable strategies commercial leaders can take now to avoid another tough quarter? Start by going back to the customer base to produce quick wins.

Economic uncertainty has been a mainstay in recent years. Couple that with the average tenure of a CRO at just 19 months, and it’s no wonder why many fail to gain any traction with their goals or achieve quota targets in any forecast period while in the role.

No sales leader has a perfect record of quota attainment. Because a breakdown in sales performance can happen at any time in your fiscal year, you need tactics your direct reports can employ, regardless of seasonality,  to increase commercial productivity.  While some go-to-market motions require several cycles to adjust, there are actions commercial leaders can execute in the short term to help right the ship.

In SBI's thousands of engagements, we've identified five actionable strategies that CROs should consider to drive measurable improvement in the next forecast period.  In the first of this series, we recommend targeting your existing customer base to produce quick wins.

#1 - Target your base to produce quick wins.

While it’s always attractive to capture new logos, sales cycles with new clients are often longer and more arduous than renewals or incremental sales to current clients. Fortunately, your existing account base can be a rich hunting ground for new opportunities. Focus on growing your team’s span of influence in key accounts, and honing upsell/cross-sell motions across the client-facing team.  Identify products and services that enhance the client's existing portfolio with an emphasis on cross-functional productivity.

Grow your span of influence in key accounts.

Do you have the right relationships in your existing accounts to accelerate growth? Particularly in complex sales, the client’s buying decision team (BDT) can comprise several people with varying roles and responsibilities in the decision-making process. How are your sellers gaining new contacts and growing their influence with decision-makers across all the relevant business units of your most important customers?

Identifying and gaining access to high-value members of the buyer’s team is critical for sellers. Having access to sell across the BDT will expand your company’s footprint in high-potential, under-penetrated accounts. Doing this at scale can have a dramatic impact on your ability to grow value with your current client base. Guide your sellers to take a fresh look at familiar accounts and look at new entry points that could lead to untapped opportunities.

Adopt a clear upsell/cross-sell motion for existing clients.

How are you positioning supplemental products and services to your existing clients? Without a clear upsell/cross-sell motion and proper incentive to execute, sellers may be content to allow buyers to simply repeat previous orders to avoid risking a “safe renewal.” In doing so, they’re not only jeopardizing the potential for additional revenue in the current quarter, but they’re also failing to educate buyers on the breadth of your offerings. Unaware of your full portfolio, buyers may divert wallet share to your competition for products and services you could offer. Or worse, they may shift all their business to a competitor that offers a more complete solution.

Clearly identified upsell/cross-sell processes enable sellers to better retain existing clients and extract greater customer lifetime value from their client base. Perhaps you’ve recently entered a new market, acquired new intellectual property, or developed a new product or service that could add value to existing accounts. Ensure your sellers have prescriptive sales motions in place to introduce a wider portfolio of offerings.

Align with Customer Success (CS) to help.

How are you enabling your Customer Success (CS) team to proactively uncover upsell/cross-sell opportunities? When CS has well-defined responsibilities in the opportunity management process, it can have a meaningful impact on demand generation and create opportunities in the pipeline. Identify specific actions in the renewal management cycle aimed at increasing deal size that can add incremental revenue to your renewals. Help the CS team engage existing clients in conversations about additional products and services and have a clear handoff process to sales.

To activate, the heads of sales and customer success should work jointly to ensure sellers and CSMs have a clear understanding of their responsibilities in the renewal process. Document those responsibilities in a renewal playbook (or better still, a specific playbook for upsell/cross-sell motions in the renewal cycle) with clear key performance indicators (KPIs) that define success and measure the margin contribution for opportunities sourced from CS.

There's no need to reinvent the wheel in producing quick wins to jumpstart a new quarter.  You already have clients and accounts that are buying from your team, so now is a good time to see where you might have opportunities to create more value, increase customer loyalty, and become indispensable.  By establishing tools and processes in targeting your base, you can set a cadence to revisit quarterly or at whatever time that makes sense for your business.

We would appreciate hearing from you on how you plan to create or accelerate growth in the upcoming quarters. Click here to let us know.