With the emergence of multiple selling channels and the rise of the subscription model, the need for a unified approach to revenue planning and execution should be a priority for every organization. As I have written about in my analyst perspective Revenue Management: The Opportunity for Innovation and Optimization, this need to unify the approach and focus on alignment across all revenue supporting teams in furtherance of an organization’s objectives and targets is of key importance to ensure that teams handle different aspects of a customer’s journey and experience. And, as I will further discuss, this alignment between groups is rarely a happy accident but rather the result of forward-looking, continuous planning.
Our research has shown that to support revenue targets, sales, customer service, account teams and marketing need to work in concert to ensure that each hand-off point results in continuing a positive customer experience. This leads to satisfied customers who not only remain customers but also represent opportunities to grow revenue through repeated purchases or new purchases of additional products and services.
At Ventana Research, we believe that by planning and aligning incentives alignment to ensure that all teams are working together, organizations can ensure the desired outcome of retaining, expanding existing and gaining new customers. We call this Revenue Performance Management or RPM. And by 2025, we believe the category of Sales Performance Management will evolve to become Revenue Performance Management and help one-quarter of organizations focus on supporting the CRO’s efforts across all channels. This is the natural successor to Sales Performance Management, or SPM, but targeted at a broader group of departments and employees and an expanded number of selling and buying channels. As part of this evolution, we examine the need for incentive compensation, and territories and account panning to extend to customer service teams, account teams and marketing.
But this is not just an annual exercise performed prior to the start of a new fiscal year; it’s a continuous process that relies on continuously monitoring and reporting against actual results and progress, and from projections and forecasts. To enhance this approach, organizations should be looking to supplement judgment with data-driven analysis and predictions to ensure that forward-looking projections are based not just on judgment but are augmented by dispassionate machine-based learning.
By continually comparing actual and projected outcomes to targets, organizations can ensure that incentives, processes and programs can be adjusted in real-time to make course corrections that result in an improved probability of hitting objectives, what we call, continuous planning.
But for this to happen, the process and technology employed needs to provide for this notion of a feedback loop in support of the need for continuous planning. If you are undertaking incentive design and territory planning on their own, or opportunity scoring and improved forecasting on its own, you will lower the probability of being able to respond quickly and positively to shortfalls and over time will exacerbate misalignment between teams. It’s imperative that organizations wanting to improve overall revenue management recognize that data on its own is not the answer. If you are unable to act on the information in a timely and coordinated manner, reports and dashboards will remain just that, numbers and graphs on a page.