Who We Serve The Revenue Organization
Generating revenue is a complex process comprised of a myriad of sub-processes that cross multiple departments. To maximize revenue and minimize costs, all those components must be integrated and work in coordination. A weakness in any sub-process will hinder the overall performance of the entire organization. In recognition of the complexity and need for coordination, many companies combine the entire revenue generating process into a single entity - whether a formal organization or inter-departmental team - termed the Revenue Organization.
The Revenue Organization includes of all of the departments that are involved in generating revenue. It's also described as all of the functions that are responsible for establishing and implementing your go-to-market plan. With our focus on how people buy, we define the Revenue Organization as everyone who plays a role in helping a customer throughout the entire buying cycle - from identifying target markets and guiding them to make a decision to make a purchase from you through the successful use or consumption of that good or service.
It is important to note that we focus on the function that an individual or department performs rather than their title. Larger companies typically divide the various revenue functions into discrete departments with the traditional titles and have individuals perform specific activities within that department. Smaller companies and independent professionals may not have separate departments, and the relationship between titles and functions is much more fluid. For them, the revenue functions might be performed by just one person, a small number of individuals, or can even be a part of everyone's role. And whether a large or small company, many of these functions can be, and often are, outsourced. And an outsourced function is still a part of your revenue organization.
For instance, we look at who is involved in helping a prospect from being 'unaware' to a 'recognition' that they have a problem or need. In a large company, that would typically be a function of the marketing department - and specific individuals (advertisers, product marketers, etc.) within that department. But, in that company the same function may also be performed by sales representatives when the are cold calling. And for an independent professional, marketing (e.g., creating and posting ads) might be an ancillary function of one of the office staff or be conducted by the business owner. From our perspective, identifying who is responsible for a given function and how effectively they are executing it is more important than their formal title.
A given function within the revenue organization may or may not have direct face-to-face contact with the buyer. Whether they have direct contact or not, all functions - and their impact - should be considered. From the buyer's perspective, every interaction impacts their perception of a vendor and influences their decision to buy. Those interactions range from the obvious, such as how potential customers are treated by sales staff, to the subtle - such as how easy your ordering system is, be it a confusing online system or cumbersome forms whose completion is required.
Although most businesses will acknowledge that all customer interactions are important, it is often not followed up with action. If it is important than it should be open to a critical analysis and, if justified, modification. Sometimes that analysis is not conducted because of misguided beliefs, like the all too common belief that high pressure sales and marketing is the most effective approach, or ignorance - just not knowing that there is a better way. To ignore or dismiss any function puts the entire process at risk.
Read more about the functions that make up the revenue organization in the next two tabs, and learn about the development of the revenue organization in the 'Services' section. You can also read more about specific departments and functions within the revenue organization in the respective 'Who We Serve' sections and how we help those constituencies in 'Services.'
The goal of the revenue organization, not surprisingly, is to drive revenue. With a comprehensive and strategic perspective, it does not limit itself to sales as the source of revenue. It also understands that a positive reputation, high customer satisfaction, and strong customer loyalty will also generate sales. Understanding that profits, not just revenue, are the ultimate goal of the business, the revenue organization closely monitors the cost of sales. With all that in mind, the core functions in the revenue organization include:
Because these functions represent the primary focus of our performance improvement services, further information about each is detailed in the respective pages under 'Who We Serve' and 'Services' sections. Other functions that play a role in the revenue generating process - but are less the focus of our services - are detailed in the 'Additional Functions' tab. Depending on your specific interests and questions, there are also pages in the 'Our Approach' and 'Resources' sections that you may find useful.
The version of our buying cycle provided above notes where each of the core functions, except for senior management and sales enablement, enters the cycle. To be clear, what is illustrated is the traditionally considered entry point in the buying cycle for that specific function. Some functions may have continual or repeated contact throughout the buying cycle. For example, sales typically has ongoing contact with a prospect through many of the stages. And the primary function of marketing is branding and lead generation, which are important in the early stages of the buying cycle, but may also play a role in later stages by providing case studies or references in the 'risk' stage, etc. Senior management and sales enablement are not specifically highlighted on the illustration above because they play a special role - one that is often behind the scenes - throughout the entire buying cycle.
In defining and executing strategy, senior management plays a critical role in generating revenue. Some, such as the VP of Sales, may have direct contact with prospects and clients, while others may not. To be fully integrated and unified, it is crucial that every individual in the revenue organization understand and appreciate both their role in generating revenue and the role of others. And that speaks to the importantance of leadership from senior management. A failing we frequently encounter is that senior managers do not educate their department on the role that individuals in the department, or the department as a whole, plays in generating revenue. Also, senior managers - through overt and covert means - set the tone for their department and the posture that department takes to others. Those are just some of the ways that the leadership from senior managers can be lacking. As evidenced by many studies, failures in leadership are the most common reason that businesses failure. And leadership is more than just providing directives and instructions - it involves managing the complexities of individual and group behavior through such things as motivating and modeling.
Sales enablement - which may be a distinct department or a multi-departmental team - puts the 'how' into your go-to-market plan. It employs a strategic view that looks to integrate all of the company's resources and departments in executing a unified approach to revenue generation. Sales enablement differs from traditional sales training in that it adopts a more comprehensive and integrated perpsective on both selling and revenue generation. Traditional sales training is usually focused almost exclusively on the sales department and is typically limited to such things as: product education and training, skills (and maybe some strategy) training, and systems (ordering, account management, IT, phone, etc.) training. In contrast, sales enablement enhances processes within and across multiple departments, develops the skills to successfully execute the entire go-to-market strategy, and creates systems and tools to support all those efforts. You can learn more about sales enablement and how to develop a sales enablement organization in the respective sections on this site; or, you can contact us to get your specific questions addressed.
The following functions are not specified in the illustration above, but are also part of the revenue organization. They play a role in the revenue generating process, and their impact on the revenue generation should be considered. Some functions may have a direct role in interacting with customers, depending on the specific organizational structure and business model, and others play an indirect role. This is not intended as a comprehensive list of additional functions, as that can vary based on a specific company.
IT is core to every business - some more than others, depending on the specific business. Across companies, what is formally considered to be IT can vary greatly. We adopt an expansive definition and consider it to include all of the computer, phone, and other technologies used by the company. IT influences the buying cycle and the customer experience in a variety of ways. Your company website is the primary way that IT affects the customer experience, and some additional comments about websites are provided below. But, other IT systems should also be considered when they are relevant. For instance, many of us have had the annoying experience of being caught in an automated phone system loop in which we can neither get to what we need or to a live representative. That's never a good customer experience.
An interesting, and somewhat perplexing, observation I have made is how few executives and business owners have visited their own company's website (extensively exploring it as a prospect or customer!) and/or actually placed an order through it or used it to accesss information. An omission that can have serious consequences if you want to truly be customer focused.
Three ways that your website impacts the customer experience are:
General user experience and accessability of information: Is your site so full of bandwidth sapping technologies (video, graphics, etc.) that it takes a long time to load? Are visitors innundated with irritating pop-up ads, surveys, etc.? How easily can visitors access information of interest - be it product information, company information, locations, etc.?
For those companies that have an online ording system: Are the fields well laid out and how many different pages need to load to complete an order? Are instructions clear and concise? Do you provide the information that a buyer needs (e.g., shipping information and charges) when they would want to see it? Can users go back and/or change information? Do you request extraneous information? Does the system stall or crash frequently?
If you encourage, or require, customers to use your website for customer support: How easily can they access information and tailor those information requests to their common questions? Is there a means for them to speak to a person; and if so, how prominent and clear is the information to do so?
In large companies, there may be a designated sales operations department and in smaller companies those functions may be the responsibility of another department (e.g., finance, shipping and receiving, etc.). There are a number of functions that can fall under the heading of sales operations. For our present purposes, we will focus on two: contract/order and payment processing, and order fulfillment. Some may view the signing of a contract and/or the receipt of a payment as the end of the sales cycle. But responsible leaders of the revenue organization can not be so cavalier and short-sighted. They understand that the buying cycle continues after the sale is made.
Once they have made a decision to buy, how much time and energy must your customers expend to actually make a purchase? We once worked with a large technology company that had such a complicated bureaucratic process that it took up to three weeks to get official quotes to prospects - and this is after the prospect had made a verbal agreement to buy. In retail operations, too few checkout options can have a similar effect of producing irritating delays. Similar consequences can occur when items are consistently backordered or damaged in transit. When such practices are common, sales are lost - when customers get so irritated they just walk away or return items that have taken too long to receive - and brand reputations are eroded.
Learning & Development:
Learning and development is typically responsible for onboarding and new hire training, which helps establish the overall corporate culture. In addition, many of the training activites - both during new hire training and ongoing training requirements - that are a component of sales enablement may be conducted under the auspices of the general learning and development organization. In all these ways and many others, learning and development organizations play a critical in how a company executes its go-to-market plan.
When it comes to working with sales, a learning and development organization often faces particular challenges related to developing program activites and content that are relevant to field personnel and support the sales process. Whether accurate or not, sales staff often do not have a high opinion of learning and development. Learning and development staff are often perceived as detached from the challenges of the field and not knowledgable about the real challenges that sales has to deal with. This view is reinforced when learning and development personnel have no experience in sales or customer-facing positions. Credibility with sales is a real obstacle for learning and development if they are to be considered a valuable resource and if their programs are to have a lasting impact. It may not be practical to have learning and development personnel with field experience. But it is possible to build credibility with sales - both through the programs you implement and the process you use to develop it.
Product Management & Product Development
Your offerings clearly have a profound impact on the buying cycle. The capabilities, design, availability, durability, and any of a number of other characteristics of your offerings affect the prospect's interest in buying from you. We are not going to try and tell you how to cnduct product development. We will note that product management and product development must communicate with customers and users if they are going to create offerings the market wants. To the customer-base, the nature of those communicaions is a direct reflection of the vendors respect and interest in them, and can serve as a powerful tool in building customer loyalty.
Product management often plays several critical roles in the buying cycle. It is a common practice in some companies for product managers to conduct various pre-sales activities to generate interest, Some of those activities would be considered marketing, in that their purpose is to generate interest and initiate buying cycles. Product managers often also meet with prospects to conduct product demos, discuss product infrastrucure or quality, or in some other way provide product proof. Lastly, product managers are often responsible for gathering competitive information and competitive analyses. For all those activites, communication with the rest of the revenue organization is critical. Good communication starts with a common language and a unfied strategy. With that, the information that product management and product development generates is extremely valuable, and their credibility within the market can be second to none.
You can review our model of the development of the revenue organization in the 'Services' section. We provide a comprehensive range of development services to help improve the performance of the revenue organization as a whole, and the individual departments and staff. Those services include:
Process definition and enhancements
Development of job aids and and other collateral
Design and implementation of enabling technologies
BACK TO TOP