Peter Drucker said it best when he said businesses rarely fail because of starvation (lack of business). Instead, he said, they fail because of indigestion (the inability to manage growth effectively).
When you're looking at a small or midmarket business (SMB), the challenge is that as it grows it tends to grow in complexity more than it grows in size, management capabilities and systems. Without predictability, it wreaks havoc on the organization.
Whether you’re allocating capital, determining who you’re going to hire and when, or you’re looking to dial in your value proposition, if you don’t have predictability you cannot make decisions with confidence.
An important concept to note is that the lack of predictability is really just a symptom of complexity and chaos taking root in your organization. In this condition a company cannot sustain or scale profitable growth.
It’s not unusual when I’m talking with a CEO of a growing business to talk about growth with trepidation. They say things like, “Sure, I want to grow, but it’s more important that I…
- Stay profitable.
- Don’t become a slave to my business.
- Ensure that I’m able to continue to work with good people.”
I always find in troubling that the idea of growth can be perceived as harmful to a business’ stability, profit or overall reward. The truth is that when you’re growing correctly every time you’re getting bigger, running the business should get simpler.
Now, by no means am I saying that your goal should be getting bigger for the sake of getting bigger. However, I’m also a firm believer that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. While some entrepreneurs I talk with hear that and think it’s just a fantasy, it can be your reality.
If your goal is to sustain or scale growth, the key is to create a predictable and repeatable model for creating revenue. That’s right, the single most important criteria to scaling growth is an effective sales model.
The 3 Rules for Building a Predictable and Repeatable Sales Model
1. Ensure That Every Phase of Your Revenue Development Process is Both Focused & Aligned
Put another way, salespeople shouldn’t prospect. If you believe that adding salespeople is the key to accelerating growth, you’re not building an effective model.
Predictable growth is caused by consistently growing the quantity and quality of your lead generation efforts, and by systemically improving the way in which you manage leads through the sales process.
Sales is a complex process and can no longer be managed by one person. Build your model so that you can match skills and talents to each part of the process.
2. Action Is The Key to Sustaining Growth
You can learn in a laboratory. You must learn in the market. Remember, it’s okay to be wrong, so long as you’re learning. When growing a business, the only real learning that matters comes from action-oriented experience.
Eric Ries, author of Lean Startup, calls it validated learning. Basically it works like this:
- You start by taking an action.
- You measure the result of the action.
- You learn and apply it to the next action.
The mistake made by most executives, salespeople and marketers is that they want the learning to happen before the action. That approach sounds like it should work, but it doesn’t.
This means that the growth (initially) is messy. You’re constantly testing assumptions, adjusting and readjusting. The upside is that once you’ve gotten through the messy phase, growth becomes predictable.
3. Don’t Debate Opinions When There Are Data and Facts Available
This is the most exciting time ever to be growing a business. Today, more than ever, you are able to quickly and effectively track and measure the results of your actions. Gone are the days that you can’t attribute results (or the lack of results) to actions.
A predictable, repeatable sales model relies on closing the loop on your analytics, measuring, tracking and attributing your results. Follow the story the data is telling you and predictable growth will be the outcome.