1st annual women revenue leaders forum

Revenue Leaders Have New Choices for Growth

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Beware of the easy solution. Because it's always more nuanced than we think. If the answer was simple, you already would have come up with it.

How Revenue Leaders Succeed Today

Companies learned three critical lessons over the past year:

  • Digital technologies are here to stay
  • The buyer journey has changed, and companies must continue evolving to meet or even anticipate these changes
  • Resilience is now a primary skill necessary to succeed in an uncertain business world


Insights from Alexander Group’s Women Revenue Leaders Forum, project work and conversations with executives reinforced the fact that revenue leaders are helping to re-orient their company to a customer-centric organization by integrating sophisticated data analytics, deploying specialized job roles, and integrating streamlined workflows into the company’s future roadmap. In addition, leaders are now employing an agile approach to revenue operations to pivot quickly as they learn more about their buyers’ changing needs.

Resilience, or the ability to recover quickly from difficult circumstances, is the new skill revenue leaders use to confront unique circumstances. The business environment will remain uncertain, but the willingness to face it with an agile, positive mindset is critical.

Leaders are integrating these lessons across their organization, using these five new strategies to grow revenue and remain competitive:

  1. Realign customer engagement strategies
  2. Make the digital mandate a priority
  3. Establish new roles for greater engagement
  4. Connect and engage with customers
  5. Create the right culture

Realign Customer Engagement Strategies

B2B buyers desired a B2C experience before the pandemic began. Buyers are now skilled at researching solutions and contacting vendors when they need additional information or are near a purchase decision.

However, the pandemic added a critical purchase factor: would their vendor of choice support them during critical times, placing the business interests of the buyer before the needs of the seller? Companies that put aside their quotas to support their customer base came out ahead in customer loyalty and made long-term gains.

The buying process is nuanced, with many decision-makers contributing to the purchase decision, each with different motivations. Successful sellers now reach these new buyer personas that include all decision-makers, backed by data analytics that track buyer behaviors. Without the traditional influx of field sales intel, revenue leaders turned to digital selling approaches that now include specialized roles geared toward consistent outreach.

Data and digital sales roles have proven successful but require new value propositions that reflect current buyer behaviors and needs. In addition, driving usage requires asking deeper questions, finding new solutions and tailoring appropriate messaging. Sellers need to get to the root cause of customer issues and demonstrate to specific buyers how their solutions will address them.

Companies that put aside their quotas to support their customer base came ahead in customer loyalty and made long-term gains.

Make the Digital Mandate
a Priority

Digital is no longer optional. If it is not an immediate priority, companies will lose out to the competition, leaving no room to play catch up. Revenue leaders must have top-down support with a clear charter and vision for digital strategies and tools while driving buy-in and execution across the company.

A digital mandate can be overwhelming, leaving revenue leaders wondering where to start. Budget constraints don’t have to be a barrier, with many firms starting small, using current resources, and leveraging marketing automation and CRM tools. However, executing a digital strategy does require new support roles, including digital content, social media, CRM and inside sales talent for successful deployment.

The digital mandate will require investments in advanced technologies and analytics. These technologies produce customer insights, helping all departments evaluate how buyers and stakeholders make decisions. Data is at the center of these technologies. Decisions need to be made on who owns it and how it will be used to drive revenue.

Digital strategies will be honed over time, using analytics to determine the most successful approaches. Digital is table stakes, but not the only way to connect with customers since some segments require field support. Successful revenue leaders segment their customer base and identify which roles are best served by field reps, phone, email or social media outreach.






Establish New Roles for Greater Engagement

The digital mandate requires new roles and responsibilities that drive execution. Digital marketing managers and social media managers are just a few of the latest roles as firms let go of the traditional jack-of-all-trades approach. Instead, leaders hire specific talent, like product specialists and support, to engage directly with clients, providing exceptional expertise and value. In addition, revenue leaders are realigning their teams with more sophisticated skills and engagement training.

Enhanced productivity is the driving force behind these new roles. As digital tools require more specialized talent, new roles shift valuable time and focus to where the organization can make the most significant impact. As a result, the most recent competitive edge is a successful combination of data insights and the productive workforce that applies them.

Whatever is right for your business, the new power couple is human and technology, not one or the other.

Connect and Engage with Customers

Business success requires establishing quality relationships that build trust over time. That trust grows as sellers have a clear understanding of customer expectations while delivering to enhance the customer experience. This can be a challenge in the digital world where in-person contact is infrequent.

Companies previously relied on field reps to build relationships, provide customers insights and directly manage customer expectations. Unfortunately, field sales no longer have the luxury of meeting customers in person without significant obstacles. Old sales methods that include calling “X number of customers per day” won’t drive quality relationships needed to land accounts.

Mapping the buyer journey reveals who is involved in the purchase decision and what they desire, providing clues for connection and engagement. Successful revenue leaders understand that connection requires becoming a trusted advisor before, during and after the sale. Knowing where the pressure points are and when connection is needed is crucial


Unfortunately, relying solely on digital engagement will not guarantee a successful client engagement. The pandemic taught us that buyers still crave personal interactions. It is the job of revenue leaders to create trust and leverage the right roles and tools to expand engagement. That includes determining where and when in-person contact is needed. In this way, new “hybrid roles” that combine virtual and in-person contact are emerging.

Create the Right Culture

Corporate culture changes as leaders learn how to serve customers better. A new customer-centric approach requires cross-functional teams to ideate new ways of working with customers and execute those plans across the organization. One of the first priorities is establishing a link between Sales and Marketing, ensuring that they work together and share information for the customer’s benefit.


Revenue leaders must work across the organization to promote shared values and help employees align with a new strategic vision. Today’s workforce wants more than just compensation; they want a company that supports their values and is there for them in a crisis. The pandemic taught us that demanding schedules and dictatorial leaders won’t survive in a workplace where employees don’t feel valued.

If you want to deliver an exceptional customer experience, then employers must also deliver an exceptional employee experience. The focus cannot be just on customers but must also be on the employees who support them. Customers can detect an engaged (or unengaged) employee. Today’s employees require competitive compensation but also want a career path and a corporate ethos they value. Disenfranchised employees affect the organization’s revenue-generating ability, requiring leaders to demonstrate their employer value proposition.

Focusing on what makes your culture unique creates positive shared values and promotes a collaborative environment to increase employee engagement. Dedicated, engaged employees contribute to revenue and help companies attract and retain the talent they desperately need. According to Tiffani Bova, Global Growth & Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, this last point is critical; you cannot deliver the best customer experience unless you deliver an excellent employee experience. Only a culture that values listening and acting can deliver this.

Guardrails for Rapid Change

Successful strategies tell us what to do, but revenue leaders must also understand how to do it. Leaders can no longer consistently rely on historical forecasts, outdated systems, departmental silos and field sales to land all the opportunities in an uncertain environment. Instead, revenue leaders need a new way of looking at the world and the operational systems to back it up. Everyone is relearning how business works, listening to customers and the market for guideposts.

Leaders must be willing to experiment with new approaches, decide which experiments to discontinue and which to scale. Decisive action and willingness to course correct are critical. Looking to the past provides important examples. Before the pandemic, digital was optional. Businesses could rely on in-person meetings and events to connect with people. Today, digital is table stakes. For companies who want to “try it out,” it’s too late. Taking even a small step in the right direction is now essential and will create positive change.

Leaders must be willing to experiment with new approaches.

Revisiting the Revenue Cycle

All aspects of business are up for an overhaul, including the revenue cycle. Historically organizations would align around a linear process built around Access to Persuade to Fulfill, an aggressive approach that relied on “chasing” and “closing,” indicating a starting point, an endpoint and a victory. Sellers made contacts, persuaded customers with product features and prices, closed the sale, and fulfilled the goods, “winning” the deal.

This has all changed in today’s world. The customer perspective is integrated from the start. Companies are now tasked with viewing the customer from the inside out. Revenue leaders are part of an effort to test solutions against their buyer insights before buyers are even aware of any marketing campaigns.

In short, the world has turned upside down. Instead of a linear process, successful companies are adopting a revenue cycle that is a circular, continuous stream of data, processes and solutions. Instead of influencing buyer behavior from the outside, they use insights to emulate buyer decisions, aligning and targeting their approach to customer needs. And it’s working. And it puts revenue leaders at the center of the most critical strategic decisions.


COVID: A Stress Test for Customer Success

Alexander Group research shows that as early as 2019, the number of people within the buyer journey averaged five to seven people, including influencers and decision-makers. In 95% of decisions, buyers and influencers searched the web to gain insights before choosing alternatives. Buyers wanted hands-free access to information, a light touch catalog, experience, and excellence from the opportunity to trial, and access to deep expertise when needed. The same is true today, but we anticipate that even more people are now part of the journey.

The pandemic tested what companies knew about their buyers’ journey and their traditional revenue approach. Leaders discovered they needed to put their customers’ dire need for support ahead of their sales forecasts and develop the long-term quality of their relationships. Historical quotas, linear revenue cycles and historical expectations no longer apply.

Leading companies now deliver new forms of value by asking the right (and often tricky) questions to understand how their buyers’ expectations have evolved. They are using data analytics to predict customer behavior and deploying advanced digital tools. New digital roles that augment field sales are emerging, applying analytics while becoming more deeply integrated with their customers.

According to Tracy Robertson, Global VP of Customer Experience at Kimberly-Clark and Forum Keynote Speaker, 80% say the buying experience is now as important as the products or services they buy from you. Further, their expectations for experience are higher than ever before and rising.



Resilience Opens Doors to New Choices

Revenue leaders are tasked with making bold new decisions to grow revenue and contribute to a new company culture. Venturing where no man/woman has gone before takes more than guts; it takes resilience.

Resilience empowers people to confidently make new choices, even if they don’t know the outcome. In the first inaugural Alexander Group’s Women Revenue Leaders Forum, Taryn Marie Stejskal Ph.D., Chief Resilience Officer and Founder of Resilience Leadership, shared how resilience plays out in the workplace. It is a core trait of all leaders, regardless of gender. A leader’s ability to be resilient in challenging times reveals new choices and unseen opportunities.

How are resilience and choice playing out for revenue leaders? Taryn said, “We often learn to delay strategies until we feel like we know what’s going to happen. That can be the converse from resilient leadership. It’s not about certainty. It’s about a reasonable understanding and a belief and willingness to move forward, even though it may be imperfect.”


A Time of Unlimited Choice

Revenue leaders can view the uncertain future with confidence, knowing that they will make mistakes but will quickly recover. Alexander Group’s Women Revenue Leaders Forum highlighted women revenue leaders making a difference and moving forward despite uncertainty. Uncertainty means choice, and those who can make strategic choices with the best people, data and systems they have at hand, will succeed.

In the midst of this tumultuous time, I think many of us have felt we're more limited in terms of our choices. Recognizing what choices continue to exist and what we can create that might be new and novel.

Continue this conversation with executive leaders at one of our upcoming Leadership Series Events.

More Resources

Women Revenue Leaders Forum: New Pathways to Growth

Characteristics of Enduring Leadership with Angie Volk, 3M

Women Revenue Leaders Forum

About Alexander Group

Alexander Group understands your revenue growth challenges. Since 1985, we’ve served more than 3,000 companies across the globe. This experience gives us not only a highly sophisticated set of best practices to grow revenue—we also have a rich repository of unique industry data that informs all our recommendations. Aligning product, marketing, operations and finance efforts behind a successful sales organization takes insight and hard work. We help the world’s leading organizations build the right revenue vision, transform their organizations and deliver results.

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