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Marketing and sales have been essential components of businesses throughout history. From the earliest marketplaces to the present day, the ability to reach customers and promote products in a targeted and effective manner, has shaped successful businesses. A study conducted by McKinsey reaffirmed that revenue growth is a critical driver of corporate performance. An extra 5% of revenue per year correlates with an additional 3-4% of total shareholder returns (TSR)—the equivalent of increasing market capitalization by 33-45% over a decade. Having the right marketing and sales leadership to lead high growth businesses, especially those in the early stages of growth, can make all the difference.
Ranjitha Kurra, VP of Revenue at Remitly, is a Go-to-Market leader who has built and scaled high-growth B2B businesses of all sizes across a broad range of industries. She is an expert in building nimble, customer-centric revenue teams that are adept at navigating changing market conditions and driving sustainable growth. Here is an excerpt from her playbook for building high-impact revenue teams.
A Playbook for Building High Impact Revenue Teams
Successful sales and marketing strategies have changed dramatically in recent years – markets have grown more competitive, consumer preferences are changing, and sales technology, which allows businesses to better target and reach customers, is emerging rapidly. Revenue leaders that combine a deep understanding of the market and customer problems with effective technology can create a tremendous competitive advantage by helping their products stand-out in a crowded marketplace and building long-term customer preference.
Start with the Customer
“The old adage that ‘good products sell themselves’ is no longer true,” says Ranjitha. Executives and prospective buyers of B2B technology are bombarded with marketing messages. A successful sales representative can cut through the noise by focusing on critical business priorities of a company and demonstrating how their product can accelerate those initiatives. It is easy to train sales representatives to go through a scripted value proposition vs. teaching them to ask probing questions, no less to senior executives, but it separates average sales executives from great ones, builds strong relationships, and pays dividends in the longer-term. “I strongly believe that if you reach the right executive, ask the right questions, and demonstrate value, budgets will follow,” says Ranjitha.
Build a Customer-Centric Sales Process
Once a business reaches product market fit, typically by launching and scaling with the first set of customers, the next phase of growth is to replicate this early success with a wider set of customers. While revenue leaders have the luxury of doing-what-it-takes to win the first few customers, they now need to create a reliable and repeatable process that consistently delivers results.
“Most revenue leaders, at this phase, jump the gun and invest in rapid hiring and complex technology implementations; and it seldom works,” says Ranjitha. Scaling too soon without establishing a repeatable sales process may not only waste precious resources but also slow you down in the long-term. A little restraint at this point goes a long way. Instead, good revenue leaders focus resources on documenting customers’ buying journey, and translating that into a repeatable sales process.
“The sales technology space is crowded today. It is so easy to fall into the trap of technology too early. We’ve all been there. It is really important to have a clear idea of your customer problems and sales process before spending your first dollar on tech”, says Ranjitha
Automate the process and Scale the Teams
Once a sales process is developed and tested with the next tranche of customers, typically 5-10x the original cohort, it is now time to scale the team and technology. For scaling the team, it is important to document the archetype of a successful sales executive, including qualitative and quantitative qualifying questions that determine a strong fit, along with a list of companies that have sellers with similar profiles. This not only provides clarity to the recruiting teams but also creates a consistent hiring process that can be refined over time, and lay the foundation for rapid scale in the future. “I cannot stress the importance of this exercise and how often executives overlook it. You don’t hire an art dealer to sell a car, would you?” says Ranjitha
Finally, identify the biggest bottlenecks and/or high-leverage points in the sales process and deploy technology to alleviate them. For example, if sales teams are consistently closing deals as expected, invest in accelerating demand generation. Alternatively, if sales productivity is the issue, invest in coaching tools such as Gong, and hold managers accountable for performance. “Technology should always be deployed in service of a problem. Technology for the sake of technology is a huge distraction. Just because it worked in your past life, it doesn’t guarantee results for a new business and in a new environment,” says Ranjitha.
Ranjitha Kurra is currently a Vice President at Remitly, a leading digital financial services provider for immigrants and their families, where she is leading B2B initiatives. Prior to that, she was the GM of mid-market at Convoy, a high-growth supply chain start-up, where she introduced Convoy’s suite of products to a brand new segment. Ranjitha is known for building effective sales and marketing teams and crafting innovative go-to-market strategies for high-growth businesses.