“Product-market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market…lots of startups fail before product-market fit ever happens. My contention, in fact, is that they fail because they never get to product-market fit.” —Marc Andreessen
Predictable revenue starts with product-market fit. It’s incredible how many young companies believe their idea solves a very important problem and they don’t pause to consider the actual addressable market. So, they skip over this crucial step of understanding how well their product or service solves that problem.
But, product-market fit goes beyond defining a value proposition that satisfies the needs of a market and its potential customers. True product-market fit is the magical moment when “your customers become your salespeople,” says Josh Porter of Rocket Insights.
The first major milestone on your quest for predictable revenue is to definitively understand the target customer. This includes knowing the ideal customer profile—what they look like, talk like, walk like—so you can serve them with the right product.
The next part of your journey involves putting solid metrics in place and testing and retesting everything. Now, you’re gaining traction with more and more customers. Hallelujah. You’re finally on your way. Everything should be sailing along.
But only it isn’t. What’s the problem?
You just can’t seem to achieve consistent revenue growth.
The quest for the holy grail
Predictable, repeatable sales revenue is the holy grail. Everyone wants it, but no one talks about how to get it. A common strategy is to focus harder on the funnel. If we wish to have more coming out of the bottom, we should probably feed more into the top. Yes, that is a strategy, but it might not be the best one. Achieving predictable revenue involves something much more foundational.
You have to build a machine. If you want predictable, repeatable results, you need to have a consistent—completely consistent—programmatic approach.
Think Henry Ford. How did he create a specific type of flywheel and mass production approach that delivered consistent results?
It starts with people, process, product, tools, and technology. The right butts in seats, the right roles and goals identified, efficient processes humming along, a systematic attention to product development, and effective tools and technology.
Basically, we’re talking operational excellence, from contact to cash. That means consistent, detailed training, starting with locked-down onboarding and a clear ramp-up to productivity. Too often the story is, “Here’s your badge, here's your desk, here’s your phone ... good luck!”
True operational excellence is built step-by-step, with every aspect of the process given focused attention. Coupling this strategy with a compelling go-to-market message that effectively captures, convinces and converts prospects into customers is precisely what will put a company on the road to achieving predictable revenue growth.
The programmatic process
From contact to cash, horizontally through the entire organization, every single department, every single hand-off, every single everything must not only be defined, but adhered to—faithfully. Each layer of the sales model should be a programmatic, well-oiled machine. From focused training to seamless hand-offs to delivery, billing and support, end-to-end across the business, it's not just the sales team that generates revenue; it’s every single person in the organization contributing to the effort.
If this sounds militant, that’s because it is. The holy grail of repeatable revenue isn’t achieved through a “Hey, let’s try this approach today” method. That only means resetting the clock to zero every month and grinding to generate sales.
Predictable revenue is achieved through precise, standardized training and retraining. Ultimately there is no other way to predict the outcome. It’s deliberate work across all sectors, pure and simple. More than that, it’s people who know what is expected of them and how to do it, day after day. That’s how success is built.
Frankly, traditional consulting can’t accomplish this. Sharing a framework or having off-site working sessions will not help achieve the goal of predictable, repeatable and scalable revenue.
Building an effective sales engine requires boots on the ground. You need someone to parachute in—and stay. You need operators who develop the programmatic process from A to Z. It’s not easy; it’s hard work. However, at the end of the day, you don’t want a consultant; you want a real growth partner.
Then you can start focusing on your sales engine. You can work on consistency at the top of the funnel. You can analyze KPIs and funnel math. You can develop powerful nurture campaigns. Because now you’ve architected a predictable machine, not a house of cards.
That’s how you find the holy grail.
Michelle Westich specializes in rapidly assessing and identifying quick hits to unify and reenergize organizations, while focusing on high-value, high-impact opportunities to stabilize and position a business for rapid growth. Her superpower is inspiring and motivating leaders and teams to break away from business limiting mindsets, to have breakthroughs fiscally and organizationally.
Michelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.