11 Ways You Can Quickly Increase Sales, Revenue and Profit

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 @ 14:07 PM


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Verne Harnish is the President of Gazelles - the coaching organization that helps fast growth companies.  In addition to his best-selling books, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and his latest, Scaling Up, he writes the Weekly Insights, which I always read from top to bottom.  In his June 30 insights, Verne included a quote from Greg Brenneman, author of Right Away and All at Once - 5 Steps to Transform Your Business and Enrich Your Life.  Verne really liked Greg's emphasis on how to drive sales.  Greg says, "Empirical evidence shows that you get at least four times the market value for a dollar of profit that comes from revenue growth versus a dollar of profit that comes from cost reduction."  

Isn't that a great quote?  But it's more than a quote.  It's a blueprint!  Let's discuss some of the ways that you can achieve the desired revenue growth.

I have encountered far too many companies that expect their growth to come from acquisitions, or their increase in profit from cost-cutting and it never made any sense to me.  With as much data as we have at Objective Management Group (OMG), we didn't have that 4x data.  I love it!

So the question to ask is, how can any company organically increase its revenue, beginning today?

From 30,000 feet, there are eleven possibilities:

  • Expand your channel(s)
  • Add salespeople to your existing geography and/or territories
  • Replace under performing salespeople
  • Raise prices
  • Add products or product lines
  • Expand your geography and/or territory
  • Improve sales performance
  • Improve sales management effectiveness
  • Improve sales strategies
  • Improve sales systems and processes
  • Expand business within existing customers

From my 30 years of experience helping companies do many of these things, the easiest and fastest of these is the price increase.  Most companies handle price increases very poorly, over complicate it, ineffectively communicate it, and manage to somehow get their sales force distracted for months by this simple step.

I worked with one company in Los Angeles that everyone knows and visits and we needed to change three months of sales training where we were working on their consultative approach and refocus on how to deliver the message of the price increase.  All of that focus on price made them nervous, negative, and took them off message.  It would have been much more effective to simply ignore the change and handle it when customers asked!

Replacing under performing salespeople and adding salespeople works - but only if you are significantly better at hiring the new ones than you were at hiring the old ones.  If your recruiting and selection process haven't undergone significant changes, you might select salespeople who are even more ineffective than the salespeople being replaced!  Check out the leading sales candidate assessment to drastically improve sales selection.

Expanding business within existing customers is a lot more challenging for salespeople than it should be.  At this point in time they probably have great relationships and won't want to jeopardize those relationships by pushing for more, especially if the customer believes they are already buying as much as they can from you.  In this case their need to be liked is a huge weakness.  Read this article for more on how the need to be liked limits sales effectiveness.

Geographic and Channel Expansions are expensive and take time.  While they usually pay off in the long term, they suck up resources, spread the leadership team thin, and the move is often risky and frustrating.

Adding Products can open new doors and increase revenue from existing accounts.  However, your existing salespeople are typically creatures of habit and often struggle with new products.  You'll probably have to bring on new salespeople if you want new product lines to successfully add revenue to your top line.

Companies get the biggest bang for their buck when they focus on Improving overall sales performance, sales management effectiveness, sales strategies, systems and processes.  These tend to be some of the most cost-effective, fast-working, long-lasting changes a company can make to increase revenue.  Read this article and this article for more on Sales Process.  The most important thing to be aware of with this particular choice is that the improvements become an integral part of your sales culture and continue to pay dividends in the near and distant future.

There are several ways to achieve revenue growth but some will work 4 times better than others. 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, verne harnish, Rockefeller Habits, scaling up, greg brenneman

Quadruple Dittos Motivate Your Sales Team to Achieve

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 05, 2016 @ 20:04 PM


If you follow sports - even a little - then you know about special sports achievements.  The Hat Trick is pretty special in Hockey, The Cycle and the No-Hitter in Baseball represent near-perfect games, the Ace or the Hole-in-One is an ultimate score in Golf, and the Triple-Double represents the ultimate achievement in a Basketball game.  Yes, I know I left out Soccer - again - but I just don't know enough. [Update - Barry Hall wrote that Soccer has a Hat Trick - when an individual scores 3 goals in one game.]

When Verne Harnish published Mastering The Rockefeller Habits, the precursor to his current book, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make it and the Rest Don't (Rockefeller Habits 2.0), I followed his suggestion and began leading a daily huddle with my leadership team at Objective Management Group. In addition to reporting on the KPI's for which they are responsible, each leader mentions a victory or something exciting.  On yesterday's huddle, we achieved the equivalent of one of those great sports moments when we had a Quadruple Ditto.  What's a Quadruple Ditto and why is that important to you?

A Quadruple Ditto (we made it up) occurs when the thing that has excited the first leader excites each subsequent leader equally, causing them to say, "Ditto."  When at least 4 leaders say, "Ditto" we have achieved a Quadruple Ditto.

Now you know what it is, so why is it important for sales?

Sales Leaders should be leading huddles with their sales managers and sales managers should be leading huddles with their salespeople.  When everyone on the huddle has an equally exciting - albeit different - opportunity to report on, you have achieved a Quadruple Ditto.  When exciting new opportunities are few and far between, there won't be any Quadruple Dittos, but when the entire sales team is stuffing their pipeline with new, high-quality opportunities, you'll find yourself in Quadruple Ditto territory.

The key, of course, is that the opportunities are of high quality.  For help defining high-quality opportunities, please see The Sure Fire Way to Know Which Sales Opportunities are the Best Opportunities.

You can also call the Quadruple Ditto after 4 salespeople or more have reported on and met or exceeded each of their daily KPI's.

I'm going to achieve another version of a Quadruple Ditto in today's article with more than 4 outbound links.  I've already provided two and here are three more.

Josh Lev wrote this helpful article on the psychology of selling and I think it's worth checking out.

Pete Caputa, VP at Hubspot, posted this terrific article on 7 bad actors on every sales team. It appears on the Hubspot sales blog.  See all my articles here.

Stu Heincke, author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, interviewed me for his Chicago Radio Show.  Listen to the Podcast below. 


Topics: Dave Kurlan, verne harnish, Rockefeller Habits, pete caputa, scaling up, josh levs, daily huddle

Sales Process - What Have You Gotten Away From?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Nov 05, 2008 @ 13:11 PM

I'm sitting in the back of the room of a Rockefeller Habits two-days workshop being hosted by one of my companies, Kurlan Associates.

There are about 45 executives in the room, many of them clients of Kurlan Associates.  At two of the tables are clients that have been with the firm for so long, twenty years or so, that they have become great friends and two of them have become business partners at Objective Management Group.

One of the first exercises that the group participated in was Cash Optimization Strategies, and the first part of that exercise was Ways to Improve Your Sales Cycle.

Imagine my surprise when my oldest client (1985), my two best friends, my two business partners, identified "we need to follow a sales process" as the number one way to improve their sale cycle at their packaging company.

Forget that I wrote Baseline Selling - a sales process.

Forget that I'm with them quite often.

Forget that I trained them on a sales process 20 years ago.

Forget that these concepts are being discussed and reinforced on a regular basis.

Instead, think about how easy it is to get away from the fundamental processes, strategies and tactics that impact efficiencies, time lines, effectiveness, consistency, communication, confidence revenue and profit.

Take 3 steps back.  What have you gotten away from?

If you've gotten away from it, it's very difficult to remember what you don't do any more.

When I coach salespeople, I ask them to identify a call that didn't go the way they had wanted.  Most salespeople, the first few times through the coaching process, can't identify a single one of those calls.  It's hard to remember what you aren't paying attention to.

Sometimes it takes a sales force evaluation to identify the things your sales force isn't doing, never did, and can't do effectively

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan

Topics: sales competencies, sales assessment, Baseline Selling, sales process, selling, Salesforce, Sales Force, sales evaluation, sales profile, sales personality test, Rockefeller Habits

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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