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Sales, Scale And Your Company Valuation

Sales and scale are important factors in determining a tech firm’s valuation. 

 

Though it’s difficult to get this right, it should definitely be on top of your agenda to increase valuation. Organic revenue growth can act as an indication of a well-conceived value proposition and effective go-to-market strategy. Scale, on the other hand, provides the tech firm with an increased ability to achieve a higher profit to revenue ratio.

 

The combination of sales and scale will equate to a higher EBITDA as a percentage of net revenue.

 

From a buyer’s perspective, a successful organic sales track-record creates a level of confidence that organic revenue growth will continue to increase. Scale provides the buyer with a platform which will allow them to realise synergies and efficiency. Combined, sales and scale play an integral part in driving the multiples a buyer is willing to pay. Moreover, sales and scale will help increase the base EBITDA to which the multiples are to be applied.

 

Sales

When forming a strategy on the most effective way to increase sales, buyers usually start reviewing the Tech firm’s value proposition. Aside from the value proposition, there are four key components to increasing sales within a Tech firm model; sales talent, go-to-market strategy, compensation and ongoing service.

 

1. Sales Talent

The first to check is right business development talent. The second step is continued development of sales talent. Business is in a constant state of flux. As such, the sales arm of a Tech firm should remain abreast to new developments that could impact the Tech firm and the industries in which they serve. Development of the sales team shouldn’t solely be the responsibility of the Tech firm.

 

You should get them trained and coached on a regular basis by experts who can inculcate both capabilities and skills. Sales enablement should be part of your development agenda.

 

A business development professional can only properly advise a client based on what they know. Remember, a Tech firms brand equity is heavily influenced by its sales force. If the prospect to client close ratio for a Tech firm is 20%, four out of five companies that encounter the Tech firm will likely only experience what the sales professional conveys.

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Market of One

Selling To Market of One

In any tech market these days, there’s really first place, second place, maybe third and then the rest.​

Who wants to be rest?

When you think about markets such as fast food, consumer, tech or business, what are the first names that come to your mind? McDonald, Uber, Apple, Microsoft? 

The seconds, thirds and the rest simply don’t exist.​​


​If you are the rest, it is so darn difficult to get attention, attract prospects and get them interested in what you do.​​​​​

Ideally, you want to create your own kingdom and own it. Don’t you?

The point is there are only one or two names that will leap to mind in any category.
They own the category.​​​

They are the category.

And that’s where you want to be with your business. But how can you get to be first?

The answer to being first is not to simply “become visible”. You want to be visible in a way that is trusted, sought after, highly paid, in demand and authoritative.

Your aim is to be visible with authority. So visibility isn’t enough.

But you have another, even bigger problem. The bitter truth is that most markets are really crowded. The leader in any category has often been established for years, if not decades and will be difficult to replace.

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Having Clarity

Why Having Clarity Helps Drive Revenue Growth?

Anthony’s (not the real name) Company is a provider of Consulting, Advisory and Managed Cloud (AWS and Azure) Services to large enterprises.

 

Windsor Tech (not real name) serves as a consultant, an implementor and service provider for enterprises client and how those customers migrate work load from on-prem infrastructure to AWS and Azure cloud. Anthony is uniquely qualified to demonstrate how to clients can transform their IT by creating clarity throughout the entire company by getting everyone laser focused on the real drivers of revenue growth.

 

Yet, Anthony is struggling to grow his tech business revenue beyond $3.7M. Though Anthony is early in the cloud life cycle he has to compete with big boys such as IBM, DXC, Accenture and many other mid tier players to win business.

 

Anthony is selling into South East Asia and is also dabbling into Middle East and US markets.

 

When we met Anthony, the first question we asked him was the following.

What is your revenue growth strategy? Is it market expansion, market exposure or gain marketshare?

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10reasonsGrowth

10 Reasons Why Technoprenuers Don’t Grow Revenues?

Most of you got into tech business because of the “promise”.  

Promise to earn an income. You want to create money freedom for yourself and your families. The second promise is to create an impact. You want to grow, create impact for your clients and make a bigger difference in the world. The third promise is independence. Freedom to innovate without restrictions.

Yet, despite your best efforts, majority of technoprenuers I run into aren’t achieving all three of these goals. In fact, many of them are struggling to grow, tired or both. 

So, why is this the case for so many technoprenuers like you? 

 



1. Lack of clarity – technoprenuers are good in creating technical value. Not all are good in monetising and growing business to next level. This includes creating a revenue strategy that defines clear goals, markets, sales, marketing and talent. 

For example, lacking clarity in choosing the right market, kind of customers you have to pursue, right offering, deal size, go to market and resources to needed to get there can accelerate or derails your growth plans. When you lack certainty of direction in your business it causes you to be hesitant to take action on big decisions that will give you big results.

 

Self reflecting question: Do you have a well defined revenue strategy for your company? Does it fit into one page?

 

2. Poor execution – Translating strategy to execution needs both a process and discipline. Technoprenuers are usually impatient, try too many things and slip up on execution. Many companies have deployed brilliant strategies and still missed their number. This is due to poor execution. Companies who fall into this category will likely survive, but will find growth difficult. The execution of well defined strategy is where the magic happens.

 

Self reflecting question:Do you have an execution plan with clear actions, roles and responsibilities and target dates?

 

3. Passive marketing –  If prospects don’t know you exist, they can’t give you business. Most technoprenuers aren’t savvy in marketing themselves or their company. At best, your marketing is too passive or patchy. We have found that most technoprenuers have no clear marketing strategy at all, or at least none that they could articulate. They reported that while they might enjoy the occasional success, essentially they’re relying on luck more than anything else.

A feeble attempt to hire someone to “do social media” for the company is not a marketing strategy. Putting some content on website or in Linkedin is the easy part, getting anyone to read that content is what takes skill. When your content doesn’t do anything to attract readers, get their attention and drive traffic – you do not have a marketing strategy at all.

 

Self reflecting question: Do you have a well thought out marketing strategy?



4. Unreliable sales process – Technoprenuers rely too much on partners, joint ventures and other quick routes to get sales. They don’t realise that having organic sales capability increases your company valuation. Lack of a predictable demand generation and sales process results in prospects stalling or dropping out. Most of them don’t realise that their sales process is dead or does not exist.

The best tech companies today don’t use a sales process to sell.  They use a buying process to understand and match themselves to the customer. Understanding this helps them deploy specific actions and activities.  These help pull the customer through their buying process.  They help strengthen compelling events. And help prioritise the customer’s problem and use your solution exclusively to solve it.

 

Self reflecting question: Is your sales processes aligned to your customer’s buying needs? 



5. Unscalable model –  Technoprenuers get stuck with the same business model that worked for them in the past years. They haven’t revisited or changed revenue model to suit current times. For example, SAP shops are selling time & material hours or projects. Legacy shops managed services. Product companies selling on prem slapped with services.

What you don’t realise as a technopreneur is that if your business is primarily dependent upon you and your efforts, by definition, your business can’t scale. Also if your business model has a linear relationship between revenue and cost, it’s hard to scale because scaling requires a lower cost per unit of acquisition.

One of the mistakes a lot of tech business owners make on this subject is that they think in absolutes—in other words, they use binary thinking—either you’re scalable or you’re not. Irrespective of the size of your business, do know that it is possible to take your current business model and make it more scalable.

 

Self reflecting question: How scalable is your current business? Is there a linear relationship between revenue and cost?


6. Stale Talent – Technoprenuers are stuck with wrong set of people who might not be the right fit for the role. In early stages, you need misfits and in the growth stage you need builders and scalers. Some argue that talent is 50% of the business success equation. The other 50%, of course, is performance conditions. No matter the ratio, your people are key to hitting your number.

There are 3 errors technoprenuers make in hiring.

  • Hire someone with wrong competencies.
  • Hiring people but not communicating and tracking accountability.
  • Compensation is not in alignment to what you want to achieve.

Making a mistake here sets you back by years. Many technoprenuers have burnt a lot of cash, time and have also fallen prey to cynicism.

 

Self reflecting question: Do you know who to hire, how to make them accountable and how to set compensation?

  

7. Lack of measurement – What does not get measured does not get managed. Usually, technoprenuers run their business with this formula. Acquire new customers, retain your customers and grow your customers. Sounds easy. Yet it is so difficult to unpack without proper measures. Most technoprenuers are not even on top of their sales pipeline!

If you do not have a way of measuring your lead flows, deals, sales cycle length, deal size, conversion rates, new vs repeat business – you are already in red flag area. You will be overwhelmed and will not know what and how to control in your selling function.

 

Self reflecting question: Do you know what to and how to measure, in sales, to take control of your revenue growth?

 

8. Lack of patience – Passion and patience go hand in hand. Living in line with your passion will probably require that you go slower than you might want to. It will definitely mean that you say no more than you say yes. Being patient and yet methodical will go a long way in taking you forward.

Technoprenuers often try too many things, when something does not work, and end up spreading it too thin. They don’t give enough time to work on one thing to reach a goal before getting onto another. This attitude often derail any progress made.

 

Self reflecting question: Have your tried sticking to one thing and giving it time and energy to succeed? How often are you distracted from your path?

 

9. Hit refresh – After tasting a bit of success in the first few years, technoprenuers struggle to change their ways and be more in sync with the current environment and business situation. They struggle with this question. w“Is change possible?” and “How can I be effective in creating change?”.

They fail to realise that the key to creating change is to acknowledge that every behaviour has a ‘frame of mind’, constructed of values, beliefs, identity and intention, and unless this is addressed your mind will act like a gyroscope bringing your behaviours back to this frame. The cost of this ‘stuck’ behaviour is not just in dollars but confusion in your company, amongst employees, who are paralysed by lack of communication and cohesion at the top.

 

Self reflecting question: Are you stuck in a fixed mindset patterns influenced by old beliefs, past failure and misplaced intentions?

 

10. Lack of Self Leadership quotient – Let’s first define Self Leadership. Self-leadership is about taking responsibility, get as much information and use your autonomy to make decisions to take purposeful action. Self-leadership empowers people to adapt to the current circumstances whilst maintaining a strategic focus towards the larger goal. 

Often times I find technoprenuers who have stopped growing have succumbed to the environment (board, investors, employees and market situation) and sub-consciously stopped taking responsibility for their current situation. Without this you lose the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviour and
get in your own way of reaching your goals and aspirations.

Self reflecting question: How do you perceive, feel and understand your current situation in business? 

 

 

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3.    Join our Techcelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.

Customer Journey

Customer Buying Journey beats MarTech Anyday!

Between a customer first visiting your website or connecting with you in Linkedin and being closed is a journey filled with opportunities to differentiate a company from the competition.

 

Too often technoprenuers focus their initiatives, including digital marketing, on one thing: lead generation.

 

What they usually forget is that lead generation is usually the effect. An outcome. Whereas the cause is a unique (tailored) process that leads your prospects through a unique buying journey for which they are willing to listen, spend more time and even pay for your services as a customer!

 

“In a crowded and noisy market, if you treat your prospects well, lead them on a journey and give away your wisdom, and at the end you get paid for your commodity.”

One thing technoprenuers should understand and learn is about the value of a process as a means to avoid commoditisation. A unique process that is tailored to be in line with your customer buying journey is also a way to get paid sooner–you can demonstrate value from the very beginning.

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Setting Sales Goals

Setting Sales Goals, Ideals, And The Power Of Make-Believe

Success begins with setting goals. Without goals, your team lacks the key elements it needs to win — a direction to follow and the encouragement to stay motivated in Sales.

When it comes to goal setting in selling, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Setting goals that are actually achievable and measurable is vital, not only to our success but to our confidence. And it all starts with what we base our goals on.

Moreover, goals lend clarity and purpose to your organization. They enable your team to track collective and individual performance. Goals also help assess the efficiency of tools and methods, and formulate strategies for improvement or growth.

Ideals guide us but aren’t achievable.

For many technoprenuers, coming up with big ideas is our bread and butter. In our imaginations, the sky’s the limit, and we can envision a future that might seem impossible in the present.

Having big dreams is part of what’s made you as successful as you are. While others might dismiss big dreams as “make-believe,” for you, it’s what keeps you fascinated and motivated and always growing. Having ideals helps you to envision your bigger future. But when you’re goal setting, it’s important to be able to distinguish make-believe from reality.

Our ideals are crucial. They help us look ahead and keep us inspired. Goal setting, however, requires that we extract achievable, measurable goals out of the abstract ideal. Ideals themselves are not achievable. But concrete goals are.

Measurement vs. make-believe.

The goals we set, based on our ideal vision of the breakthrough we want to achieve, must be measurable. They must be based on a specific number or specific event. An example of a measurable goal is “multiplying my revenue by 10x over the next five years” or “winning 15 new accounts by Q2.”

If your goal is too abstract (“improve my business,” “increase revenue”), it exists only in the realm of the ideal and will remain forever out of reach. When setting goals, remember—if it’s not measurable, it’s make-believe. Setting a non-specific goal means that you’ll never know for sure whether you’ve achieved it. If it’s too general, you’ll have no way of determining if you’re there yet or how far you have left to go.

Setting specific goals and executing detailed strategies for achieving them resulted to an average academic performance improvement of 30%.

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Revenue Strategy

How can technoprenuers connect revenue strategy to execution plan?

With a new year starting the timing is right to shift the focus to executing your revenue strategy with precision and achieving the planned outcomes. We have clearly see that technoprenuers who spend quality time in putting together a focussed revenue strategy and execution plan are far more successful that those that simply wing it.

It does not matter if you are a 20 person or 200 person tech shop. Having a plan and focussing your activities in the right direction will yield results.

Here is a sample revenue strategy and execution we put together for one of the mid sized tech firms that wanted to 2X revenue within next 12 months. We simply chopped off a geography and 2 products from the basket!

 

The tolerance for under performance is diminishing each year as technoprenuers understand that revenue growth (and sales) is a science not an art form and good planning and implementation methodologies do deliver results.

If you cannot plan and see how to make the money at the start of the year
the results are most unlikely to be there at the end of the year.

Technoprenuers spend considerable amount of time and effort in running their business but spend very little time in planning and translating that plan to quarterly action plans.

Often they find it cumbersome and tedious. Sometimes they simply do not know how to put this together and translate it into an execution plan.

For those who are struggling to put together a plan, here are some outline that can help you along the way.

In Agility Nexus revenue planning process, we focus on 4 areas – core strategy (where to focus to achieve our numbers), product/ solution portfolio, sales and marketing.

1) Core Strategy – In developing our core strategy we look at our desired revenue numbers, share holder expectations, how fast we want to achieve it and what resources we have to get there. We also look at markets, competition, product/solution lifecycles, our position and a future paced outlook to achieve our results.

 

2) Revenue Planning – We then move onto a detail plan that goes one step down into mix of segments, product/ solution portfolio, existing customers, new customer acquisition, products, territories and revenue opportunities.

 

3) Breaking down the revenue plan – this leads us to objectives of the revenue plan (includes both marketing and sales) and what are the requirements (and needs) to get them delivered. We use a 4 quarter, 90D sprint planning process to plan and execute the micro detail of what is required to be completed each day, week, month and quarter. The activities with the customers which steers the direction from where the sales revenue will be derived.

 

4) Sales Funnel and Process – We then develop (tweak) the sales process and funnel, by applying AICP framework (Attract, Interest, Convert and Propagate) that incorporates customer buying journey, acquisition channels, attraction and conversion tools that brings in paying customers. This also boils down to detailed weekly execution plan.

 

5) Weekly/Daily Progress Tracking – when you understand the activity requirement for the business, you can then monitor to ensure the activity, and the right activity is occurring. This is the engine behind any revenue results being achieved. We monitor the following key areas with well defined KPIs.

  • Demand Generation activities
  • Sales funnel activities,
  • Client conversations and conversions.

 

6) Monthly Review & Meetings – Technoprenuers should also review progress, on a monthly basis, with individual team members to the plan, realign them where necessary and remove barriers that will stop them achieving. You should keep the team focused on the right activities and allow them to demonstrate how they are managing prospects and customer base.

 

7) Quarterly Business Review – keeping the revenue plan active with a runway of one or two full quarters ahead, at any time of the year is a must. Ensuring the activities are feeding the short and medium term objectives of the company.

 

With the focus on performance, effectiveness and results maintained through quality dashboards, the team will understand how to manage and deliver the planned results. The most important contribution of all is frontline coaching and reinforcement of the activities that deliver success.

If you don’t have one, get started with your strategy and execution plans. It will clearly differentiate you from your competitors and focusses your efforts to achieve maximum results.

 

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3.    Join our Techcelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.

6 Steps Mid Size Tech Companies Can Take to 2X Revenues Within 12 Months

Over past 3 months, we studied 78 small and mid sized tech companies in South East Asia and and this is what we found out.

 

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3.    Join our Techcelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.

Authority

Why Build Authority Positioning in Your Niche?

Ok, you have built a kickass cloud management, optimization platform. Or you have just built an AI widget with APIs that can connect with gazillion apps.

Now, who knows you in the cloud or AI industry?

Have you established your presence at least in your target market?

If you are not systematically and methodically establishing yourself as an authority, at least in your target market, you are ignoring the true power behind the marketplace. This is the axiom behind authority marketing.

As a technopreneur, if your firm is not able to sharply differentiate itself from others around you, you are just another company in the mix.

But if you do, then you are on your way to becoming an authority in your niche or chosen field.

An authority has all the knowledge stored away. An authority who disperses his or her knowledge in a way that people rely on and seek is a celebrity.

Authority positioning affords your business to leverage its experience to gain an elevated expert status within the specialized confines of their industry. You become an educator and advocate for the success of those who rely on you;

then, your audience can find (and trust) you.

 

Fast-Tracking Your Authority

Strategies used to optimize your position as an expert celebrity include highlighting local (or regional) press, writing books and other authoritative and informative materials, and distributing your writing so that it becomes widely available.

You must provide your target audience with so much content and proof, showing that you understand and empathize with their needs, so that you are the only choice in their minds. This could be done by being interviewed on podcasts your target audience listens to, or even starting your own podcast so you can open huge doors of opportunity for your business by interviewing influencers in your industry.

For example, one of my clients, for whom I’ve helped position a youtube strategy, has told me that their youtube is now syndicated on different platforms, increasing its exposure. My client also uses the platform to approach prospects with the ask to interview them, opening the door for future conversations about my client’s expert services.

 

Think about this: If you were looking for a Digital firm to help your business get closer to cosmetics users who are predominantly teenage girls, how would you make your decision?

With the first Digital company, you meet them at your local tech group and think they pretty friendly, at least from what you can see in early morning networking meetings!

With the second Digital firm, you notice they were recently featured in your local chamber of commerce retail summit, wrote a popular ebook on how to structure user experience (UX) for omnichannel retail consumers and has a weekly podcast you listen to about recent developments in retail technology.

Who would you choose?

Both may do a fabulous job, but we are all so busy that we tend to make decisions based on who seems to be the most qualified, and this is tied to visibility. In fact, the accountant who has established himself as an authority has vastly improved his “perceived value” in the marketplace.

 

Placement And Positioning

In the real world of business, I have found that respect comes not from media savviness but from the ability to make your knowledge into something useful for others. The primary way business owners can generate widespread respect for their authority is through understanding the technology and methods they work with and generating solutions from them.

Being able to generate and distribute applications for what you know will garner substantial unassailable value.

Authoritative entrepreneurs must display not only a tolerance but a thirst for change. When others are unsure of their response to change, the authoritative business owner must maintain a consistent viewpoint that portrays a protocol in place to allow change to be integrated into the business.

Look for ways to document your knowledge. It may be recording your thoughts with your phone about a specific problem you recently solved for a client. Guess what you can do with that?

Transcribe the recording and repurpose it into a blog post, your next email update to your clients, a social media post — the list goes on! See how easy this can be? But the first step is getting started and deciding to keep it up, even if it’s only once a month!

Remember: Building your authority should be your No. 1 priority.

Go to Market

How to keep Go To Market Strategy simple?

I have been observing and working with company companies on how they take their product or service to market. While most have it right to a certain extent a lot can be done to make GTM slick, precise, high yielding and cost-effective.

This one diagram says it all.

Now assuming that you are not a startup and you have a product or solution that has been commercialized and is available to the public, your company can amplify one of these two areas: Sales and Marketing.
When I am working with a $20M revenue company, I still see CEOs make a mistake in not use the right GTM strategy to drive revenue. For example, hiring a high-touch, expensive sales force to sell a low-priced product can be disastrous. After this misstep, an otherwise high-potential company may fail to grow fast enough to compete or reach profitability.
Here is another chart to show more attributes that can decide your GTM strategy.

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3.    Join our Techcelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.