Top line growth is the raison d’être for every business whether it is a product based business or is offering certain services. A business cannot survive without experiencing consistent growth in revenue and revenue stagnation is not an option either for new entrepreneurs or established companies with mature products and services.
If your business doesn’t have a strategy in place to accelerate revenue generation, the impact will be felt in its bottom line as well. Many businesses believe containing a business’s operating costs is enough to boost bottom line growth, but this is a short term strategy at best. If your business is not correctly positioned for growth in revenue, your bottom line will fall apart.
A Top Line Growth Strategy
The key to improving top line growth for your business is crafting and implementing a strategy that optimizes your sales, marketing and customer service efforts. Call them the three pillars of your business’s revenue generation ecosystem. You need a customer centric business philosophy that focuses on delivering value for your customers. The ideal growth strategy seeks to optimize the marketing initiatives of a business; helps explore new sales channels and tie everything together with real time customer support that builds lasting customer relationships.
Let’s take a look at 7 elements of a top line strategy that support robust growth:
1. Tap Growth Opportunities Before your Competitors
The ideal growth strategy is exploring opportunities that have very little or no competition. Go where no business has gone before. While this is as difficult as it sounds, it is not impossible.
You begin with understanding your marketplace, the past trends that governed this marketplace and the market conditions that preceded these trends. This will help you spot indicators that signify the arrival of a new trend. You are first off the blocks to take advantage of a trend because you can anticipate its arrival before your competitors.
The book ‘Second Bounce of the Ball: Turning Risk into Opportunity’ by Sir Ronald Cohen is a must read if you want to identify new market opportunities. It talks about capitalizing on market opportunities that have the potential to become popular trends in the future, but look like risks at first glance. As a business, growth is only achieved if you are able to break-away from your competition and doing what they aren’t. This might look like a risky proposition at start but if you do it right, this decision will help set your business up for new market success.
Another way of going about identifying new opportunities is to keep reading reports and surveys that give you a clear idea of the ‘State of the Market’ and predict its growth. It’s expensive to commission surveys like these, but you can opt for the next best option which is buying them from organizations that are conducting relevant surveys. This data will help you spot opportunities that you might never have thought of exploring.
2. Re-imagining Marketing
Today, businesses have to cope with customers who love targeted messaging. Yes, we have entered the age of personalized marketing, where a marketing message needs to be perfectly tailored to suit the needs and requirements of individual customers. You’ll need to leverage the potential of big data to get into the minds of customers, zero in on their interests and preferences, what they want and how will they buy what they want. Your marketing efforts need to be more customer-defined than ever. They need to be a mix of outbound and inbound and preferably skewed towards the latter.
Not many customers like receiving sales calls, but they do not mind coming across product ads when they are spending time online and searching for products and services. An ideal marketing scenario is when they come across information about your products/services when they are actually looking for them.
3. Keep Adding to your Sales Channels
If your business’s physical address is its sole sales channel, you have a long and difficult road ahead of you in your quest to take revenue growth northwards. Your target customers are opting for newer ways to buy products and services. Some make their way to a physical store while others opt to shop online.
When it comes to online shopping some people prefer heading to online market place rather than brand websites; others prefer buying from the social media pages of their brands. To put it simply, there is no single sales channel that you can stick to and optimize for boosting top line growth. You need to sell the way your customers expect you to sell. Using multiple sales channels allows you to do just that. Bring about a convergence of your physical and online sales channels. Make sure your overall sales strategy is a mix of direct, indirect and digitals sales.
This way you can not only satisfy the sales expectations of your customers but also cover diverse markets. Result – better sales ergo top line growth.
4. Bring a Degree of Seamlessness to your Sales, Marketing and Customer Service Efforts
Identifying previously untapped markets/opportunities, potential customers, increasing sales channels is all well and good and will definitely build top-line growth, but only with a rider in place. All your activities must be seamlessly integrated with the back end and front end processes of your business. Take for example the case of increased sales channels leading to more product orders. In this case, if your sales channels are not seamlessly integrated with order processing, you won’t be able to optimize your sales figures. The same is the case with customer support. Your marketing and sales initiatives must be wedded into real time customer support, absence of which will impact the deliverability of these initiatives.
The best way to go about ensuring better management and control of your top line growth strategy is to take the help of technology that allows you to automate certain activities and provides the tools that help you execute your strategy with the efficacy it demands. What it also helps you do is give you a wealth of data that tells you the impact of pricing decisions on the sales of your business.
5. Look Within and Prepare for a Long Haul
Customers are your core assets but so are your organization’s employees. Revenue growth is directly proportional to ability of your workforce. Looking at business growth purely through a sales prism will deliver diminishing returns. A well-trained staff that is as committed to your business’s growth prospect as you are is an absolute must if you want to set in motion a top line growth strategy that delivers returns. Put in place a culture of learning and development to build long term capabilities for your business. What you are essentially doing is strengthening your business’s ability to implement your growth strategy with confidence and avoiding any missteps along the way.
6. Using Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics is the new buzz word these days. As a business, you’ll hear plenty of buzz words, enough to overwhelm you. What you need to do is identify the ones that will play an important role in determining the trajectory of your business; predictive analytics is one of them. What you will do is use forecasting analytics to anticipate demand for your products and services and plan accordingly.
It also helps you support your marketing analytics; this in turn helps you predict the impact of your marketing programs. Ordinary marketing analytics are not as forward looking as they need to be, which doesn’t make them a good pick for solid decision making. This is where predictive analytics enters the picture to make marketing analytics more worthwhile. This can lead to informed decision making.
There is absolutely no doubt that predictive analytics plays an important role in how your marketing and sales strategy pans out.
Innovation is the fuel that keeps your business in the hunt always. There are new products entering the market all the time and some of them might be better than your existing products. Even a marginal improvement over your product can be enough to spell death knell for your sales figures. This is why it is important to make product innovation an important component of your business’s growth strategy. This ensures your business’s hold over its market is not tenuous and while the arrival of new products can challenge your market position, you can compete successfully with them.
As a business who wants to keep growing in spite of the changing demands of your customers, increased niche competition and various pulls and pressures of the market, you need to develop and implement a top line growth strategy. You simply can’t do without it.Tags: Inbound Marketing, Sales Channels, Sales Strategy