The CEO Challenge

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CEO Challenge

5 Times When Ignorance isn’t Bliss

Concept of fear with businessman like an ostrich

  1. We feel pretty good so another year (actually the 4th year) goes buy with no annual physical and then we say we are unlucky when we learn what we could have prevented a serious illness.
  1. We go to an investment firm give them our money and celebrate how smart we are if it grows and sue them if it doesn’t.
  1. Those life insurance sales people are scare mongers who just want your money – at least that is what you told your spouse and kids.
  1. Retirement planning is banker’s way of getting in your pocket and keeping you cash strapped.
  1. Your company is doing well. You are making money, the company is growing, you have the family on the payroll and the bank has extended more credit to you.  There is no reason to focus on making “Revenue Science” part of your culture today when everything is good.

Life is always about things we can control and things we can’t control.  When it comes to your company you can control whether or not you have an intentional Revenue Strategy that is aligned to “Revenue Science” and deployed along a metric driven Revenue RoadMap.

You control the culture your company develops based on your actions or inactions.

You can control what you do in the short-term to position your company for the long-term and the intentional achievement of your Revenue Strategy goals.

When you are lucky enough to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right product you can assure predictable revenue growth in the short-term and over the long-term by intentionally creating a “Revenue Science” culture.  If you are not lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time the “Revenue Science” culture works even better.

What you shouldn’t do is believe that the right place, right time, right product bubble won’t burst and take you with it.  Ignorance is NEVER a defense and a “Revenue Science” culture is always the winning offense.


Article written by Rick McPartlin

Rick McPartlin

As the co-founder and president of The Revenue Game, my mission is to help companies focus their organizations around the critical function of "revenue generation."

CEO Challenge

“Do Buyers Still Need Salespeople?”

This is a question from a famous company’s post and it could have just as easily been “do CEOs need salespeople?”Salesperson

The important thing about this question is the way it is posed.  It is presented as if there is a YES or NO answer and that may not be true.

The next time you stop for gas, or milk ask yourself if you need a sales person to make these purchases and if you would pay for that help?

In another situation imagine your business was going to move your company’s data and applications from a secure server at your headquarters to the cloud?  Would you need someone to explain how the transition works, or what the risks are, or how those risks are managed or removed, or what are the financial considerations of moving vs. not moving, or how security and backup differ or the impact on staffing if you changed to the cloud?  Would you need someone to talk with, to help you with what you don’t know and someone to be sure you are getting the support you need?  If you need that someone would you expect to pay for that support as part of the engagement?

Most of us would prefer no salesperson for milk or gas yet want support during the process for a cloud migration.  The result is the answer to the questions are is absolutely NO and absolutely YES.

These are diagnostic questions that the buyer answers for themselves and the CEO can answer based on the target buyer behaviors and the outcomes to achieve.

Maybe this is not about “salespeople” at all.  Maybe this is about the selling function and how it supports different buyer profiles and different offers.  Maybe in some cases we need sales people until we move to a place where we don’t need salespeople?

For decades people called the Sears catalog 800 number to talk with a sales person and / or answered unsolicited calls at dinner to hear about insurance because without the sales person the process was hard or near impossible.

The real world has demonstrated the answer to the question “does anybody still need salespeople” is both YES and NO.  The Sears catalog is no longer a major income source since seldom does anyone call.  The remaining dinner interruption sales calls can go away because the buyers will use the internet to get insurance.

Selling is a required process and yet some of the world’s bestselling organizations have few or no salespersons (Amazon, Google, Quicken Loans, and Lending Tree).  Sometimes salespersons add great value and sometimes they can be a costly inhibitor for both the buyer and the CEO.

Last century a great sales person was one who was in the right place at the right time and wrote LOTS of orders.  Today a great sales person is one who adds value that compels the buyer to buy, in a shorter period of time and to pay for the full value delivered (including paying for the salesperson).

For the CEO their job is to match the selling process with problem the buyer is compelled to solve.  The buyers know if they need the value provided by the salesperson or if they prefer the value from a selling process with no salesperson that functions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with an internet full of details, recommendations and customer history.

So remove the meaningless generic questions and replace them with “how to make the selling process deliver the most value to the buyer!”



Article written by Rick McPartlin

Rick McPartlin

As the co-founder and president of The Revenue Game, my mission is to help companies focus their organizations around the critical function of "revenue generation."

CEO Challenge

Sales is like Surgery:

You have to know when to practice, who to practice on and what is the best outcome for the client (patient)

Several surgeons surrounding patient on operation table during their work

Often individuals and organizations are structured around activity.  More sales calls, proposals, meetings, cold calls,

networking, and emails.  All of this is based on the belief that everyone in a certain industry, profile, geography, or niche needs to buy something from us.

Over a glass of wine with peers we will share that activity-based strategy, metrics and operations is not the best way to grow revenue but in the morning we go back to the office and start again.

Surgery and sales have a number of things in common.  More is not necessarily better.  Not everyone needs surgery.  Before surgery there needs to be a diagnosis everyone can support and when surgery goes forward it is the best procedure possible with an almost guaranteed outcome.

On the business side both surgery and sales have high fixed costs and require the best team possible, which attracts those in need of the service (meaning less cost of marketing, more wins, more margin).

The research tells us this is true so why can’t we stop pushing useless activity and think like a surgeon creating outcomes as perfect as possible in the right situations?

We can’t stop because we don’t practice “Revenue Science.”  Business leadership stills treats "Revenue Generation" as an art form and the more artists who do sales and marketing the more likely a few will get it right and we will survive.

Stop doing that activity thing.  "Revenue Generation" is a science just like medicine so manage it that way.


Article written by Rick McPartlin

Rick McPartlin

As the co-founder and president of The Revenue Game, my mission is to help companies focus their organizations around the critical function of "revenue generation."

CEO Challenge

Conflict or Concurrence – Your Customer Conversation

Often the conversation between a sales person and the customer is one of concurrence.  The sales bellcurve-2person is concurring with customer requests like engagement process, timeframes, roles, and of course price.

Another sales person seems to be in conflict with the customer requests.  This sales person challenges delivery, approach, outcomes to achieve, roles and the fee.

Are these two conversations about a sales person’s style or are they strategic?

“Revenue Science” and the BellCurve tool tell us that on the right side of the BellCurve the buyer buys “stuff” based on price and logistics.  The buyer knows everything they need to know to make the purchase and they tell the seller what will make a good transaction.  On this side of the BellCurve a winning conversation shows the buyer that the seller understands and will deliver as requested - this is a concurrence conversation.

On the left end of the BellCurve the customer is buying the sellers brain.  The seller knows how to solve a problem that is significant and compelling to the buyer and by definition the buyer does not know how to solve this problem.  Often the buyer can’t even fully explain the problem, the pain, the options or the best possible outcome.  Given this the customer needs the seller brain and help to achieve the “best possible outcome.”

In this case the seller’s communication will appear to be in conflict with what the customer thinks they want.  It is this conflict that clarifies the customers “best possible outcome” and what has to be done to achieve that.

Both conversations have their purpose and their place and they are not the same purpose or place

Article written by Rick McPartlin

Rick McPartlin

As the co-founder and president of The Revenue Game, my mission is to help companies focus their organizations around the critical function of "revenue generation."

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