The dimensions of buyers (both current customers and prospects) and offers (current and new products or services) describe a range of possible revenue flow opportunities. Among the possibilities are really just three basic strategies.
- An organization can retain the revenue from its current customers, which is called retention selling. While it many not actually lose any customer companies from one year to the next, an organization usually loses some of its current revenue from current offer. It’s deceptive. The customer remains, but some of the business is lost. In fact, the average business-to-business sales organization retains only about 84 percent of its prior year’s revenue. So, to grow it has to find new revenue.
- A company can grow revenue from its current customers, which is called penetration selling. Penetraton breaks into two different types of selling. Buyer penetration is gaining additional buyers for the same product or service. For example, a shipping company that focuses on ground transportation would try to get more buyers within the same large customer account to use its services instead of another carrier or shipping method. Product penetration is growing with additional products the customer may not be purchasing. So that shipping company might capture more current customer growth by selling its air shipping service to a customer that’ already using its ground service.
- A company can create revenue through new customer selling, which also breaks into two types. New competitive wins provide growth through new customers that are already purchasing similar products from competitors. The shipping company may win a new contract for international shipping from a competitor that held that business last year. New Market selling is developing a new opportunity with a new customer that hasn’t purchased that product before. For example, the shipping company may offer logistics services to a new customer to help the customer improve the operations of its warehouse facilities. Of course, this strategy could ultimately result in the company winning the customer’s shipping business, too.
–from “What Your CEO Needs to Know About Sales Compensation” (www.amacombooks.org) by Mark Donnolo