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HomeArticle: Driving Revenues

Revenue Growth

Driving Revenues:
The levers for maximizing immediate revenues

To fight a war, a country may have at its disposal an arsenal of resources and avenues: air force, army, navy, cyber warfare, public relations, war propaganda, etc. When, where and how each is leveraged determines the outcome of each battle and ultimately the war. The successful overall war strategy must include integrated battle plans that exercise the right combination of levers.

Integrated Approach

Similarly, to drive revenues, a company has several levers at its disposal. However, companies often do not develop and follow an integrated approach to driving revenues. Responsibility for revenue generation falls solely within the sales department's purview. Too often, individual salespeople independently develop their own approach to drive their own sales.

Revenue levers can have either a long-term or short-term effect. Developing new product/services is an example of a longer-term revenue lever. Companies are better at managing longer-term levers, but they often do a poor job leveraging or optimizing the mix of short-term levers.

“You must understand and proactively exercise your revenue levers.”


Short-term Levers

Some businesses do excel at optimizing short-term levers. Consider the case of a flea market vendor. She arranges her wares in such a manner as to first attract attention, and second to highlight her best selling items. If during the day, she notices customer's interest shifting to different items, she reconfigures her layout of items to maximize sales.

Larger retailers follow a similar approach. The layout of the store and items displayed during the Christmas holiday season is quite different than what you will find before Valentine's day.

Other industries that have developed the art and science of leveraging short-term levers include airlines, hotels, and internet retailers. Airlines and hotels constantly vary prices and promotions to match seasonal demand patterns and adjust prices on a daily basis to match demand against existing inventory. Since airlines and hotels have a perishable commodity (an empty seat on a flight is revenues lost forever), how well they manage their immediate revenues has a huge impact on their annual performance. Internet companies like Amazon constantly adjust their top-of-list item displays based on each customer's shifting buying interests to "capture the moment" where they have the customer's "eyeballs."

Types of Levers

The levers for your company may include focusing on a mix of products/services to emphasize in the marketplace, targeting certain market and customer segments, leveraging specific marketing and sales messages, offering specific promotions and pricing, and other creative mechanisms based on your particular situation. The movie studios, as an example, target different market segments during different seasons. During the summer and winter holidays they release movies targeting kids and families.

There are other examples of levers. One software company insisted customers buy all their software modules integrated as one system. The integrated system was suitable for larger customers with deeper pockets, but smaller customers could not afford and did not need all the modules. As a result, smaller customers migrated to other solutions. After it recognized the alarming trend, the company decoupled its modules that allowed smaller customers to buy the modules they needed. A small change in product configuration helped the company impact revenues immediately.

Ask yourself, how well do you leverage your short-term revenue levers? How nimble is your strategy to maximize immediate revenues? Do you manage your short-term revenues actively or passively? You must take the time to identify and understand each short-term revenue lever. Then, dynamically and opportunistically choose and exercise the right combination of levers to drive revenues immediately.


Ravi Kathuria 
A recognized business thought leader, Kathuria has been quoted in various publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, WorldNews, and featured on the BusinessMakers show, CBS Radio, and is a monthly columnist for the SmartBusiness Magazine.

Kathuria is the author of the highly acclaimed book, The Coherent Company: Drive coherence across mission, vision, goals, strategy, execution & culture to unleash business performance. It is a realistic and intense story of how a CEO struggles to transform the business and, in the process, struggles with his personal transformation.

Kathuria is the founder and president of  Cohegic Corporation, a management consulting, executive coaching and sales coaching firm. Halliburton, Hewlett-Packard, St. Lukes Episcopal Health System, AT&T, and Imperial Sugar Company executives have co-published seminal business articles with Kathuria in the Houston Business Journal on sales effectiveness, performance, corporate culture, and change management.

Invited to speak at large conferences and corporate meetings, Kathuria is a thought provoking and vivacious speaker. He has spoken at the 5th Annual Veterans Entrepreneurship Conference, Rice University, Business Forum on Emerging Markets, University of Houston's Wolff Center For Entrepreneurship, University of Texas' Fleming Center for Healthcare Management, Institute of Internal Auditors, Dover Club, Galleria Chamber of Commerce, American Business Women's Association, French American Chamber of Commerce, Business Resources Group, Financial Executives Networking Group, Silver Fox Advisors, Houston Technology Center and the 2011 SPE Americas E&P Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference.