The world of company building has changed, and a new strategic and operational mindset is needed. Scaling a technology business today requires a deeper emphasis on execution and a better understanding of the link between strategy and execution.
While strategy is a topic that tends to be well understood, we’ve found a notable gap in understanding what is required to support great execution. To address this gap, we have developed a framework for execution specifically focused on revenue. We are calling this the Revenue Execution Model (or REM). The model has input from Inovia EiRs, CEOs, and other C-level execs in our community who have successfully executed on revenue scale or transformation with successful outcomes. It benefits many stages of company building: from establishing a scalable and repeatable revenue engine foundation to resetting or evolving at any stage.
To illustrate the interplay between strategy and execution, we have created the Strategy and Execution Loop. Strategy is needed to provide the direction required to execute toward common objectives. Execution is how you translate your strategy into actions. The time, energy and expertise the whole team needs to execute consistently are often underestimated, or worse, misunderstood. It requires a deep level of diligence into the specifics [See footnote 1.]
Strategy informs execution, and learnings gained from execution, in turn, help shape strategy; it is a continuous loop. We believe CEOs and executives need to be good at both strategy and execution despite the misconception that executives are typically only good at one or the other. [See footnote 2.]
The REM develops all the stages of the Execution side of the loop.
The REM model identifies the components of a revenue engine that executives typically know and discuss. We’ve organized all of the elements in logical groupings, and identified what good and bad execution looks like for each. We also introduced the concepts of ‘Basecamp’ and ‘Summit’ as a practical guide and a baseline for executives to measure progress against.
How CEOs and the executive team can use the model:
(a) To assess their status and rate themselves on each component of the engine (red, yellow, or green)
(b) To prioritize which parts of the engine to build or evolve. Here, it is less about “does the CEO know,” and more about “do we as an Executive Team know how to operationalize this?”. It’s a practical tool that reinforces the type of alignment, clarity and culture needed to execute with precision.
The big components of the REM are outlined below. Consider it a menu of items to choose from and improve on. Keep in mind that you are only as good as your weakest link.
Baseline elements that need to be in place first:
- Company strategy: One-pager defining your strategy.
- Team strategy: Organizational plans, role mandates, key revenue roles.
- Culture of execution: Executive team culture, team execution culture, process to operationalize, systems & infrastructure.
Projects that need to be executed on, in prioritized order:
- The numbers: Operational management plan model, forecasting process, executive team compensation, contracts and pricing.
- Customer revenue execution: Customer journey/CX process, renewal revenue execution, expand revenue execution, at-risk SWAT process.
- Sales & Marketing execution: Revenue leaders alignment, ICP Focus, Sales pipe creation, Marketing pipe creation, SDR/BDR process, and Sales Process.
- Content execution: Sales materials, sales wiki, analyst strategy, digital experience execution.
- Product revenue execution: Product & Customer revenue framework, Product & Sales revenue framework, Security strategy, Product solutions in the sales process, product positioning.
The REM provides a practical roadmap for CEOs and executives to understand the interplay between strategy and execution and optimize their revenue engine for growth. Start using it today, and let us know your thoughts!
Take your execution to the next level,
A word from Inovia Partner Hugues Lalancette
It has been an incredible pleasure to spend more time with Kristine Steuart in recent months since she joined Inovia as an EiR. We’ve enjoyed working with her and executive teams across the portfolio. Her experience as a CEO/Co-founder helped shape new ideas that we think are now more relevant than ever. 2023 is clearly a special moment in time; things move more dynamically. We believe it’s a time that requires a new strategic and operating mindset, one that helps drive precise execution.
We also wanted to take this opportunity to encourage folks to look beyond the market swings we’re experiencing and explore a long-term perspective. Building global enduring technology companies takes time. For investors, there is a generational opportunity to invest now and drive great returns. For entrepreneurs, there is an even larger opportunity to dominate markets as competition falters. We hope that going through the Revenue Execution Model provides you with a structure to concentrate on controllable areas of your business, and helps bring new perspectives on how you’re thinking about the path forward.
[Footnote 1] There is a misconception that focusing on execution, including the specific details of how to execute your vision and strategy, is too detail-oriented. In my experience, great CEOs understand the importance of getting into some of the specifics, especially when driving significant business transformations or shifts. During these critical periods of change, the CEO and executive team must be closely involved in the mechanics of the business to establish foundational elements that will support the company’s long-term growth. Understanding how your engine works, so to speak, is essential. It’s not necessary to be “always on,” but knowing when to take a deep dive into the specifics sets great leaders and executive teams apart.
[Footnote 2] There is a school of thought that executives are either more of a ‘strategic/visionary’ leader or more of a ‘operational/execution’ focused leader. I believe that to be a great CEO or executive team leader, you must be good at both strategy and execution. HBR has a great article on the duality required of leaders, highlighting one of the critical leadership traits of being a “strategic executor.” Read it here.