How To Grow Revenue In An Uncertain Economy

Growth Architect and author of Revenue Growth Engine, helping great companies create and execute plans to grow revenue.

The challenges of 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic issues have many businesses wondering how they can grow their revenue in 2021. For most businesses, 2021 will be a make-or-break year. 

In an uncertain environment, business owners, marketing leaders and sales leaders need to look for areas where they can find certainty. While you cannot control the economy, there are some critical areas you can control. In this article, I want to share four key areas where you can find certainty to help drive predictable growth in an uncertain economy.

Get certain about your revenue goals.

How do you set revenue goals in an uncertain time? You look at the two ways to grow revenue: add net new clients and cross-sell more to your current client.

Start by setting a goal for growing net-new business. How many active clients do you have? With the right marketing and sales processes in place, how many new clients could you add in the coming year?

Next, set a goal for revenue per client. To find your revenue per client, simply take your total revenue and divide it by the number of active clients. What is your current revenue per client? With consistent marketing and sales processes in place to cross-sell more to your current client, how much could you increase your revenue per client this coming year?

Now, take your new total number of customers and multiply it by the revenue per client. Now you have a revenue goal. This goal is based on some measurable drivers: number of clients and revenue per client.

Get certain about your ideal clients.

The next area of certainty is your ideal client profile. Who are your ideal clients? These are the types of clients who have the potential to accelerate your results and create a stable stream of revenue.

Vilfredo Pareto, a renowned Italian economist, developed the Pareto principle, which states that 80% of results come from 20% of effort. The 80/20 rule is at play in your client base. Which of your clients drive 80% of your revenue? Which of your clients have the most revenue potential? 

Identify these clients. Document their demographics (e.g., size, industry, location) and psychographics (e.g., what you like about working with them). Use this to create your ideal client profile.

In your customer relationships management system, make sure all your current ideal clients are clearly marked. Then, analyze data about your ideal prospects that matches the demographics and psychographics of your ideal clients. Make sure these are clearly marked in your CRM as well. 

Get certain about your message.

Now that you understand who your ideal clients are, get clear about what they want. Buyer’s do not buy your products; they buy the outcomes your products deliver. These include your ideal clients’ goals and challenges. What are their goals, and how can you help them achieve their goals? What are their challenges, and how can you help overcome these challenges?

In a world where everyone is competing for attention, the only thing that has a chance of getting through a buyer’s filter is information and ideas about the outcomes they want. 

Use this as the ingredients for all your messaging. Lead with outcomes on your website, case studies, emails, social posts and online ads. For your sales message, lead with outcomes on your prospecting sequences, brochures, sales presentations, proposals and quarterly business reviews. 

Get certain about your revenue growth plan.

With clarity on your goals, your ideal clients and your message, it’s time to get clear about your growth plan. What marketing and sales processes do you have in place to drive both net new and cross-sell revenue? 

In my book, I talk about how to build a marketing and sales engine that drives both net-new and cross-sell revenue. The cylinders of your engine are your marketing and sales processes. You need consistent processes to drive net-new and cross-sell revenue. 

Unfortunately, I’ve found that most companies only have a few cylinders in their revenue growth engine. For example, a company might have a sales force that consistently drives net new business by prospecting, but it does not consistently get qualified opportunities through marketing. That same company might not be achieving its cross-sell potential, landing new clients but not expanding its wallet share.

The more cylinders you add to an engine, the faster you can accelerate. The more marketing and sales processes you can add to your company, the more power you have to hit your net new and cross-sell goals. More cylinders means more certainty.

Take decisive action.

Right now, I want to challenge you to add certainty to your business by taking decisive action in these four areas:

1. Write down your number of clients and revenue per client.

2. Write down the names of five clients that fit the profile of an ideal client.

3. Write down three goals and three challenges these ideal clients have. Then, jump on a web meeting with each of the five ideal clients and ask them to validate your assumptions.

4. Rate your growth engine. On a scale of 1-10, how good are you at adding net new clients? How effective are you at cross-selling?

As we move into an uncertain business season, we need to find certainty. These four areas offer the potential to help you create a more certain future.


Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: