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Revenue only comes from one place – the customer. Too often, companies don’t fully consider the complete revenue picture when pursuing their revenue growth agenda. This post reinforces the importance of taking an end-to-end customer lifecycle and full-funnel perspective to create and optimize a comprehensive revenue architecture.

The following diagram is an example of a Customer Lifecycle model. The strategy is to select the right customers in the right market and convert them into prospects and customers, ultimately building advocacy. This cycle creates a ‘flywheel effect,’ creating value and accelerating revenue performance.


The marketing, sales, and service processes should align with the buying and customer lifecycle. In this example, the customer journey and our marketing and sales process follow six stages:

  1. Aware Stage.  At this stage, the customer confronts a problem or opportunity and searches for and researches potential solutions. In high-consideration products and services, they often form a committee to navigate the research and purchasing process. Our job is to Attract the prospect early in their search and exploration with search-optimized content, events, and experiences that engage buyers to create and qualify leads and opportunities. Our efforts should be prioritized toward attracting the best customers with the greatest potential for lifetime value.
  2. Consider Stage. Now as they are further along their journey, they begin to narrow their choices. Their interactions may still be largely digital, but they may also connect with influencers, meet with sales teams, and pursue various educational experiences. Our job is to engage prospects with the right mix of digital and physical experiences,  using permission marketing principles and collaboratively qualifying mutual fit while providing persona-based educational resources.
  3. Decide Stage. At this stage, the buyer fully confirms product/service/solution fit and value, engaging directly in the buy-sell process with one or a short list of potential sellers.  Our job is to convert new and deepen existing customers at the desired volume and velocity. We apply the right sales process and skills to convert the opportunity into committed business.
  4. Onboard Stage. In the past, revenue might have been recognized at the sales decision, but today, many businesses have recurring revenue models, and revenue realization is only beginning. Customers may be excited as they anticipate using the product and service. Yet, without proper customer execution, they may lose focus and fail to deploy the solution effectively, introducing potential churn. Our job is to deliver an effective customer experience to onboard our solutions effectively, including the right activation, training, and delivery to maximize satisfaction and foster retention.
  5. Activate Stage. The customer is now at a critical stage in their process. This may be where the heavy lifting occurs as they need to implement the solution, adopt the service or install the product. They are still not realizing full value yet investing time and energy, creating a temporarily negative value impact. Revenue remains at risk until they realize the expected value from the offering. Our job is to service and delight the customer as they start to activate our solution in their business.
  6. Benefit Stage. Finally, the customer has fully activated the product or service and is realizing benefits.  Revenue is secure when the customer realizes the benefits they expect. Yet, as needs change and companies evolve, our product-market fit may be tested. Retention and revenue risk can increase without a continuous commitment to product/ service value. Our job is to impact value and deliver customer experiences that pave the way for greater LTV, advocacy, and referrals.

By taking a customer-first approach and leveraging the ‘flywheel effect,’ you can drive accelerated, predictable, and sustainable revenue performance. Attracting and engaging the right prospects means it is easier to sell, customers realize better outcomes, and stay longer. They also expand their usage and adoption and become advocates for your brand – driving referrals and awareness.

A typical priority in revenue growth transformation and Revenue Architecture design is getting to the next level of Demand Generation and Buyer Engagement effectiveness.  Quite often, companies come to us with what they perceive as a “marketing execution” issue. When we dig a little deeper in a Diagnostic, it often becomes clear that while there are always improvement opportunity in the mechanics of marketing execution, core issues often revolve around a broader view of buyer engagement strategy.

For better demand generation performance, it is helpful to validate your buyer engagement strategy by answering these 3 central questions and following these 9 best practices:

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Marketing and Sales

Qualification requires a more collaborative approach. Deal Qualification should not be considered as a moment in time, rather it happens thorough buyer engagement process and across the end-to-end marketing and sales funnel. Qualification is based on a body of knowledge and insights gained through prospect engagement along the buyer journey.

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Market Success


Independent Advisors need a strategy-led, systematic growth program.

The Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™outlines the Revenue Architecture Methodology that financial advisors can use to add greater structure and predictability in their revenue engine. We introduce nine steps and advisor-specific marketing and sales strategies that are helping advisors capture client value.

The comprehensive guide helps independent financial advisors build a strategy-led, systematic growth program with 9 proven strategies. The goal is to help advisors:

  • Increase Volume: Generate More Visits & Inquiries
  • Increase Client Value: Get Better Qualified Inquiries
  • Increase Velocity: Increase your Conversion Rate
  • Increase AUM and Revenue: Optimize Engagement for AUM growth and Revenue Impact.

Having a vision and game plan for growth is important for financial advisors to thrive in a challenging marketplace. The Smart Book™ outlines how you can achieve more predictable and sustainable revenue growth by establishing a Revenue Architecture that fits your firm. The key is to commit to a systematic sales and marketing process by following the 9 proven strategies to guide your approach.

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Professional Selling

Envision the best ways to access your particular market segments and ideal clients.

In the Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™.  we outline a strategy-led, systematic growth program with 9 proven strategies. The goal is to help advisors:

  • Volume: Generate More Visits & Inquiries
  • Velocity: Accelerate the Process
  • Value: Grow AUM growth and Revenue.

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Marketing and Sales

Written with contributions from Ed Funaro

As growth focused companies realize the critical synergies required across the marketing, sales and customer success functions, they are increasingly recruiting a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to lead the way. Yet many CROs fail without a properly defined role and an adequate onboarding process. It is vital to ensure CRO success.

A Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) is responsible for a company’s revenue streams. He/she has the ultimate accountability for driving revenue growth. The role is clearly cross functional. The CRO oversees and aligns revenue-generating departments: Marketing, Sales and Customer Success. It is a challenging role. The average tenure of a Chief Revenue officer working at the same company is incredibly brief – only about 18 months, according to an annual survey from CSO Insights.

The first 90 days are critical – Whether a company makes money rests with the CRO. Expectations are that the CRO will have about one quarter or 90 days to prove they can meet management’s expectations. As Michael Watkins points out in his top selling book The First 90 Days.

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This post is updated. The original post was published in 2017.

Personas represent the needs and behaviors of your ideal clients and are helpful in shaping your positioning and messaging.

We recently published the 2020 Edition of the Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™.  This resource is a comprehensive guide to help independent financial advisors build an ‘independent difference,’ that is, a strategy-led, systematic growth program with 9 proven strategies. The goal is to help advisors:

  • Increase Volume: Generate More Visits & Inquiries
  • Increase Client Value: Get Better Qualified Inquiries
  • Increase Velocity: Increase Conversion Rates
  • Increase AUM and Revenue: Optimize Engagement for AUM growth and Revenue Impact.

[Strategy 2 of 9] Valued Offering ~ Craft Market-Ready Service Offerings and Segment Messaging

You will be surprised how effective it is when you communicate offerings based on specific personas that represent the needs (or pain points) and behaviors of your best clients.

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