Here's the Situation
In my line of work I see a lot of “situations”. Thanks, Jersey Shore for the amazing term! I would call a situation anytime things need to change so you have to piece together a way to evaluate, make decisions and adjust, but can’t do so effectively. You piece things together for so long that it becomes the norm- the way it’s always been done.
Signs of a situation are:
- graveyards of processes rolled out and stopped because they were too convoluted
- the same data living in multiple places, saying different things
- a system with validations so tight, everything is an exception
- people required to make decisions with no visibility
No one is immune to changes in the media / advertising industry. The root cause of the situation is often not coming from within. It stems, not from bad leadership or poor decisions, but from market forces beyond anyone’s control. Often these process graveyards, validations and data pockets began with the best intentions- to make things better, to feel more in control.
You know that graph that’s a line of revenue decreasing from left to right over time while a much smaller revenue line peeks out from the bottom left moving right over time? It’s driven by a switch from print to digital, native to branded content, direct to indirect, desktop to mobile, purely digital to supplemental commerce.
It looks like this:
I’ve prepared this chart many times and heard many CEO’s and Sales Leaders speak to it. They all say roughly the same thing (I’m paraphrasing now) – “this is our situation and it doesn’t look great for everything we have come to know and love, but at some point those two lines will cross and everything will be ok again… We just don’t know when that’s going to happen.”
Even the best CEO, Sales Leader or financial model will have trouble predicting exactly when the lines will merge and everyone will be safe. When faced with external forces like this, what they can do, what you can do, is simply manage through it.
Managing through it requires that you are able to answer:
- Is there enough pipeline in the areas needed to drive new growth?
- Are inbound leads driving the pipeline or proactive ideas brought to market?
- Which are more effective?
- What are the margins?
- Which products are driving revenue growth, which are driving margins?
- Are there delivery and pacing issues that can be corrected?
- How much inventory should be pushed to indirect?
- Who is making the most money?
True revenue management comes when you and everyone you’ve empowered to make good decisions can answer these questions. If you’re one of the lucky few who can answer these questions, but it takes you multiple hours, multiple systems, data exports, data mapping and manipulation plus a few smart people to get there- well, what you have is a situation. You’re going to spend all of your time managing that and not the revenue.
Don’t try to bridge the gap with ad hoc process, data fire-drills and other band-aids. Instead, start to look at revenue management holistically as the sum of everything from pre to post sales, across direct and indirect revenue. You’re never going to be able to control the uncertainty of market forces, but you can control how effectively you are able to manage through them.