Insights | Sales

Revenue Meetings For Early Stage Founders

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Michael Brown

October 10, 2018

revenue meetingsOne of the critical paths to success for any early stage business software company is revenue generation. If you don’t achieve product/market fit you are either dead or in limbo. Most business software companies begin with “founder selling” where the founder does all of the revenue generation including sales, marketing, and customer success. As you scale, individual contributors help build on your foundation. Consistently, we notice in early stage companies a lack of institutionalization around the meeting culture of the revenue organization. Most of the time, you are moving so quickly that it is challenging to nail everyone down. Sometimes it is just easier to talk across the room and use your system of record to keep everyone up to date. By doing so you can fall into a trap as information falls through the cracks and the face to face interaction between business units is lost. We’ve talked a bunch about better board meetings on our blog, but today mention three key internal revenue meetings that matter. Any company should set these meetings up from the beginnings to ensure maximum productivity, velocity, and revenue.

1. Weekly Revenue Team Meeting. This is probably the most well known revenue meeting to have in your company. People have all sorts of different views on the time, date, and agenda. While controversial, our view is unless your sales cycle is incredibly long you should actually do this twice a week. Why? You want to be able to assess how well things are working. You want to also be able to quickly understand how your individual contributors are grasping their pipeline. Include everyone in this meeting when you are at the Series Seed stage and narrow specifically on the revenue organization as you scale to Series A and beyond. What to do in this revenue meeting? Part of this is pipeline review and revenue metrics. Look at every single opportunity and walk through it. Part of this is what is going well and what is not going well. Be honest with yourself and your peers. The rest is up to you.

2. Quarterly Revenue Kick Off Meeting. Every quarter, schedule a get together with your revenue generating team. If you are small feel free to include everyone but as you scale keep this specific to the revenue generating organization. Talk about the prior quarter revenue results and what metrics are necessary to achieve your goals this quarter. In these meetings (and as you grow) we advise founders to allow their individual contributors to get up and talk about some of the successes and failures of last quarter and what the team can do to learn from these successes and failures. There are always sales, marketing, or customer success tactics and hacks that have worked (and not worked). They should be shared to make you and your team better. We are less specific here on time, date, and attendees given this revenue meeting varies from company to company.

3. Annual Revenue Kick Off. Sometimes called a sales kick off or a go to market kick off, these revenue meetings should be longer in nature and probably take up a full day or more. You can bucket this into the broader strategic planning goals of the company if you would like. In general, we recommend including the entire revenue organization and not just sales. You should include other teams like customer success and product who can add value but also see how you are thinking and where you are going. The goals are two with these meetings. First you want to understand what you did successfully or not successfully in the prior year. You should probably spend 20% of the meeting on this. Second, you want to set the tone for the new year and focus on what you are going to do to achieve your goals. You should probably spend 80% of the meeting on this.

As a founder, you might not implement these revenue meetings until you actually have some individual contributors. Once you hire your first person in the revenue organization we recommend moving to this structure. It will be empty and corny at first but you will thank us later as you scale. This does not get you out of doing one-on-ones with your revenue team, but rather adds a good deal of structure and foundation to help you grow.

If you liked “Revenue Meetings For Early Stage Founders” and want to read more content from the Bowery Capital Team, check out other relevant posts from the Bowery Capital Blog.