Following is a post from our internal blog. We thought the world might like to read it as well. All part of our commitment to transparency.
M. A. Rosanoff: “Mr. Edison, please tell me what laboratory rules you want me to observe.”
Thomas Edison: “There ain’t no rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish somep’n!
Imitation is easy. The real work is in creating something new.
Salesforce.com created the cloud computing category. Gatorade created the performance drink category. Ciba created the contact lens category. (Mmmm, that must have been a tough one … “Hey, use your finger to stick a piece of glass in your eye. Trust me.”)
In 2008, we began to have conversations with our customers that went well beyond the familiar language of campaigns, lead scoring and lead nurturing. The conversations were more about marketing and sales alignment, a single view of the customer, more powerful reporting, and the “science” of revenue growth. What was beyond marketing automation? How could marketing automation be a stepping stone to something bigger and more strategic.
We read a Conference Board research report that named the top challenge for CEOs: “sustained and steady top-line growth.” Despite technology innovations over the past decade, the science of revenue growth remained trapped inside a black box. Most executives simply don’t know which sales and marketing levers actually work on a repeatable basis. They have no confidence in their ability to predict revenue performance. But Eloqua had the knowledge and ability to not only pry open the black box, but to smash it to pieces.
On a sunny morning in Vienna, VA in March 2010, Revenue Performance Management (RPM) was born. I was there. I saw it. The ideas that we were discussing with our clients for over a year came together in a heated Executive Team meeting in an Eloqua conference room.
At 8:30 a.m., Steve Woods took a black marker and drew a funnel on the whiteboard. Alex Shootman jumped up, grabbed a red marker and added his own ideas to the funnel. Joe Payne got up, grabbed another marker, and started drawing. Others joined in, building new ideas on the shoulders of others. By 11:00 a.m., the whiteboard was filled with ideas, in every color, from every person in that room. The board was a mess. But we had collaborated and created something special … and everyone in that room knew it.
We named it Revenue Performance Management – RPM.
A few weeks later, we boldly declared our audacious RPM goals:
- Establish RPM as the next major business priority for executives
- Re-position Eloqua as the business and thought leader of RPM
- Create a recognizable category of RPM
If you have ever worked in software, you know how hard this can be. First, only a handful of new categories take hold every few years. A new software category is a rare event. Second, the analysts never want to use terminology used by vendors. They almost always want to use their own language.
An impossible goal. Right? Not impossible, but certainly “extraordinary.”
Over the past 10 months we have all been hard at work on RPM …
- We launched a blog called “It’s All About Revenue” and made more than 26 posts on the topic of Revenue Performance Management
- We created award winning videos, like The Future of Revenue, explaining the concept
- We hosted webinars on RPM with Forrester Research
- We relentlessly evangelized RPM at every opportunity – Eloqua Experience, Success Tours, analyst briefings, and with customers
- Just a few weeks ago, we built our Sales Kick Off around RPM … with training, role-playing, and certification for every member of our Sales team
Well, Revenue Performance Management is here!
This week, JMP Securities published a report entitled “Better Revenue – the Emergence of Revenue Performance Management”. The analyst, Greg Thorne, says JMP is “pretty excited” about this category and is “jumping onto the Revenue Performance Management bandwagon.” Hey, did he say “bandwagon”?
The report does a pretty good job of capturing the ideas on the whiteboard that morning in March:
The ultimate goal of Revenue Performance Management (RPM) is to identify and target the right customers and improve the effectiveness of sales, marketing and customer support to improve customer loyalty and drive revenue growth at a lower cost (easy, right?!).
The bandwagon now includes: analysts firms like Forrester and Gartner, who have begun to speak and write about RPM-related topics; bloggers who are writing about it; and clients who are speaking about it in videos, case studies and webinars.
It’s exciting and gratifying to “… accomplish somep’n!”