Book Review & Giveaway: Revenue Engine by Steven Woods & Alex Shootman
When I started reading Revenue Engine, I was struck by two things: 1) that the ability to adapt in business remains crucial; and 2) that companies who fail to adapt in todayâ€™s world will fall behind even faster than before. With tools and insights previously unavailable to business, todayâ€™s companies are both blessed with opportunities to refine how they do business and tempted to stay with what they know because the amount of information is overwhelming. However, as authors Steven Woods and Alex Shootman believe, weâ€™re at the point of another revolution in business. And as history has shown, it can be difficult to stand against a wave.
Revenue Performance Management
The cornerstone of Revenue Engine is the concept of revenue performance management. Woods and Shootman place it in the business strategy timeline after supply chain management and total quality management. To build their argument, the authors ask us to look at how marketing and sales cycles were handled in the past.
Clearly we had much less information and there was often a heavily guarded gap between sales and marketing, particularly when it came to allocated resources. Now as people look for us online and interact through our digital properties they leave a trail that Woods and Shootman say we need to follow. Doing so will tell us exactly where a customer is at in the cycle. Then, based on that information, strategies and resources can be implemented and used more effectively to improve the chances of moving the customer along or even closing the sale.
Adapt or Flounder
It doesn’t take an MBA to know that generating more revenue with less investment can be a huge advantage for a business. But Woods and Shootman argue that beyond increasing overall revenue, implementing revenue performance management allows a company to identify and time product adoption patterns, a valuable skill to have as product lifecycles shorten and adoption rates accelerate. Companies who are either too early or too late on either side of the equation will â€œflounder.â€
My timing in reading this book meant that I was also reading the New York Times stories about Apple and its supply chain. I could easily see a connection between what I was reading in Revenue Engine and why Apple has achieved its astounding success. While I donâ€™t know if they internally refer to what they do as revenue performance management, the bookâ€™s descriptions seem to fit Appleâ€™s business approach like a textbook.
Apple clearly understands the need to allocate resources strategically and seems to be a master of understanding product lifecycles and adoption patterns. That said, itâ€™s perhaps also a reminder of the consequences of looking for too much fat to trim and what exactly are we willing to do in pursuit of ever higher revenues.
A Helpful Book for the Right Audience
While Woods and Shootman made valid and logical arguments throughout the book, I did find myself wondering, â€œIsnâ€™t everyone doing this already?â€ In retrospect itâ€™s clear that the primary audience for Revenue Engine isnâ€™t someone already wise to the ways of the web and online data analysis. Instead I believe youâ€™d recommend this book to an executive or manager who isnâ€™t particularly comfortable or familiar with the idea of using search trends and other online tools for refining sales and marketing strategies.
So, to help you help your perhaps inexperienced manager (if you want to read it before passing it on, thatâ€™s okay, too) weâ€™re giving away two copies of Revenue Engine. Just submit a comment below about how you think this book can help you (or your boss) get smarter about increasing revenue. Comments will remain open until 12 p.m. PT, Friday, February 3. Weâ€™ll then randomly select two winners.