3 Revenue Rat Holes to Avoid

  • I asked the wrong question, why aren’t you giving me the right answer?
  •  If I answer the question you asked, we will never get the right result!

The Revenue Rat Hole seriesaddresses one of the biggest “Revenue Generation” issues – we don’t understand each other and really don’t believe the same things when it comes to execution. People in the revenue process (organizational leadership, finance, sales, customer support, product development, marketing, business development, etc.) don’t speak the same language or have aligned definitions for what they see or have the same set of beliefs for common revenue science words, experiences or phrases.

Each person in this process is sure they know what they are talking about and are sure they are doing the right thing, and therefore, everyone else must be misguided and wrong. The result is we are all right, but we all disagree, and we end up actually working against each other.

To make matters worse, there are a lot of myths that provide false data points yet somehow we all believe the myths. So we don’t speak the same language and aren’t aligned yet we all believe a group of myths that are mostly false. It is amazing we create any profitable revenue.

Each situation where we don’t understand each other or believe a false myth we are in a Revenue Rat Hole. So The Revenue Game has developed a series of Challenge articles to help everyone avoid Revenue Rat Holes, by sharing a common language, beliefs based on Revenue Science and exposing false myths. By applying this, you will remove part of your Cost of Chaos for producing revenue, your top line will grow, and you will avoid the other unnecessary negative consequences from Revenue Rat Holes. Please submit the Revenue Rat Holes you have seen and share with us how to avoid them by using the following format:

In this series, we will identify Revenue Rat Holes, give you a better way to language each one with the “Right Question’ (if we don’t ask the right question, we almost never get the right answer), explore the “Reality” and to find ways to “AVOID’ these Revenue Rat Holes.

Here goes the 1st in the Revenue Rat Hole series:


  1. 1.Revenue Rat Hole #1: Why can’t our sales people CLOSE?
  1. a.Right Question: What do we have to do to get more ideal customers contracted for our most profitable offers?
  2. b.Reality: Today most “selling” is really helping the customer buy. Customers don’t want to be closed, and many will revolt if you try. Customers want help making a great decision, and that help starts the second they find you exist and continues through the life of the relationship. If the relationship starts with a hard sell and close, it will likely end badly, and you can count on the customer telling their friends how badly it ended.
  3. c.How to Avoid this rat hole: You would not let a sales person sell you something against your will, and if you were “slicked,” you would scream to the top of your physical and digital lungs. To avoid this rat hole, focus on solving problems your customers have and find compelling as a long-term partner.


  1. 2.Revenue Rat Hole #2: How do we get more Hunters and weed out most of our Farmer sales people?
  1. a.Right Question: Based on our Revenue Strategy, how do we get engaged with more new ideal customers, while we delight, and expand our current base of ideal customers?
  2. b.Reality: Most Hunters and hunting is reactive, tactical and opportunistic. The only winner is that rare sales person who is VERY successful at taking home BIG commission checks. There is a time and place for hunting, but most of the time you want the resources you invest in “Revenue Generation” to be strategic, provide long-term profitable returns, be highly predictable, produce high margins and be safe from competitive assault. Farming is normally more strategic and brings the long-term benefits to both the buying and selling organizations. Farming is normally the best source of new business. Farmers are referred to other parts of the current customer organization, to the customer’s partners, to the customer’s customers and of course, new projects within the customer organization. Resources invested in farming normally produce more results per dollar both over the short-term and long-term. Invest in hunting when it is required to survive, launch a new offer or if it is a leveraged part of a long-term strategy. The rest of the time focus on strategic farming with high yields and great customer intimacy.
  3. c.How to Avoid this rat hole: Take the time to develop a Revenue RoadMap with operational metrics to support your Revenue Strategy. Your business needs predictable, long-term, profitable revenue growth, and RoadMap operational metrics are structure to support that need. When you consider a hunting strategy, you will see it is seldom predictable on any metric and VERY expensive. When you consider a farming strategy and then compare that to hunting, you will see it has a high level of predictability and a lower cost for producing profitable revenue. You will avoid hunting in all but those cases where it is the only tool that works.


  1. 3.Revenue Rat Hole #3: What is wrong with the sales team, and why can’t they make enough cold calls to fill the pipeline?
  1. a.Right Question: How can we keep our pipeline full of highly qualified suspects who have the problem we uniquely solve, and they want it solved now?
  2. b.Reality: Cold calling is NOT selling! It is a marketing activity. Sales people are your most expensive resource, and using them to generate leads even when done well costs too much compared to more efficient marketing programs. Besides most sales people who can manage a selling process to a transaction and then to a long-term profitable (for both parties) relationship is often not good at cold calling. Those who are good at cold calling are often not good at managing relationships or managing account growth. Lastly, filling a pipeline is one process, and managing the relationship is another. One person should not TRY to do both – it won’t work, is hard to metric and is not scalable.
  3. c.How to Avoid this rat hole: Take the time to build repeatable marketing programs to deliver the right number, of the right type of highly qualified suspects, at the right time for the sales team to qualify and sell. You will not get good at this overnight, but if you make the commitment, within two years you will transform your company, and your Cost of Chaos for producing revenue will fund this and put big money in your pockets.

Every business leader needs to learn to apply the science of “Revenue Generation” to their organization. If you are practicing revenue science you will be using common language and strategies. As a result, you will avoid these and other Revenue Rat Holes.

Good luck, avoid Revenue Rat Holes, share your success and stay alert for the 2nd in the series of Revenue Rat Holes to avoid!


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