Is Your Revenue Culture Blocking New Growth?

It’s starting to look like growing season around here. From my desk in Texas, I can see new growth on the trees and in the ground that was frozen solid weeks ago. I’m also beginning to see new signs of growth and innovation in our sector. And when revenue grows, our ability to make big changes in our communities and our world grows as well.

This is a good time to ask the question: Could your revenue culture be inhibiting growth? 

At RevJen, we describe revenue culture as the way your organization treats, acts, celebrates, perceives, and values revenue. And no matter how brilliant your revenue strategy is, or how well-thought out your organizational design is, an unhealthy revenue culture can choke out new growth.

Here are four common growth blockers:

Poisoning the revenue environment by treating revenue as “icky”

How does your CEO talk about revenue? Listen to what your CEO or ED says about revenue and the revenue team. Is revenue valued? Or is it treated as a necessary evil? Leaders who are uncomfortable having revenue discussions or who have a personal distaste for fundraising or sales can inadvertently poison the environment for the revenue team. Instead, draw a line of sight between the revenue team and program impact.  Connect the dots for the whole team, showing how revenue drives impact. 

Failing to provide your revenue team with the right tools and resources

Does your revenue team have the tools they need to execute the revenue strategy and meet revenue targets (i.e. clean data, design, etc.)?  Failing to feed your revenue muscles ultimately starves the mission.

Hiring for skills to execute someone else’s revenue model

Does the person leading your revenue team have the right skills, experience, and capabilities to execute your current revenue strategy? Do you need someone to build a team and processes, or do you need someone who excels with major donors? Too often, organizations hire someone without really aligning the skills and capabilities needed in the current moment, for the current revenue model.

Setting unrealistic expectations, without input from the revenue team

Are your revenue goals realistic? Is your revenue team involved in setting them? Make sure the revenue team has a seat at the table in big important conversations around the overall direction and strategy of your organization. Base your revenue goals on data and intentional strategies, not guesses and arbitrary targets. Chasing an unrealistic goal is demoralizing, and it’s even more exhausting when the goal keeps moving.

In order to cultivate a thriving revenue environment, we must do it with intention. But it isn’t hard. There are tangible actions you can take today. Start by celebrating a revenue success organization-wide. A new contract or grant? Running ahead of goal already? Let the entire team celebrate that as a shared win for the organization and the cause.

After all, that’s exactly what it is.

Revenue culture is the fifth piece of the revenue infrastructure in our RevJen Framework, and one of the most important. In our Fuel Series Workshop, Revenue Culture is the element that anchors our last session. We do that because when an organization treats, acts, celebrates, perceives, and values revenue in healthy ways, we get to see them thrive.