The Perils of All Sell, No Soul Business

When that larger strategic idea and opportunity is surrendered on the altar of revenue, what is the true cost of a revenue-only focus?

February 19, 2023

Was struck by this LinkedIn post from Clari’s CEO , Andy Byrne, summarizing themes from recent conversations he has had with 20+ C-level leaders.

Putting aside the apparent novelty of the notion of revenue to SaaS companies, there are two competing ideas within the post that actually proves the opposite of the point he is trying to make.

To be fair, Clari is a “Revenue Platform” so their focus should be on a revenue value proposition, but it illustrates the blind spot that exists when too much focus is on revenue.

This blind spot is called out in the last theme he identifies: “Everyone is searching for ways to better align their teams.” Ways to better align their teams…”other than revenue” is the rest of the sentence left unsaid.

Therein lies the crux for businesses that are all sell and no soul.

Teams can be staffed, sourced, and incentivized to sell harder, faster, better…but that will generally result in incremental revenue increases, at best, diminishing returns as competitive price pressures reduce margins and LTV, and eventually team burn-out from the “better” wheel of hell.

There needs to be a larger idea, or imperative, or quest driving the organization, other than just to make money. (No shame in the capitalism game). We’re not talking about a Why, more about an idea and narrative anchored in the larger opportunity in the market that teams can align to, both as a strategic imperative and a human, moral imperative.

But if  “Everything else can wait.” as the post concludes, then how are teams going to identify and activate the key compelling idea and opportunity that they can orient?

When that larger idea and opportunity is surrendered on the altar of revenue, what is the true cost of a revenue-only focus?

You can’t put everything else on hold AND be looking for the north star to align to. You need both. The health, dynamism, and long-term prosperity of the business needs both.

This opportunity is at the heart of SaaS Brand Strategy, aligning teams around a strategic opportunity and narrative that provides clarity, differentiation, and conviction to drive the entire business. It's not an either-or, it's a both-and situation in which the alignment informs and complements the revenue process.

When a company is in lean times and needs to focus on essentials, don’t forget to focus on the focus.


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