Revenue is first priority of any company, but it should never come at the expense of compromising principles or alienating customers.

Elliot Markowitz

January 2, 2014

3 Min Read
Revenue is Job 1; Everything Else is Just Noise

Organizations are constantly redefining their mission statements to align with current hot industry and social trends. They claim to be focused on personalized customer service or social equality or natural resource conservation or establishing an equal opportunity work environment.

While all of these—and others, of course—are noble and worthwhile agendas, and organizations do need to be good corporate citizens, revenue is and should be Job 1. Everything else is gravy and made possible only by sales.

Businesses are in business to make money. Everything revolves around revenue and revenue solves a lot of problems. When money is coming in, companies can do many good things with it. But it has to come in.

To be clear, revenue should never come at the expense of compromising principles. There is such a thing as chasing bad business. There are customers who mistreat employees, have unreasonable pricing and service expectations, wok with shady business partners or may be very active in standing for things that you are just opposed. Walking away from that revenue is good business and will improve your culture and relationships with other customers.

However, all companies need a business plan outlining where revenue opportunities are, the costs involved and the process to execute. This also needs to be drilled down to every employee because every person you employ is an extension of your company.

To do this, line level managers need to be committed to the company’s growth vision and not get caught up in their own positions. They need to approach their job as if it is their company and support revenue-generating opportunities. To do that, they need to be trained and then trusted to make some judgment calls. Again, big picture and revenue thinking is the goal here.

Case in point: I recently went to return a brand new Xbox game to Best Buy. The game apparently only works on a high-definition television (HDTV). I took the receipt (which was just two days old) and the game to customer service, along with a different game that I wanted to exchange it for.

Customer service wouldn’t do it, saying it violates their company policy and federal copyright laws. They then said they would give me a new game, but it had to be the same game. I kept explaining this particular game does not work on my system and just wanted to exchange it for a game that does. I was not looking for anything for free.
One quick look into their system and they would have seen over the past year or so I’ve purchased a laptop, wireless printer, stereo equipment and all sorts of accessories, games and movies, all adding up to probably more than $2,000. Now I am just asking to exchange a $60 game that my son bought with his Christmas gift card. I’ve always been a good and loyal customer.

However, the customer service representative got annoyed that I was trying to exchange a game. Another customer service representative told me I was inciting a riot because I asked to speak to a manager. Then the manager just smirked when she also refused to make my exchange, as if she won some personal victory.

As a result, we will never do business with Best Buy again and we are currently in the market for an HDTV. It’s unfortunate, really, because all of this could have been avoided if Best Buy's customer service folks were better-trained and their managers understood the overall goal of the organization is to drive revenue, not score personal victories because they have the authority to say “no.”

Don’t be a Best Buy. As 2014 begins, take notice of how all your employees approach their jobs and whether driving revenue is their priority or is keeping their little fiefdoms. Driving revenue is always Job 1, everything else is just noise.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Elliot Markowitz are his and do not necessarily reflect those of The VAR Guy.

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About the Author(s)

Elliot Markowitz

Elliot Markowitz is a veteran in channel publishing. He served as an editor at CRN for 11 years, was editorial director of webcasts and events at Ziff Davis, and also built the webcast group as editorial director at Nielsen Business Media. He's served in senior leadership roles across several channel brands.

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