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Change your vocabulary to win bigger deals

Vocabulary and analogies are important when explaining your product or service to a potential buyer.

CRM Market Analyst, Lauren Carlson argues here that marketing automation firms, Marketo and Eloqua have adopted the term Revenue Performance Management (RPM) primarily in order to “get above the noise of a crowded marketing automation market” and to “gain the attention of C-level executives.”

Responses to the blog in the comments section vary in tone from evangelical (“RPM really is about transformation; it’s a business strategy that requires an alignment of resources, processes and technology” – from Eloqua’s Director of Product Marketing) to sceptical (“RPM is just a hollow term that was invented by two vendors in an attempt to make their value propositions seem more ‘strategic’ in nature”).

But there is no shame at all in couching your proposition in vocabulary that makes sense to your buyer. If your product or service is for everyday consumers then avoid technical language. For instance, as Venture Hacks’ Naval Ravikant recounts in this excellent video on preparing for fund-raising, the proposition for Gmail was to create “a web-mail system that didn’t suck.”

Similarly, if your buyer is a C-level executive then you should explain how it is relevant to her in terms such as risk and competitive advantage. If your product or service does not have any impact on these sorts of issues then you should avoid setting pricing levels that require an executive-level conversation.

If Revenue Performance Management means anything beyond the familiar ideas around marketing automation and Customer Relationship Management then I suggest that it should be a methodology for an executive-level Chief Revenue Officer, whose responsibility is to optimise the revenue generated through a mix of direct or inside sales and channel partners or licensees.

This role requires an understanding of the science of revenue generation, which involves many moving parts (marketing, sales, partner management, PR, etc.). The analysis and reporting of these moving parts are complex matters and I can envisage a valuable role for automation here.

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