Our 100-Day Road to 4X Revenue Growth
I then relocated to Abidjan, likely to become our biggest market. At my arrival in September, the team was averaging €1K/month of revenue, very low. After 2 weeks of observation, I realised that we lacked 2 things: a clear vision AND solid leadership.
To reach our annual turnover target, we needed to move from €1K/month to €1K/week. So I drafted a simple 100-day plan, with a single goal in mind for the team: hitting €1K/week by the end of November.
What would it take to achieve that goal?
I had to clarify our group's vision and leportail's importance in our domination plan. Next, we had to translate the big goal into smaller attainable ones. Then, we built a transparent and data-driven progress tracker. Finally, I had to make the team feel safe and think bold.
Clarifying the vision & strategy
Kerawa acquired leportail in August 2016. Back then, there was no dedicated team to run it in Abidjan. Leportail had solid organic traffic and steady revenue, so we ran it as it was from Cameroon.
The team I found in Abidjan was the first team leportail since its acquisition then. They knew very little about our history, our values and our vision. So it was hard for them to find any sense of purpose in their daily job. Moreover, most of them were juniors and new to digital. I needed to articulate our vision to get their adhesion.
So I brought it down to 4 points:
Why are we doing this? We want to make public information transparent and accessible for Africans.
How are we doing this? We connect people who have things to share with those who may have interest in them.
What are we doing to make it happen? We are trying to build the best classifieds platform in West Africa.
Where do we want to take it? We are Africans, in Africa, building tech for Africans and shooting for a tech IPO in Africa.
We debated all these points. At the end, everybody knew where we come from, where we are going, and how we are going to get there.
We were now ready to discuss the numbers.
Making the big task look easy
I showed the team our annual turnover target. We realised how far we were from it, and the steepness of the task ahead scared the team.
How would we make it?
First, we needed to acknowledge and celebrate what we've achieved. Then we would up our game as individuals and as team to move faster.
I calculated the month over month turnover growth rate: 35.09%. This rate was high, which is normal when turnover numbers are low. Yet, I knew we would feel proud of our results as a team when seeing it. 35.09% was the achievement to celebrate.
I did the same exercise with weekly turnover figures and projected it to our annual goal. I found that we "only" needed to grow 8.77% weekly. We knew what our challenge was and could now focus. 8.77% was the rate to hit by upping our game.
The high 35.09% was our reward, the reasonable 8.77% was our challenge.
Time to ramp the closing pace up!
Transparent and data-driven progress tracking
To ensure we remain focused, we needed clear and transparent tracking for all the team.
We have a daily standup every morning at 8.30 AM. During my initial two-week observation phase, standup reports were wordy and lacked numbers. We needed to get reports to focus what matters: turnover.
So I designed the table below.
This table is on our open space whiteboard.
I asked each one of us to do 3 things :
Look at her personal statistics to date
Project her sales numbers with the 8.77% to get her weekly targets
Break down these weekly targets into daily sales goals.
From there, we adopted the following standup reporting structure:
What I did yesterday - How much turnover did I make? (D-1 Actual)
What I will do today - What is my plan to reach my goal today? (D Target)
What’s blocking me to reach my goal - specific product and sales issues preventing closes.
It sparked a culture of trust and transparency in the team. It created emulation and healthy competition. Yet, one key thing was still to fix: creating a safety zone to make big bets.
Making the team feel safe to go bold
Our team had a very vertical rapport with management. They were waiting for instructions before any action. We needed a complete mindset shift to move forward: "not asking for permission, asking for forgiveness".
First, I made it clear that I was not a “patron” but a servant. No one should refrain from interrupting me for any question, any matter. I made myself very available and at the team's total disposal. I moved around the office a lot, offering help and having impromptu coaching sessions.
Next, I set up product sessions twice a week. When I was Head of Product, I noticed a deep connection between sales and product. The more aware of and confident in the product the sales team is, the better the revenue growth. So during these sessions, we would:
Discuss evolutions of our product and give inputs to the product roadmap
Increase our general knowledge about the global tech landscape.
Product sessions would make us confident about where our product can go. We would be bolder in our sales approach as a result.
Finally, we made our office our sanctuary, a safe place to try anything. In our office, we discipline ourselves never to lash at each other. In our office, everything is an experiment: some will go very wrong, some will go very right.
We could now multiply experiments, learn, repeat what works and track our progress. In short, we had a safe execution toolbox.
The last week of November was our checkpoint for hitting €1K in a week. I went to Cameroon that week, so the team in Abidjan was on her own. I could measure their progress better, I would see if the previous 12 weeks had made us a better team and got us to our goal.
On the 1st of December, the team sent me this photo.
THEY REACHED €2K in one week!
The team exceeded my expectations, doing double the target. That was an excellent way to go through the end of 2018, and get a buffer for the slow holidays seasons.
Our next challenge is to sustain then grow that level, which might need us to tweak our growth tactics. We indeed will share our progress.
Until then, happy 2019 to you from leportail family!
Thanks to Nino Njopkou, Kay Akinwunmi and Richard Ewane for helping proofreading this.