Introduction to the Top Line

Quick Summary: The “Top Line” or revenue is the life-blood of the organization and must be continually available.


The “Top Line” is another way of saying “Revenue.”  It represents the first, or top entry, on a company’s financial income statement.  Revenue is the life-blood of every organization and must be continually available for survival.  Nothing can substitute for it. Recognizing its importance, probably more than half of all business books are written on revenue and its associated disciplines.  It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that meeting revenue targets is the responsibility of the sale organization.  While the sales team plays a critical role, they represent only the tip of the spear.  They cannot possibly be successful without the tactical and strategic support of others; especially management.

This volume, the largest in the entire collection, is also the most important.  It is applicable to every company, large or small, public or private, new or old.  It also should be heavily considered by every entrepreneur considering starting a business.  Finally, with the replacing of a few words, the concepts discussed in the 147 articles in the seven chapters in this volume can equally be applied to non-profit organizations as well.

Instead of labeling this volume The Top Line, it could have easily been named Revenue.  Virtually all of the articles in this volume focus on one aspect or another in securing revenue.  The seven articles in chapter 3.04 specifically discuss revenue and could easily have been placed in this volume.  The key message from those articles is that revenue is the life-blood of every organization.  Without its constant flow, no organization can survive.  The use of the title “Top Line” instead of “Revenue,” is to emphasize that revenue must be “top of mind” and must be at the “top of pyramid” of all activities.  Finally, it is the top or first entry on a Profit and Loss Statement (Income Statement) used to monitor the performance of a company.

The first two chapters in this volume discuss sales management and sales support.  The sales organization has the responsibility of bringing prospects to the company’s “front door” to provide the opportunity for other groups in the organization to deliver the products and services promised by the sales organization.  The other chapters in this volume discuss the many other aspects associated with making the Top Line a consistent reality.  There are entire books, college courses, and almost countless consultants and seminars that address each of the chapters and sections include in this volume.  The material included is, therefore, only a small sample of what is available.  It is likely that the most criticism about this volume will not be based on what is included, but rather, what is not included.

Below is a list of the chapters in this volume and a brief summary for each.



Title / Description



Managing the Sales Effort



Many books and courses are available that focus on the actual sales process and on "How to Sell." What is often neglected are insights on how to manage the sales team.  The articles in this chapter, aimed at sales management, are intended to provide some guidance to help them work with sales reps.


Supporting the Sales Team



Most companies have formal processes, templates, and procedures designed to support sales reps that cover virtually all aspects from prospecting to closing sales opportunities.  Equally important however, are a similar set of more strategic activities that must be provided by sales management.





Including a chapter on customers is, of course, expected.  However, listing it as only the third chapter may raise some eyebrows.  That sentiment reflects the mantra that, "Customers come first."  The reality is that, without a professional sales team and approach and the many required sales support activities, customers do not exist; only prospects that may not even know that the company exists.





There is an old saying, with many variations that, "Marketing plants the trees that allow sales reps to pick the fruit."  Of all the subjects covered in this entire collection, the term "Marketing" probably covers the widest spectrum of disciplines.  Articles in this chapter highlight a small portion of the subjects.  Most are aimed at subtle issues that are easily neglected.


Business Partners



In today's highly fractured, fast-moving, and highly competitive environment, it is virtually impossible for any one company to be totally vertically integrated and pursue opportunities on their own.  Relying on partners, each with different core competencies, is absolutely essential to success.





Carrying the "marketing tree planning" analogy described above once step further, strategic activities tell marketers and others where best to plant the trees!  Unfortunately, in many organizations, strategy is treated as a separate staff function and isolated from day to day tactical operations.  At the other extreme, some companies make strategic decisions based solely on real-time events, usually associated with responding to a problem or competitive loss.  Neither approach provides a coherent, long-lasting  and successful approach.  The key to creating effective strategies is to integrate the activity into the entire organization.





In many organizations, competitive activities and planning are based on either reacting to recent loss of business or comparing the company's future plans to competitor's current offerings.  In both cases, it is easy to fall into the trap that competitors are doing nothing while your company is moving ahead.  Don't they think the same thing?

Article Number : 5.010001   

A Handy Reference Guide for Executives and Managers at All Levels.

9 Volumes 42 Chapters ~700 Articles

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