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Kurt Leafstrand’s Top Tips for Managing and Preventing Revenue Leakage

July 19, 2023

GTM Innovators episode 7 with Kurt Leafstrand of Clari

The game has changed. And for the better.

Marketing and sales teams could exist separately at one time, but this is no longer the case. Alignment is top of mind for most revenue leaders, and expectations are constantly changing as emerging solutions work toward unifying these teams.

The B2B software landscape continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. Innovation is empowering organizations to make better, faster decisions. And if you’re not careful, keeping up will become nearly impossible.

Kurt Leafstrand is the SVP of Products at Clari and has over 20 years of technology and product development experience. Previously, Kurt was a product leader at former companies acquired by the likes of Symantec and IBM. An MIT graduate and former consultant at McKinsey, he’s been passionate about building great products since he was a teenager.

Kurt joined G2 Chief Revenue Officer Mike Weir for the latest episode of the GTM Innovators podcast. In this episode recap, you’ll learn about Kurt’s thoughts on revenue leakage and what GTM teams can do to maximize sales and marketing collaboration.

The rise of the Chief Revenue Officer

When Kurt first came on at Clari, the company had a very different vision from what it is today. He shares how over time, a tremendous opportunity presented itself where his team pivoted and created something that could empower sales teams.

Clari continued to mature and iterate, and conducting countless customer interviews was instrumental in developing the revenue platform they’re known for. At some point, Kurt noticed that more than just sales professionals were attending customer interview calls.

Kurt took note of how marketers were becoming more common users after adding revenue forecasting capabilities to their platform. After hearing some of these perspectives from these marketers, it made a ton of sense.

“Marketers are starting to see that they must really understand what's going on downstream in the funnel to better guide what they’re doing at the top."

Kurt Leafstrand
SVP of Products, Clari

Expectations are changing, and marketers are now accountable for understanding their impact on revenue. As mentioned in previous episodes of GTM Innovators, what Kurt has noted is an indication of the shift where sales and marketing teams are moving towards greater alignment.

Just a few years ago, marketing, sales, and customer success teams operated somewhat independently of one another. These groups are more commonly coming together under the umbrella of the broader revenue organization. And as a result, we now see the rise of the Chief Revenue Officer at companies where this leader embodies better alignment.

Understanding revenue leakage and why it matters

One topic Kurt and Mike discuss during the podcast is that organizations often fail to grow their revenue due to inefficiencies. Any time an organization misses out on revenue due to controllable and random variables contribute to what executives and sales practitioners refer to as revenue leakage.

According to Kurt, revenue leakage is one of the biggest problems hiding in plain sight. “It’s essentially revenue that your company should be getting because of the value of and need for your service or product,” says Kurt. “But for whatever reason, you’re not getting it because it’s somehow falling out along the way.”

3 steps organizations can take to prevent revenue leakage

In Kurt’s eyes, preventing revenue leakage is a crucial concept to bear in mind at a strategic level because much of it is within an organization’s control.

Preventing revenue leakage is vital because it helps companies maximize their revenue potential, optimize operational efficiency, and maintain financial health. Addressing leakage is critical, and Kurt shares three best practices that revenue organizations can implement to minimize it and ensure sustainable growth.

1. Be intentional about revenue cadences

Kurt shares his thoughts about cadences and how they impact revenue leakage. The truth about revenue cadences is that every business has them, whether they’re actively managing them or not.

Some examples of these cadences include:

  • How often do rep and manager one-on-ones happen?
  • How do you approach and think about forecast calls?
  • What’s the content of those forecast calls?
  • How often do you assess customer health?
The key to managing cadences means being very intentional about them. Having proper cadences aligned with the rhythm of your business ensures that you're looking at everything you need to look at and driving accountability around it.

"Revenue is not just an outcome – it's a process. You need to think about it, measure it, improve it, and collaborate on it."

 Kurt Leafstrand
SVP of Products, Clari

2. Grant visibility to have more outstanding accountability

Kurt discusses how visibility fosters greater accountability across the revenue organization. Visibility is another familiar concept we hear from GTM experts, but it may be an essential ingredient organizations are missing out on to prevent revenue leakage.

Kurt suggests that once revenue cadences are in place, revenue leaders must ensure they provide every member of the relevant GTM team with the necessary visibility and insights. This visibility is paramount to aid decision-making, drive the business forward, and create a stronger sense of accountability. By providing information access to the right people, they have greater capabilities to assess and identify those sources of revenue leakage.

Additionally, visibility is equally meaningful to helping GTM team members see eye to eye. Greater accountability and visibility mean everyone, from executives to individual contributors, is on the same page. More importantly, they have what they need to act on their findings.

3. Find the disconnects in your tech stack

In his final tip to help minimize revenue leakage, Kurt talks about the flow of data across the tech stack can negatively impact revenue goals.

The tech stack from one revenue organization to the next can look wildly different. From popular software to custom workarounds created on the fly, there’s always an opportunity to examine how well those diverse solutions connect.

Let’s say you have a customer that talks about an issue they’re having. The call was recorded, but the Account Manager made a simple mistake and forgot to follow up with the customer to resolve it. Then turn around three months later and find that the customer is not renewing. It’s simple, but this might have been a good opportunity to implement a tool that leverages large language models to pick up on these issues and flag them within your customer health solution.

In short, explore integrations that can drive more value and make a significant impact on revenue.

Minimizing revenue leakage is up to you

The truth is that companies can’t completely eliminate revenue leakage. But it’s happening, and revenue organizations of all sizes must take preventative measures to minimize it.

As accountability increases across sales and marketing teams, the future looks bright as companies progress toward achieving greater alignment. There’s still much work to be done, but the rise of the broader revenue organization and the role of the CRO are positive indicators.

Other learnings from Kurt in this episode

In episode 7 of GTM Innovators, the full conversation with Kurt Leafstrand includes other takeaways such as:

  • Kurt’s perspectives on AI quick wins for businesses.
  • The importance of resilience and how actions define companies during challenging times.

Watch the full episode on YouTube and learn more about Kurt and other GTM experts by subscribing to the GTM Innovators podcast today - available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, and more.

Audio editing software for podcasts
Level up with insights from the experts.

The GTM Innovators podcast features personal conversations with some of the brightest minds in the industry. Listen to this and future episodes on all major platforms today.

Audio editing software for podcasts
Level up with insights from the experts.

The GTM Innovators podcast features personal conversations with some of the brightest minds in the industry. Listen to this and future episodes on all major platforms today.

Kurt Leafstrand’s Top Tips for Managing and Preventing Revenue Leakage In this episode of the GTM Innovators podcast, Kurt Leafstrand of Clari shares three of his top tips to prevent and manage revenue leakage.
Stephen Hoops Stephen Hoops is a former Sr. Content Marketing Specialist at G2. He focused on creating content that helps tech industry sales professionals and B2B SaaS marketers find success with G2 products such as Buyer Intent, Review Generation, and more. After receiving his B.A. in Journalism from West Virginia University in 2013, he has helped countless B2B brands reach new highs through content creation and SEO. When not nerding out about the artistry behind well-written copy, Stephen can be found info-dumping about homemade cocktails, Italian cuisine, and why vinyl is the superior physical medium for music.

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