How a pie chart helped me fall in love with our clients all over again

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I made a pie chart for our planning meeting last week:

Pie I have eaten vs. Pie I have not eaten

Whoops, wrong chart. I meant this one:

Revenue breakdown

At first, I thought to myself, “Okay, nothing new here. New sales dominate our revenue.”

But then I noticed that the revenue divides into two logical groups: creating new relationships, and maintaining and deepening existing relationships:

Revenue breakdown, grouped by new vs existing relationships

When I grouped it in this way, it became obvious that our biggest source of revenue comes from maintaining and deepening relationships with our existing clients — people who have already paid us a license fee.

This is to be expected for subscription-based software, but less so for us. We’re a growth company, and our pricing model is an up-front licensing fee for a perpetual license, followed by a much smaller software maintenance fee in future years. New sales are still very important — all existing clients were once new clients — but existing clients need more of our focus.

To that end, we’ve created an internal “Client Services Team” with representatives from Support, Professional Services, Development, and Sales & Marketing. Our goal: 100% referenceable clients, 100% of the time.

It took a pie chart to make that happen.

(As an aside, I recently read The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam. I now have a renewed interest in doodling for fun and profit, and the above pie chart started as a sketch. Thanks Dan.)

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  1. Kim Feraday

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this since you posted it. The other way to look at this slide is that you’ve essentially got 80% of your revenues being driven by license sales (new sales, additional sales and maintenance). Performance like that is really, really, really good. I’m virtually drooling as I write this. Do you know if this is common for the space?

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