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


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.)


Join The Discussion

  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?

Comments are closed.