Revenue Growth Challenges: How to Find and Eliminate Them

How to analyze, solve and eliminate revenue growth chokepoints in a startup


Revenue growth challenges are messy and stressful.

Here’s what failing to hit revenue growth targets looks like:

  • Sales below expectations
  • Not enough customer pipeline
  • Not enough money to make payroll
  • Investors turning you down

If this happens frequently or for too long…stressful months turn into painful years and you start to feel like you’ve hit a dead end.

But there is a way to reduce the stress and mess.

In this article, I’m going to show you the 3 key areas to dig into in order to eliminate your revenue growth challenges.

Revenue Growth Challenge #1 – Weak Customer Pipeline

This growth challenge is where most founders get stuck. Founders set some random sales/revenue growth targets. Then they forget to do their pipeline math. Targets get missed. Frustration inevitably follows.

Your pipeline is simply the total dollar value of the sales deals in your sales process that you can potentially win.

The rule of thumb is to have a 3-5x pipeline relative to your revenue target. E.g., if your target is $1M in new sales in Q2 2023, you need $3-5M in the pipeline. For startups, deal win rates are usually low, so I always push for a 5x pipeline.

You build a strong pipeline by implementing a strong Go-To-Market (GTM) program. If you don’t have a strong GTM program in place, read all the way to the bottom where I share more about how I can help you build one.

Once you know how much pipeline you need, factor in your average sales cycle to ensure that you have a sufficient pipeline to meet the target in the target timeline. E.g., if your sales cycle is 3 months and the target for Q2 2023 is $100K in new sales, then you need $500K in the pipeline on April 1st. Not on May 1st, Not on June 1st. On April 1st.

If you’re at zero customers, I’ve written an article here on how to get your first 10 customers.

*Task* I want you to look at your sales target for this year right now, then multiply it by 5. Does your pipeline meet or exceed that number?

Revenue Growth Challenge #2: Strong Customer Pipeline, But Insufficient Sales

Okay, so you’re good at attracting potential customers. But damn, once you start talking to them, doing demos, they just don’t convert. What could it be?

Well, it’s usually:

  • Weak messaging: You start talking and your customers just start losing interest. They aren’t able to relate to you or your product. This is fixable but requires patience and dedication.
  • Weak targeting: You’re getting leads that are not in your ICP. It usually means that your marketing message is attracting non-ICP customers or your ICP definition is too broad. When you have non-ICP leads they typically don’t engage in sales calls, lose touch/stop following up and/or simply tell you that your product isn’t for them.
  • Weak sales process: Your offer, product demos, and follow-ups are all part of your sales process. If you’re weak at any aspect of your sales process. You’re likely losing customers. The key to identifying where you lose customers is to keep detailed meeting and deal notes. When you lose a deal, see which stage you lost it at.
    • Did you lose most deals in the price negotiation phase? Perhaps your offer is weak.
    • Losing deals after the product demo? Perhaps your demos aren’t impressing customers.
    • Everything was great but no follow-ups? Pick up the damn phone and call your customer.

Revenue Growth Challenge #3: Growing Sales But High Customer Churn

Typically this happens when your product is weak or your customer success/support is poor.

A lot of startups go through this in the early phases of growth. It’s not necessarily a killer as long as you realize that you need to act fast and fix your product and customer success+support.

I suggest you do two things:

  • Hire a real product manager or learn product management: Once you have 10+ paying customers you can’t just ship whatever feature you think is right. You need to have a disciplined approach to digesting customer feedback and rolling that out into your product.
  • Hire dedicated customer success + support agents: This person’s only job is to help onboard, keep, and grow your existing customers. Customer success goes beyond support. Support is reactive. Success is proactive. I’ll go into more detail about this in a later newsletter.


Growing your revenue is the key to building a successful business. If you’re failing to meet your revenue targets, there are 3 typical challenges that most entrepreneurs face:

  • Failure to attract new customers
  • Failure to convert leads into sales
  • Failure to keep existing customers

Once you address these 3 problems, you will surely build a highly successful business.

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