PMs meeting revenue goals

Has anyone here been accountable for their products’ success in meeting revenue goals?

If so, how did you do it?

What strategies did you employ?

Were you able to move the company away from revenue targets eventually?

I would love to hear about your experience and the impact it had on the company’s overall success.

Did you manage to successfully move the company away from its outdated business model?

Thanks in advance.


I firmly believe that accountability is crucial for achieving success in meeting revenue goals. In my previous role as a product manager, I implemented various strategies to ensure accountability. Firstly, I established clear revenue targets and communicated them to the entire team, creating a sense of ownership. Secondly, I closely monitored the progress and held regular performance reviews to track individual and team contributions towards revenue goals. These strategies not only helped us meet our targets but also fostered a culture of accountability and collaboration within the company. As a result, we were able to successfully pivot away from our outdated business model and achieve remarkable growth, significantly impacting the company’s overall success.


Why would you abandon your revenue targets? It’s what you live or die on. If you put X into something, you better get Y in return; otherwise, things could get really bad. What we choose to build should be held responsible for making a wise investment. Additionally, this assumes that you have a say in what you build.

In PLG, revenue goals for products are very common; you are in charge of making money off of your self-serve customers.

There is a ton of information online about PLG and product monetization if you’re looking for strategies.


Yes, I have personal experience holding accountability for a product’s success in meeting revenue goals. In my previous role as a product manager, I implemented a strategy focused on market research and customer feedback to identify the target audience and their needs. By aligning our product roadmap with these insights, we were able to develop solutions that resonated with customers, leading to increased adoption and revenue.

Additionally, we implemented data-driven tracking mechanisms to monitor the progress of revenue goals against key performance indicators. This allowed us to make data-informed decisions and adjust our strategies accordingly.


I agree with everything here and only have one thing to add.

Be aware of the various responsibilities for sales, marketing, and other departments in your organization because they will almost certainly contribute to revenue. You must make sure that your relationships with these teams are strong because if they slack off, you’ll also miss goals if Product is going to control overall revenue.


Yes @RohitKumar, it makes perfect sense if your customers are self-serve. What happens, though, if you don’t? What happens if the product is flawless but the sales team is horrible? or advertising?


If your product is perfect you can sell it - just call a customer. That’s not a real situation.

Let’s skip the hypotheticals - what’s the actual situation you need advice on?


In some cases, individuals may have been held accountable for their products’ failure to meet revenue goals. For instance, a product manager may have implemented strategies such as aggressive marketing campaigns and price reductions to increase sales. Despite their efforts, the product may have still failed to generate sufficient revenue, resulting in negative impacts on the company’s overall success.

In such instances, it may have been necessary for the company to reevaluate its business model and explore alternative strategies to regain profitability. This could involve cutting costs, diversifying product offerings, or targeting new markets. Ultimately, the specific actions taken would depend on the company’s unique circumstances and industry dynamics.


PMs who are good or great, like the ones I’ve worked with, yearn for some level of P&L responsibility. When a company tries to link a product pod’s work to actual P&L results, problems typically arise.


If your product has feature flags and experimentation, integrate something like LaunchDarkly. Once you’ve measured your results, you can turn them off if your leadership doesn’t agree with you.


Making “Profitability” a KPI has no useful application.

Growth indicators are not the same as indicators of profitability.
How would you feel as a PM if “costs” that are beyond your control or outside the range of impact your team has were taken into account when forecasting anything that offers the potential for revenue?

Here is a simple illustration.
Your team introduces a new feature that increases conversion rates all around. There is a $30k MoM increase in Gross Revenue. Team victory, no?

In the same week that the company grows its finance team, the annual payroll expenditure for this division is increased from $300,000 to $800,000.

The achievements of your team have just been dwarfed by the growth of your business. Making sense? No.

Here’s a more overt instance.

Imagine that new guidance from the IRS or FASB increases the overall amount of taxes your company pays in the same week that your team announces a $400,000 YoY incremental revenue win.

Should a federal or regulatory body that affects your capital efficiency erase the victory your team achieved by having a positive influence on the product?

If you have no idea what you’re talking about, please refrain from discussing financial metrics.

Yes, profitability is fantastic. It is not a performance indicator for a product.


Okay, so perhaps KPI isn’t the best term, and perhaps my impressions are skewed by my limited experience. I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge of financial metrics is very limited. But all of the products I ever managed, bar one, had the company’s profit as their main objective. The product generated income, incurred expenses, and either made a profit or lost money. Profitability is the term for the relationship between costs and revenue. The product was killed if you weren’t able to reach a specific level of profitability within a specific amount of time. It seemed very obvious to me that if it wasn’t profitable, the product wasn’t working. Yes, there are outside factors that are beyond your control that can have a significant impact on profitability. I recognize that it is my responsibility to manage these risks and that a product may need to be discontinued if, for example, legal restrictions prevent it from remaining profitable. This does not make me a bad product manager, however.

Prioritize profitability over revenue is a common piece of advice in entrepreneurial management science, though I’ll have to look up the source. Sure, there are other metrics you should consider besides profitability. However, if your product’s goal is to be profitable, then I believe that this is still the ultimate goal you should be working toward as a product team.

YoY incremental revenue wins are useless if you can’t turn a profit quickly enough. At least in my uninteresting b2b software world in Europe without unicorns.


All right.

Yes, the primary goal does not always equal the KPI. For example, if your company wants to increase its gross profit margin by X, it is the responsibility of the product and other departments to create OKRs that in some way contribute to that goal. KPIs are the next set of branches to rely on to support and gauge how close or far a team is from meeting OKRs, if you think of it as a tree.

Most businesses require continued profitability to survive. Any actions that don’t long-term support this goal will lead to the company’s demise.

Take a look at the local pizzeria that places revenue above profitability. They’re already closed, so you can’t.


Every business has revenue goals. Some people are more trustworthy and accurately predictable than others.

Sales staff are typically compensated for a specific segment area. If you only experience organic growth and don’t have a sales department, they might be transferring those norms to you.

Your management may choose how to set compensation, subject to applicable local laws. They must not decrease your base pay!

Maybe it’s just that they tell the team that you are personally accountable for “results” and not the money. Then perhaps explain to them how you work closer to execution than any sales staff ever does and how pressure actually reduces your leverage with technology.

But in all actuality, it’s immature leadership, probably stemming from an insurmountable sense of entitlement.


@KaneMorgan, yeah, I am thinking it is more “results” in the form of revenue they are looking for. You get results, or you are gone.


Yes but what is the material impact on you? You haven’t really described the problem yet.

Did you get a negative performance review?


I doubt @JaneWinfred is saying they want to construct things that are not profitable. Your roadmap is severely constrained when you have to optimize for short-term revenue targets. Because we were constantly trying to squeeze an extra 5% of revenue out of our current users, I’ve worked at a few companies where we simply never released new features or found solutions to new problems. The stuff that makes money right away is frequently already built, and it can take new products six months or a year to become profitable. I’d be very curious to hear someone advice on this.

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@CarolynMiles, the ability to identify metrics that support the development of new features is one of a PM’s core competencies.

My guess is that you think these new, non-revenue-generating features will increase user retention for the application. Attrition or customer retention is this. You ought to be able to determine how much money you could make by lowering customer attrition.