Crafting a truly effective growth strategy is a critical mission and a herculean task for any CEO. After spending the effort to build it, be certain your executive team is aligned to it. If not, the results can be as bad as not having one in the first place.
SBI research indicates that you increase the chance of making your number by 4x through strategic alignment around a corporate growth strategy. Unfortunately, our research also shows that an overwhelming 91% of organizations are not properly aligned internally and externally.
How can you make sure you aren’t one of those companies? Here are the top warning signs to watch for:
- Your team can’t articulate the strategy and how their function specifically supports it
A surprisingly high percentage of CEOs mistakenly assume their executive team understands the overall corporate growth strategy. This may seem a bit rudimentary but try this test. Ask your CMO to outline the corporate growth strategy and what Marketing is specifically doing to support it. What are the KPIs her department uses to track progress against key goals. Do the same with your CSO and CIPO. The answers you get, or don’t get, may surprise you.
- Sales blames Product, Marketing blames Sales, Product blames Marketing and Sales
Sales, Marketing and Product should be highly collaborative functions with continuous feedback loops. Product needs feedback from customers and prospects to build what clients want to buy. Marketing needs feedback from Product to properly execute messaging around a launch. Sales needs assistance from Marketing to generate leads and keep the top of the funnel full. And so it goes. All three need to be operating from the same growth strategy playbook. If these functions aren’t cohesive and intertwined in your organization, consider it a major red flag.
- Your functional leader’s communication with one another is predominately reactive not purposeful
Executive teams have a lot on their plates. Time must be regularly scheduled to discuss how to correctly allocate people, money and time to a cohesive corporate growth strategy. If most of the interaction between your executive team is mandated by trying to fix a problem, you have another one on your hands. When “fire drills” and “issues du-jour” are the main reason your functional leaders communicate, beware.
- Tactics masquerading as strategy
Tactics can be simply defined as “doing things right”. Strategy is defined as “doing the right things”. A brilliant strategy executed poorly will not keep your organization ahead of the competition. Worse yet, a poor strategy executed efficiently will quickly have your organization trending towards the basement. Make sure your executive team understands the important differences between these two. Tactical execution without having a clear line of sight on the strategic objectives is like a hamster on a wheel. To dive deeper on this particular topic in one of our SBI Podcasts, click here
- Your products are not persuading existing customer to buy more or attracting new customers
New product launches should be exciting and opportunistic times for an organization. If you find yours no longer boost revenue or new logo acquisition, it may be due to strategic misalignment. As an example; are product roadmaps connected to sales headcount planning? Will the same reps be able to sell the new product? Have they been correctly trained? Does Marketing have the right amount of budget allocated to drive demand for any additional headcount? Is the timing of the launch aligned across all three functions? If the answer to these questions is “no”, see # 3 above because it will be exactly what happens next.
If one or more of the warning signs above is present in your organization, SBI can help. Our Revenue Growth Maturity Model provides insight into how well a company is strategically aligned internally and with the external market it serves. There is a strong correlation between where your company falls on this spectrum and three key metrics:
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
- Probability of Success – Making Your Number
As CEO, knowing your organization is trending away from Level 1 (Chaos) and towards Level 5 (Predictable) is one of the most effective ways to ensure building lasting shareholder value. The first step is to benchmark exactly where your company is today.