Answering this question correctly can have a large impact on your revenue performance. The most successful organizations have been able to align the corporate strategy with the strategies of the functional departments, such as the product team, marketing organization, sales department, and human resources group. In fact, companies that are aligned in this way are four times more likely to make their 2016 revenue number, according to SBI’s ninth annual research report. Although all are important, it’s the alignment of sales and corporate strategy that many leaders struggle with.
What is a Corporate Strategy?
It’s where the company answers the questions, “Why do we exist?” “Which markets will we choose to compete in?” “Who are we going to compete with?” and “What strategic advantages do we have that will allow us to win?” Answers to these questions become inputs into the functional strategies. This allows the leadership team to decide how to best allocate people, money, and time to generate profitable growth. For instance, the CEO may decide to enter a new market because the current market is no longer growing. This decision ripples through the company, making its way to the sales team, who now must reorganize around a hunter/farmer model to penetrate the new market.
What is a Sales Strategy?
A sales strategy is the operating plan for the sales team. It allocates resources correctly to increase revenue while reducing costs. When the CEO and sales leader have alignment, the team is laser focused on what the goal is and, more importantly, how they will obtain it. The team knows how Marketing is going to support them with leads. They understand the value propositions of each product coming out of development, and how they will beat the competition. No matter how talented the sales leader, he/she cannot make the number without the support of the entire company.
Warning Signs to Looks For:
Below are a few red flags that may point to misalignment within your organization.
- You try to fix underperformance with compensation changes and SPIFFs
- Opportunities are stalled in the sales cycle as prospects don’t see the value of moving forward
- Product launches are pushed out to sales with no prior input or collaboration
- Marketing is creating campaigns with little direction from sales
Aligning the corporate strategy to the sales strategy is key to making your number every year.
How it Feels to Make Your Number
It has never been more important for the product team, marketing department, and the sales organization to work together, but it’s easier said than done. Turn to page 46 to learn the prescription for developing your 2016 sales strategy, with critical inputs from product management and marketing.