Last year we reported that successful companies were moving back to functional strategies. These strategies brought together initiatives into cohesive plans.
Now, however, it’s clear that strategies designed in isolation will not work for 2016. The Internet has fueled sweeping changes in customer behavior and the buyer’s journey. Functional strategies must be aligned to achieve revenue goals.
This alignment between revenue-facing functions is called Strategic Alignment. It’s the only way to systematize revenue growth. And it’s the one thing that the top 10% of teams say they are doing differently.
Companies that pull together individual initiatives into strategic alignment are realizing outstanding performance. To hit your 2016 number, product, marketing, sales and talent strategies must connect.
This is strategic alignment in a nutshell. Functional strategies that are aligned to the other functional strategies – with corporate strategy leading.
This is easier said than done, however. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be discussing how to make strategic alignment work.
First, here are the fundamentals.Strategic alignment is the only way to systematize revenue growth.
Misunderstanding Can Cause Revenue Goal Shortfall:
Surprisingly, the average business leader can’t define strategic alignment. Some believe it’s tactical execution. Others believe it’s about having a great relationship with their peers.
To understand strategic alignment, first understand the corporate strategy. All other functional strategy alignment stems from this.
What’s scary is that many business leaders can’t articulate their corporate strategy. This is the most important first step. Get a clear understanding of the corporate strategy.
Next, begin to learn the interdependencies among the various functional strategies. Now you have a strong foundation for strategic alignment success.
Where Strategic Alignment Goes Wrong:
Even with this strong foundation, however, internal alignment alone won’t cut it. You must consider external market conditions as well.
The first brick laid on your strategic alignment foundation must be market research. This helps you develop an understanding of the market in which your company competes.
Now you can successfully link internal strategies with external market conditions. Sadly, 91% of companies fail to do this.
The Critical Links in the Chain:
Now you are familiar with your corporate strategy, and you’ve considered external market conditions. What next?
Understand the important links next in the revenue growth value chain.
Immediately following corporate strategy are product, marketing and sales. To complete a successful value chain, the final talent link is also critical. See the figure below for an illustration of the value chain.
If any of these links are weak, the chain of strategic alignment will break. Understanding and strengthening product, marketing and sales will equip you to create better functional strategies. These create the performance conditions.Then to succeed in the marketplace, organizations must place the right talent.
All six of these areas are inextricably linked. Strategic alignment turns this chain into revenue growth.
SBI found that shareholder value grew by 28% when corporate and sales strategies aligned. Imagine the impact of aligning all six: market, corporate, product, marketing, sales, and talent.
Chris Perry recently addressed strategic alignment in the value chain on SBI TV.Watch here to get this top sales leader’s insights.
Pay close attention to the SBI blog in the following weeks. We will be going over each of the functional areas in depth. Meanwhile, you can learn more by reading the full SBI annual report.