Based on our experience working with Sales Leaders across industries, we believe there are 4 keys which every sales organization must build into their sales strategy to ensure it’s effective: creating a one-page strategy document, aligning it across the organization, tying it to a burning platform, and flawlessly implementing the plan.
- A clear, well-articulated sales strategy, captured on one page.
Why one page? So that your sales leaders can keep it in front of them, ensuring that it’s a constant conversation piece for the sales organization.
- Must align up, across and down. You need to make sure that it aligns up, so that the sales strategy aligns to the values, mission, vision, and overall corporate strategy. There needs to be alignment across, which is often a real challenge for sales leaders given that a lot of organizations are living in a matrix world. You need to ensure that there's alignment across Marketing, HR, Supply Chain and other functional areas. You need their buy-in to be successful. Finally, you need to align down to the sales force.
- Tie to a burning platform. What’s the burning platform around your sales strategy? Is it around a competitive threat? Is it about how we must drive 30% to 40% of revenue over the next three years from new revenue sources, or from a new product or service line? There must be a burning platform. Otherwise, the sales leaders and the salespeople are going to look at the strategy and say, "So what? Who cares? What's different about this?" The burning platform will drive everyone’s understanding and sense of urgency. This makes it real.
- Most critical of all is implementation of the sales strategy. We believe you need regular formal reviews. If your sales strategy is three years out, you conduct a formal review every year. You make the process easier with quarterly “RAP sessions” (Review and Plan) where you look at what's going on around the implementation of the sales strategy. This is where you leverage the people who are accountable for each area of the strategy – your champions – to keep the strategy on track. Regular reviews allow for corrective action, and the chance to celebrate incremental successes.