What does it mean to align your Sales Strategy with the Organizational Strategy? How does one make this discussion real ? And what relevance does it have to Salesforce CRM implementations and vice versa - what relevance can your CRM have to this alignment?Is there a downside to not having this alignment?
Yes indeed. The truth is, no matter what the leadership teams think or say the organizational strategy is, it becomes real and emerges from the sales deals being closed. Your deals today shape who you are as an organization in the future. If your sales teams aren’t aligned to the company strategy, you might as well accept you don’t have a company strategy to speak of.Where do I start ?
How about whether you as an organization, have a strong sense of where you will play and how you will win, a point of view on what your future will look like. Is there a strong sense of direction that you have charted out as a company? Are the sales teams oriented to it, aligned to it? Aligned as in alignment of goals, objectives, incentives, processes, structure etc.
Or are your sales teams being told to go out and sell whatever they can, make your quota being the only direction they get? A blunter way of saying ‘we have no sales strategy’ or that our organizational strategy while its in place and documented, isn’t precise and clear, isn’t well communicated or well understood, for the sales teams to align to.How do I make the company strategy relevant to my sales teams?
In our client work, we insist on sales organizations to have clarity on a few questions.
- What is an ideal deal profile for you? By product, by offer?
- Who is an ideal customer? By customer segment?
- Are your sales teams selling value when they sell your offers?
What deals and customers should your sales and marketing teams be pursuing; who should they be targeting and positioning your offers for? On the other hand, what deals and customers are ones to walk away from?
Do you have a good grasp of the value that the customers derive from your offers, the value that each customer segment sees and how this value translates to their willingness to pay. Are your sales teams oriented to speak the language of that value?
Pay attention to how you configure the sales processes, how you qualify leads, assess opportunities, decide on accounts to expand and how. These are all conversation topics that your sales leaders should be weaving the company intent and strategy into their meetings and messages to their teams. Does this mean large investments into strategic planning?
No, this doesn’t require you to boil the ocean or have elaborate strategic planning cycles in place. What it requires is intent, clarity and communication when it comes to strategy and alignment.Is this discussion relevant to small businesses?
For context, our work is focused on growing mid-sized companies implementing Salesforce CRM solutions to support their growth. These questions though, are as relevant to a micro small business or a large Fortune 100 company, for companies selling products or services, for companies selling to businesses or consumers. What is the take away for the CRM implementation ?
Work on the alignment and work the alignment into your CRM system! You could be tinkering your CRM system all you want, but if this fundamental alignment of strategy isn’t in place, you may find the rest of the levers you are pushing, are just not making any difference.Acknowledgements:
A hat tip to Professor Frank Cespedes who teaches at Harvard Business School whose work has influenced our thinking on this topic.