Recently I had conversations with two organizations where their work helping to develop organizations’ core strategy came up - one a top Organizational Development Consultant and the other conversation was with the Corporate Development department of a highly ranked university.
Being a sales guy, I asked: How much discussion is there during the strategy development process about the new strategies' impact on the sales organization and on how will sales execute the new strategies?
Their answers were in essence one in the same: it is not really part of the discussion.
I am not advocating that sales take the center of a company’s strategy development.
I am advocating that before a strategy is set, the understanding on how sales is going to execute their portion of the big picture becomes a part of the discussion from the beginning.
The reason is simply: Your profitability!
Sales departments have the direct link to your customers – your revenue. They also have a direct link to a large part of your expenses.
A good corporate strategy properly executed throughout an organization is going to lead to improved profits. And most corporate strategies have an end goal of increasing revenues. No matter what the strategy is, the sales organization will be impacted and have a substantial hand in success or failure.
To make sure the link to those profits through the revenue stream is aligned with the strategy, here are 10 questions to start with:
- Can the strategy be fully and successfully executed by the sales organization?
- How is the new strategy going to change how we do business with our partners?
- What changes do we need to make in how we interact with our customers?
- How will our customers react?
- How are the working relationships (processes and procedures) between sales and other departments going to change?
- What changes in the sales strategy and tactics are there going to be?
- What changes in the sales environment, with sales enablement and in sales operations do we need to make to align with the new strategy?
- Do we have the culture and people with the right skills in place in the sales team?
- What changes do we need to make in the hiring, training and development of our sales professionals and sales management?
- What are those changes going to cost in money, time, effort, disruption and training to align the sales organization to the new corporate strategy?
As you answer each of these questions, you will gain better insight into the impact on your revenue generators, your customers and the likely success of your new strategy.
Do not wait until you have decided on next year’s top strategic initiatives. Bring your sales leaders into the conversation today.
By Chris Houghtaling