As a fledgling salesperson, I believed product knowledge, excellent communication and hard work would lead to success.
With a few years under my belt, I believed that the additional processes and skills I learned through training would allow me to achieve even greater success.
Yet when I became a professional salesperson, I discovered a painful truth: no matter how good I was, how hard I worked, or what I tried, I would never be more successful than my organization allowed me to be.
My most difficult competitor was MY OWN COMPANY!
Talent isn’t enough
After 30 years of working with multinational corporations and midsize companies alike, I can confidently tell you that my painful discovery is shockingly common. Great sales, marketing, operations, and finance talent isn’t enough. A solid strategy isn’t enough either. The true success factor is this:
In my experience, more often than not, merely competent people in an aligned organization produce better results than teams with more raw talent and experience. The difference is alignment. Misaligned companies have functional groups competing with each other, operating in their own silos, and measuring their success on their own metrics rather than those of the organization.
Why does this happen? Competitiveness among employees? Complacency or satisfaction with the status quo? Lack of experience running an organization that is truly aligned across every business unit and function?
Whatever the reason, you CAN and SHOULD drive change in this area. Alignment is the first step of nine in creating sustainable, profitable revenue growth. If you’re not convinced that alignment is a critical success factor, ask yourself these six questions right now.
Two-minute drill: Alignment
- If your company’s strategy isn’t focused on a specific niche with a clear value proposition and brand promise, how can you deliver consistent messages that clearly differentiate your company from your competition?
- If your team doesn’t agree on or understand the compelling problem to solve for a specific ideal buyer, how can you develop a pricing structure that captures the full value of the solution and maximizes profitability through consistent execution and economies of scale?
- If product development doesn’t incorporate the rich customer knowledge the sales team gains each day, how can you possibly create compelling products that meet the needs of the right buyers?
- If marketing doesn’t deeply understand the sales process, how can you drive the right amount of qualified sales leads at the right time?
- If sales doesn’t work closely with marketing, how does marketing know what programs to run or even which ones worked?
- If your company’s strategy isn’t crystal clear, how can HR help hire the right employees to succeed in your environment?
There’s no room for error these days, and fixing your alignment issues should be a top priority. It’s the first principle of successful, sustainable revenue generation (full list below). The second principle is that alignment starts with strategy, so look for our next two-minute drill on that topic.
Nine principles of successful, sustainable revenue generation
- Alignment is required to win the revenue game
- Alignment starts with strategy
- Alignment requires that strategy is designed into the product, the processes, and the culture
- Focused execution is required for strategic alignment
- Structure and tools support strategy
- Be proactive, not reactive
- Your are always in transition regardless of market conditions
- Success requires identifying, challenging and testing all critical assumptions
- Winning requires integrity