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You need strategic alignment

One of the biggest issues I see in many of the organizations I work with when it comes to overcoming their revenue challenges is that they lack any kind of strategic alignment between the key drivers of revenue in their organizations: strategy, operations, marketing, and sales.

It is understandable because as our organizations have focused more and more on remote teams and project based strategic implementation, silos become more likely to happen and tougher to overcome.

But for just this reason, the need to create a strategic alignment within your organization has become even more important than ever before.

Here are a few of my ideas for ways that you can deliver strategic alignment to your organization:

1. Come up with a clear set of goals for the organization:
This should seem obvious, but if you have lots of silos in your organization, it is extremely likely that your teams have set their own goals and with too much distance, they likely aren’t operating with the same consistent focus throughout the organization. So as the ultimate decision maker, you need to set clear goals for the entire organization and hold the leaders of the different parts of the organization accountable for the achievement of these goals.

Develop your tangible value:
Here’s another thing that likely gets eaten away by silos: tangible value. If you aren’t careful, your silos will focus all of their attention on the actions and activities that will get them to the success of their section and activities don’t always equal value. So you have to make sure that you and your leaders are focusing on tangible values like making money, saving money, improving time management, faster decision making…whatever.

3. Understand the value you want to bring to market:
It isn’t enough to think in terms of the tangible value you provide, but you also need to understand what value you want to bring to your market. It is easy to get caught up in the idea that this is who we are and this is what we do, but for you organization to thrive in this changing economic environment, you are going to also need to be constantly evolving. One of the ways that you can ensure you are growing is to take a few moments every so often to look at your organization and think in terms of the value that you want to deliver to your market. It may still be in line with what you are doing now, but likely it will have changed, if even just a little.

4. Find the correct buyers:
I can’t tell you how often I go into organizations and find them chasing everything and everyone that might be a fit, even in just the loosest terms. Its like an epidemic. If you are serious about creating a highly functioning organization and taking advantage of the most valuable opportunities, you have to get serious about knowing who your buyers really are and stop chasing anyone that will talk with you.

5. Differentiate between users and buyers:
This harkens back to the point above. You can have tons of conversations with people that love your product or service, would love to use it, and absolutely need it…and they can’t buy a thing. As the person responsible for the end results and the revenue goals of your organization, you need to understand the difference between a user and a buyer. And, you need to understand how the user can help you make a sale to the buyer.

6. Understand what your deliverables are:
This one is a little more complicated to address in a short post, but in too many instances, we think that we are delivering value in one way when it is really another. Or, we are delivering deliverables that are irrelevant or just create additional labor for ourselves. So you need to understand what you are really delivering and what is important about the deliverable. This will help you eliminate things that you don’t need to deliver.

7. Revisit strategy throughout the year:
Don’t become a company that creates a strategy document and then lets it sit on the shelf collecting dust. Your strategy should be a living, breathing thing. As such, you should be reviewing it on a consistent basis because the answers to the essential strategic questions you should be asking about your company will change with each experience that you have.

8. Redefine your strategy in terms of outcomes:
It is important that you think about your strategies and activities in terms of the outcomes you want to achieve. It is really easy for your organization to get lost in the navel gazing of talking about the work you do in terms of the actions you take. I have a word for that kind of behavior…commodity. And, you aren’t getting a premium or even a decent wage for a commodity. So redefine and focus your strategic activities in terms of the outcomes they provide.

9. Break down the big silo between marketing and sales:
If there is one silo that is causing your organization the biggest headache, I bet it is the wall that exists between sales and marketing. I’m not sure why this silo is so difficult to break down, but in almost every organization there is this antagonistic relationship between the sales force and the marketing team…and this plays out in your organization’s ability to fully maximize your sales efforts.

10. You can’t be everything to everyone:
Finally, you have to remember that you can’t be everything to everyone. One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is that they don’t focus and drill down to find out who it is that they really want to talk to and target. This leads to flagellation and poor focus on a market and opportunities. But remember that if everyone is your market, no one is your market.