By John Mansour – Most organizations have strategic plans that include goals for revenue growth, new customers, market share and other quantifiable metrics. All good! But a huge disconnect often exists between the corporate strategic plan and tactical product, marketing and sales plans. When that’s the case, the organization loses tremendous momentum because all disciplines are going in different directions, focused on different goals with competing and often conflicting priorities. Good news: the fix is straight forward and makes life easier for everyone.
Why the Disconnect?
In most cases, strategic plans are 100% inward facing — our revenue, our profitability, our market share, our technology, etc. It’s not that those goals aren’t important, they just shouldn’t be the headlines of the strategy.
When they are, each product group is marching to a different drummer with its own agenda. Marketing and sales teams are thoroughly confused by all the fragmented product messages that don’t roll up to a cohesive value story or vision. All told, it makes it very difficult for the organization to articulate a strong vision that energizes prospects and customers. And if you can’t articulate a strong vision and strategy, it’s impossible to execute one.
3 Steps to Connect the Dots
- Headline your corporate strategy with market-facing or customer-centric goals. For example, “Our top priority is to help customers grow wallet share with their existing customers.”When your corporate strategy is headlined in terms of customer goals, it establishes a common focus across the entire organization and forces everyone to start thinking about the biggest business challenges that prevent your customers from “growing their wallet share.”
- Now that the bulls-eye has been drawn, product teams can identify the next biggest obstacles that stand in the way of those customers growing wallet share. Those obstacles drive the portfolio roadmap and product execution plans.
- Marketing and sales can headline their positioning with something like, “Everything we do is about helping you grow wallet share.” Presentations, demos, website content, proposals, and marketing campaigns communicate the business obstacles your solutions eliminate to help customers grow wallet share. You’re leveraging your portfolio of existing products, services and capabilities and positioning them as business solutions to those obstacles.
The moral of the story is this: it’s much easier to execute a vision and strategy when it’s defined around something that’s meaningful to everyone. The business goals of your target customers are the common denominator.
Now you’ve got momentum! With customer goals front and center, marketing and sales are focused on driving short-term revenue from existing solutions while product teams are focused on delivering solutions that ensure longer-term growth, all aiming for the same target.
Image courtesy of Proficientz, Inc.
John Mansour is the founder and managing partner at Proficientz and an experienced consultant. He has more than 25 years of practical experience in high technology product management, product marketing, marketing communications and sales. John has worked in organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 1000 companies with extensive operations experience in senior management positions in software companies, healthcare, distribution, hospitality, and retail.
As the managing partner of Proficientz, John has worked with more than 2000 organizations that span high technology, business services, telecom, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and many others. John served as the chairman for the Technology Association of Georgia’s Product Management Society from 2006 – 2010.