Most of us would agree that strategy execution is critical to running a successful business. In manufacturing, you won’t last long if you can’t figure out how to build widgets to spec or ship them to your customers. B2B sales and marketing are no different. You need a big picture strategy and goal to guide your work but you also need a plan for how to get it done.
So, you develop processes and document procedures for the day to day tasks. At the same time, you’re careful to avoid micromanaging or being pulled away from forward momentum toward the goal. It’s a constant balancing act, and it’s not easy. In fact, the American Management Association (AMA) estimates more than 60% of strategies are not successfully implemented.
It's troubling but perhaps not surprising the success rate is so low. At Acadia we often have clients come to us with a strategy in mind but the need for some help to execute it. We’ve found again and again that strategies fail if they’re resting on a crumbly or weak foundation. Here’s how we help you ensure a stable foundation and effective sales and marketing tactics to make your strategy happen.
It takes a team
The only way to accomplish a strategy is to organize a team of people who clearly understand the goals, have the skills to define the steps, and the talent execute the steps. The same group of people will not be able to do all of these things. For example, those who have the vision to create strategy are not always the ones who can get it done.
As a result, the strategy team must include a mix of people and skillsets. Sales and marketing teams are a case in point. These two teams bring very different mindsets and approaches, and, if we’re being honest, sometimes fail to appreciate each other’s perspective. But what they share is passion about the direction of the organization, so we have to take down the walls and rebuild on the fact that sales and marketing actually is one team with one goal in mind.
Three phases, one strategic goal
This image may help you visualize Acadia’s approach:
At Acadia we see our primary purpose as helping our clients create a strong, successful structure in which the sales and marketing team can work toward the strategic goal. But the strategy, at the top of the structure, rests on sales and marketing tactics, which in turn need support from a solid foundation. That foundation is built in three phases: assess, align, and refine.
Any company can work through these phases to strengthen its foundation and build up a sales and marketing dream team to execute strategy. It takes time and effort, but it in the end it increases your topline revenue!
Phase 1: Assess
Look closely at your current sales and marketing strategy and how you are implementing it. Identify the gaps and inefficiencies and document your findings. These are the key components to assess:
- People: roles, responsibilities, skills, and systems of communication
- Processes: handoff points between teams, procedures for outreach and nurturing
- Technology: CRM, marketing automation platforms, project management software, etc.
Phase 2: Align
Organize and prioritize what needs to be corrected, updated, or streamlined to everyone is coordinated and aligned toward the same goal. This may include things like scheduling a standing meeting between teams, eliminating redundant outreach processes, or requiring in-depth training on your CRM. Remember to keep your strategy in front of you at all times so any changes you institute are in support of it – at this phase it’s easy to get sidetracked.
Phase 3: Refine
Manufacturing and industry often seek continuous improvement and we think sales and marketing should too. The third phase is to refine your processes by conducting a regular assessment periodically and make further refinements. It would be great if one set of changed optimized everything on the first try, but realistically you’ll probably have to make some adjustments and tweaks to your processes. Once you make the first batch of improvements, you might start to notice things you missed earlier. Maybe you will discover you need a different email marketing platform or your inside sales team needs new talking points, for example.
Working through these three foundational phases will give you clarity and the processes and skilled teams you need to execute your strategy. Our clients’ results speak for themselves: teams are more productive, there is more engagement in higher value opportunities leading to increased revenue, and better ROI on marketing spend. Wondering how this approach can work for you? Please contact us!