Strategy and Strategy Execution
Many companies are going through their annual planning process. As the business unit head, you and your team have spent hundreds of hours building your marketing plans, analyzing trends, developing key tactics and building and revising slide decks. The team responds and builds a bottom-up forecast and a tactical business plan. You have dry run after dry run.
Then it’s showtime. You and your team have a one to two-day meeting with global executives.
Global leadership must anoint your plans. Global leadership goes back and forth with country management. You and your team are challenged, pushed and prodded. Global leadership forces you to increase your sales numbers and reduce expenses, and you have to dance.
You know, the annual dance.
You are asked for stretched sales numbers, and fewer programs than you pitched for, and you go back to the drawing board to make revisions.
It doesn’t matter whether you are starting, halfway through, or finished the process. The beautiful thing is when the process is done, you can get back to business. Hopefully, all your scars will heal.
The focus shifts back to finishing your year strong, hitting your year-end sales, and managing your expenses as per your objectives.
Here’s the rub.
Multinational companies have well-defined brand planning processes. Brand teams find the process rigorous and time-consuming. Careers are made in the annual brand presentations. The problem is that far less time is spent planning for strategy execution than building marketing plans.
I remember learning that sales results are a multiplier of how good the plan is multiplied by how good the execution is.
Sales Results = (Quality of the plan) X (Effectiveness of strategy execution)
- A 9/10 plan with 4/10 execution yields an outcome of 36
- Where a 6/10 plan with 8/10 execution produces a result of 48
Why is there so much time allocated to building effective marketing plans and so little time spent on strategy execution plans?
Business unit heads tell me that their biggest concern is whether their sales team effectively executes the plan.
They also tell me they hate the number of hours they spend during the year tracking and extrapolating sales, revising estimates and explaining deviations.
You know the monthly dance!
What if I told you, “It doesn’t have to be this way!”
I want to share a better way to remove the dance you do month after month with you.
I call it Strategy Execution (SE) planning.
SE is the process that comes after your annual targets and budgets are finalized but before you start the following year. I help companies meticulously plan the execution of their strategic marketing plans.
5 Steps to Excellence in Strategy Execution
Step 1: Define Your Critical Success Factor (CSFs)
First of all, have your sales and marketing team define and agree on what they each need to do exceptionally well to achieve their sales objectives. As a result, the team has come up with no more than3 critical success factors.
Taking that one step further allows each team to drill down and define how they will measure these CSF and build a plan on how they are going to achieve them.
Step 2: Align Your Teams
The first step will ensure that both the sales and marketing teams are aligned. To align the entire team, you need to bring sales and marketing to share their CSFs and define how they can work best together to achieve their objectives.
Step 3: Develop and Execute with Accountability
The key here is developing your team members to improve what they do. Have them work with an expert who can help them become better leaders and hold them accountable for effectively executing the CSFs
Step 4: Track Your CSFs
As part of generating buy-in from your sales and marketing teams, you have empowered them to define the CSF. They have also built the plan and come up with their metrics. Developing a monthly tracking and reporting system to provide feedback on how each team member is doing against their CSFs helps keep things real.
Step 5: Review and Improve
To conclude the process, I recommend a quarterly review meeting focused on opportunities and ways to improve, drive better execution and crush your sales numbers month over month!
In conclusion, BU heads should spend as much time planning effective execution as they build marketing plans. That would put them in a better position to CRUSH their sales numbers.
If you have any comments or wish to discuss how we can help you execute with excellence, send me a note or book a time to talk.
Good luck this year, and congratulations for taking the first step to ensuring you make next year you execute with excellence!