“45% of organizations consider the limited alignment of sales and strategy as one of the most important impediments that needs to be addressed through effective sales compensation.” – Ventana Research, 2014
Simply put, business goals have little chance of coming to fruition if sales rep behaviors do not work towards them, and sales strategy would be useless without proper implementation.
Here are 5 ways to ensure alignment of objectives and behaviors and coordinate all roles towards achieving the desired growth:
- Integrate strategy with sales compensation plans.
The only way to make sure sales strategy is properly implemented is to embody it in the incentive compensation plan. This will align sales reps’ goals with the objectives of the organization and give you the tools to monitor progress throughout the year.
- Communicate strategy to all levels of the organization.
If you assume that people will naturally understand and word towards your strategic goals the second you communicate them, you might be in for a surprise. More often than not, sales reps and managers don’t fully know the corporate goals and don’t understand their role in achieving them.
Make accessible and clear communication a priority at all levels of the organization.
- Constantly monitor plans and analyze results.
Many organizations make the mistake of reviewing results sporadically. In order to achieve strategic goals, alignment between plans and sales behavior should be monitored regularly. Incorporate a dedicated process that provides meaningful information about alignment, as well as experienced people who can provide solutions to problems. If you’re concerned this will consume resources, consider the alternative of losing sales and missing market opportunities because of inefficient sales behavior.
- Don’t let exceptions become the rule.
In the execution of the sales strategy, sales managers and reps might be tempted to do things their own way, adjusting the rules to fit their particular situation. However, this should be allowed only on rare occasions, when misalignment is truly justified and according to specific scenarios.
- Give your plan a chance.
If you roll out a sales plan, communicate it efficiently to the sales force and implement a monitoring system that assures alignment. If you panic and add a number of special promotions throughout the year, you are just sabotaging your efforts. Contests and SPIFFs should be used sparingly, not only to enhance their value and give an extra push to the sales force, but also to avoid confusing sales reps about their objectives. Also, make sure that such promotions are aligned with the sales compensation plan.
How are you handling misalignments within your organization? I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.