Why Internal Strategic Alignment Isn’t Enough to Make Your Number in 2016


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SBI spent 12 months conducting exhaustive research for the 9th annual SBI research report. We monitored emerging B2B marketing and sales revenue trends. Then we compared those trends with ones we have observed over previous years.

Our most important finding was inarguable. Strategic alignment is the key to making your number in 2016.

But internal alignment alone won’t cut it.

A company can only achieve strategic alignment by linking internal strategies with external market conditions.

Sadly we found that 91% of companies failed to do this. And when internal strategy doesn’t consider external factors, revenue growth stalls.

Revenue Growth Chain

Successful strategic alignment links internal strategies with external market conditions.

The 9% of Companies That Succeeded Understood This One Thing

So how do you go about understanding external market conditions?

A thorough knowledge of the market can only be accomplished with extensive market research.

With this research in hand, a CEO can define a winning corporate strategy. One that considers both internal and external factors. And one that the rest of the functional organizations can align with.

What Is Market Research?

Market research is insights gathered from the external environment in which your company competes. It provides a deeper understanding of the market, accounts, buyers and users.

With market research, you can:

  • Differentiate your strategy from the competition
  • Prioritize your accounts
  • Align your strategy with buyer needs
  • Address user problems with your products

This insight enables organizations to align their internal strategy with the external market. Executives can then make smarter decisions on how to allocate resources.

Where Companies Go Wrong

It’s all too easy to become overly internally focused. Especially as your company or organization grows. But if you focus too much on internal improvements, you miss something pivotal. Improvements that are validated by the marketplace.

Companies that neglect external alignment might also miss the mark on buyer personas. Only external market consideration will give you a clear view of who your customer are.

Finally, when organizations are too internally focused, they cease to speak their customer’s language. These organizations use internal language to communicate to their market. To reach customers, an external voice is more often needed.

A Thriving Company Takes One Final Step

SBI Annual Report

To achieve a successful strategic alignment, consider both internal and external benchmarks. Use market research to identify external drivers and appropriate customer segmentation.

Organizations with predictable, enduring revenue growth take this one final step. They align their internal strategies with actual customers.

You might be wondering how exactly to do this. We go into much more detail in our full research report. Click here to download How to Make Your Number in 2016.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Scott Gruher
Scott has extensive experience helping B2B Sales and Marketing Leaders Make the Number. Gruher has helped companies such as Yahoo, GXS, Ryder Systems, Conoco Phillips, Expeditors International, Genesys Telocommunications and Caliber Collision Centers accelerate their growth by leveraging the benchmarking method.


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