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Unclear Strategic Direction | Top Factors That Stop Sales Growth

Updated December 2021

To have a successful sales organization, all elements in your company must be in sync. However, no matter how hard you try to keep all parts of the sales organization running as smoothly as possible, there could still be overlooked challenges. These challenges like unclear strategic direction could have a direct impact on your sales growth.

Unclear Strategic Direction

Nearly every organization has grappled with strategic challenges. Often strategic challenges come with a need to reimagine the company’s very purpose, identity, business model, structure, and everything else. A strong sales strategy plan creates the foundation for a cohesive and successful sales organization.

There is a lot included in strategic planning, and direction needs to be clear. When there's clear, unwavering direction, you can focus on defined targets and deliver results. However, when strategies shift, or are hinting toward a shift, it's normal to feel unsettled, and you'll see this reflected in your sales team too.

Not Being Executed

According to Harvard Business Review, "67% of well-formulated strategies failed due to poor execution." There are many explanations for this abysmal failure rate. The following are two main reasons why the strategic plan isn't being executed:

  • The sales leader or the salespeople don't understand the strategy.
  • The activities that drive the strategy are not being reinforced.

This is often referred to as sales team and strategy misalignment.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Salespeople chase all prospects, regardless of the market, but they do not have the expertise to do so.
  • Salespeople both land and service accounts, which leads to a lack of new clients.
  • There is a premium on new accounts, so existing clients are neglected and go elsewhere.

Misalignment Influence

Sales team alignment has a huge impact on the overall performance of your business. ClearCompany found that "97% of employees and executives agree that the outcome of a task or project is negatively affected by a lack of alignment."

When your sales team is misaligned with the strategy, it can cause the following:

  • Ample opportunities, but low win rates
  • Resources used on the wrong opportunities
  • Not enough new customers
  • Underserved territories or accounts
  • Inconsistent behavior across the sales team

What to Implement

Implementation is an essential part of the strategic planning process, and companies that develop strategic plans must incorporate a method for applying the plan. 

Here are a few actions to consider and implement:

  • Refine the growth strategy (customers, markets, products, and services).
  • Determine the appropriate size and structure of the sales team.
  • Identify ideal prospects and how to turn them into customers.
  • Align the sales team and strategic direction.
  • Create and measure the activities that drive strategy.

Still not sure what to do or how to implement it? Contact Pivotal Advisors and learn more about our approach to strategic direction and sales growth.

The Results

No two strategic plans are exactly alike — they're unique depending on your company and the company's specific goals. You need to make sure you have clear direction and that your sales team is aligned on the goals. If you are not aligned and don't have a clear direction when it comes to your strategic plan, it can ultimately lead to stalled sales growth.

Follow us next week to get another top reason why your sales growth has come to a screeching halt.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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