Debunking the Strategic Consulting Myth, and Defining Strategy Automation
I don’t want to minimize how difficult it is to articulate your business strategy – at least a good one that is going to put you on the path to growth. Billions of dollars are spent annually on strategy and marketing consultants to help organizations develop go-to-market (GTM) strategies.
Having developed and executed hundreds of business strategies, here’s the reality: every strategy is different, and every strategy is the same. To get to a great strategy, you have to answer the same questions. Maybe consultants can help you come up with creative answers – but the questions they ask are always the same. They may call strategic elements different names (big ideas, brand differentiators, thought leadership, brand statements, BHAGs, blah blah blah), but they are all getting to the essence of growth – getting the right prospects to engage with you and see the value in your solution.
If you are a B2B company that has any revenue at all, you have something prospects want to buy. That is the hardest part! Accelerating growth is defining, aligning, and executing the strategy that emanates from those successes. And defining a great GTM strategy is about developing the right message, delivering that message to the right prospects, and executing a sales process well.
The art in the execution of your GTM Strategy is identifying the right prospects and developing a message that is meaningful to them. While this takes creativity, the process is still repeatable, and the questions are the same. Your team probably knows the answers to the critical questions, and likely has enough creativity to come up with a compelling value proposition. Amazingly, the thing that typically gets B2B companies stuck is asking the wrong questions, or asking them from the inside out.
So often we work with companies who have the overwhelming desire to tell the world what they have to sell, and how cool it is. Frankly, I still have to catch myself from falling into that trap. It is so enticing because we love our products. And our babies are always beautiful! But to get the attention of a prospect, you have to connect with them emotionally. And that means you have to understand their wants and needs and the value you bring to them. Are they out looking for a product like yours? Most often, no. They are looking to solve their own challenges. If you can’t do that for them, they don’t care what you have.
I explain that because the questions to get to a compelling value proposition lead you down the same path, regardless of the unique answers. When we work with companies on value proposition, we don’t have the magic answer going in. We have to walk through a thought process to understand what is meaningful to the target prospects of the client. Usually, the answers emerge from the client in a lightbulb moment – they blurt out the value proposition. Voila!
One fundamental truth: A bookings target is not a strategy. Bookings targets are the results you want to achieve. A strategy is how you are going to achieve it. And if you don’t define your strategy, then any way to get to bookings will be fair game for your marketing and sales team. Without alignment around a deliberate, well-articulated, documented strategy, you have individuals off doing great things that won’t scale. Sales isn’t selling what Marketing promises, and the Product isn’t what the prospect expects (or maybe even wants). This is what I call “silos of greatness” – everyone working hard with good intentions but pulling the organization in separate directions. Nobody wins, and we spend a lot of resources and investment without accelerating growth.
So, why am I pointing out the repeatability that exists in strategy creation? Because that is the part that can be automated. While there is still art that goes into developing strategy, the process is the same. We can automate that workflow, i.e., the structured process of answering the critical questions that fully define your target markets, products, revenue targets by segment, buyers, users, value proposition, and solutions.
Why did I point out the significance of aligning your teams around a deliberate strategy? Because you can operationalize alignment and connect it to a strategy if you have a system that defines it.
We can also automate the marketing to sales execution process – while more straightforward, this will certainly be a topic of another blog.
Complete transparency… I want you to look at how we have done this: Strategy Automation. It is the culmination of decades of not only creating strategy, but executing strategy, aligning teams, and delivering accelerated growth. Strategy Automation is a process that works.
If you want to see how it could work for your organization, let us know – before you spend money on the next strategic consultant.