Alignment for Success

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Getting everyone on board and pulling together.

Taking a new idea to market is tough, whether it’s new positioning for your company, a new product or service, or entering a new market. All too often companies add to the difficulties by setting out without everyone involved sharing a unified understanding of the journey. In today’s language, we’re talking about alignment, or the lack of it. From setting the objective to creating a strategy to executing the plan, every member of the team must be on board and working together.

Perfect Alignment Is Not Good Enough

You’ve probably seen the common visual metaphor for alignment: a racing shell with every member of the crew rowing perfectly in synch. Unfortunately, that’s a pretty good picture of the way many, if not most companies approach alignment. Backward. Only the coxswain (lead manager) has a clear view of where they’re going; the crew members (sales, marketing, professional services and product specialists) focus only on their own tasks, dutifully pulling on their oars. For the crew, the goal, competitive conditions ahead, and even the very people they’re hoping to impress may be obscure. Information comes in cryptic bursts – “stroke, stroke.”

Alignment with a Shared Vision

At FutureSight Consulting, we see effective alignment as more like a dragon boat, with everyone on board, focused on the common goal and pulling together like synchronized demons. It starts with getting all the members of the combined team – sales, marketing, professional services and product specialists – to understand the business value proposition that applies to the market. That’s essential to their defining, refining and delivering it.

Getting a team to work on a common understanding of value and how to position a solution in the market is key, but it’s not easy. Bringing in outside experts to provide training and guidance usually avoids internal rivalries, schedule conflicts and other drags on progress. FutureSight’s Strategic Marketing Program has been very effective in helping clients achieve alignment and moving forward with a project.

Summary

To get your leadership and team pulling together to achieve your market goals, remember:

  • Alignment is critically important to marketing success, but it is difficult to achieve without a plan and framework.
  • Think of your solution in terms of the market’s needs and against competition, not in as a set of features.
  • Be rigorously realistic of what will be required to execute your project effectively.
  • Develop a compelling, own-able position and a strong strategy to gain ownership of it.
  • Craft a clear message strategy that can be applied to all your communications – and stick to it.
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