We believe that an effective commercial strategy development and budgeting process is one that is organic, systematic and data-driven – all at the same time… But what exactly do we mean by that?
We’ve heard from clients countless times over the years about how a big name consulting firm delivered a strategic plan that either ended up gathering dust, or worse, lead the business off a cliff, because the plan failed to incorporate the know-how of key internal decision makers that would have steered the strategy in a different way had it been considered.
Ensuring that your commercial strategy is grounded in your hard-won industry and company specific knowledge and experience is vital: pre-packaged and generic strategic approaches are likely to end in disaster.
For many business managers, the concept of ‘strategy’ is a little bit amorphous, and strategic planning, if it happens at all, is often haphazard and idiosyncratic, leaving commercial strategy ill-defined, poorly recorded and badly communicated.
It shouldn’t be this way. ‘Strategy’ literally means ‘a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim’. As a business leader, there is no excuse. Simply stated, effective strategic planning is your most important task in helping your business to survive and thrive.
Few managers when asked would dispute this. However, due to the challenges that constantly crop up in the course of business activity, many managers end up with a ‘fire-fighting’ mentality, and become focused on the short term at the expense of the ‘long game’.
Maybe you can get away with this for a while, but in the long run, you will be outsmarted by competitors who approach strategy development with a systematic rigour, because a regularly defined, and clearly recorded and communicated strategy, is more likely to be well executed, and can be tested and refined over time.
So maybe you are systematically planning strategy, and maybe you are incorporating feedback from all of your relevant stakeholders. However, is your approach truly data-driven? A simple way to find out is to ask yourself the following: Is your company meticulous in it’s approach to:
- Identifying relevant industry data sources?
- Extracting data from these sources?
- Harmonizing multiple data-sets to develop an enriched view of the data available?
- Applying cutting-edge financial and statistical modelling tools and techniques to accurately score and rank opportunities?
In today’s world, with the wealth of data available to help you make rational decisions, if your strategy is not data-driven, you will struggle to compete with companies whose strategy is.
Benefits of an Organic, Systematic, Data-Driven Strategy
Ultimately, we believe that an organic, systematic and data-driven strategy helps you to compete more effectively in your marketplace through a plethora of positive impacts on your business:
- It facilitates transparent stakeholder communications, breaking down unhealthy knowledge silos that can otherwise leave you vulnerable to senior staff changes and discourage new members of your team
- It facilitates what we call strategic learning: what can be measured can be improved
- It drives an ability to measure and improve ROI on Marketing and New Product Development spend
- Ultimately improves strategic decision making leading to improved market position and increased firm value