It's no secret that COVID-19 has had significant impact on businesses across the world – faced with uncertain market conditions and changing to the way we work and engage with customers.
And although 2020 is behind us, these changes will continue to permeate the landscape with many leaders looking to create a robust and agile strategy for the year ahead, primed for growth. More often than not, this will require a balancing act between tighter budgets, lean resources, alignment with cross-functional constraints and the wider business goals.
So how can you be sure your strategy is set for success?
A laser-focused roadmap is key in painting a clear path for teams to hit the ground running (and in the same direction) for 2021.
Building a roadmap for growth
Aligning goals and priorities across the entire business is the backbone of the roadmap. Particularly when resources are scarce — your time, money and energy must be considered and ladder back up to the strategic business goals — or, what’s the point?
An effective marketing strategy is as much about what you won’t do, as what you will do — and having stakeholder buy-in on those decisions is crucial. That’s easier said than done, especially for large organisations with siloed divisions and competing agendas —but it is possible. Let’s go through the key steps.
1. Engage cross-functionally
To deliver impact on the business goals and growth, departments across the organisation need to be aligned. Whilst the key priorities might be evident from your perspective, other functional leaders will have their own priorities – and relying on their resource or expertise (which is often the case) means getting their input and buy-in from the get-go. This becomes a collective agenda; not a siloed one.
It doesn’t mean engaging everyone in the business, but the leadership team across sales, IT, finance, operations (and others depending on your organisation) should be part of the roadmap planning session — to redefine the business vision, gather input on their strategic objectives, commercial metrics for success, validate the initiatives, and determine the focus areas for the year.
2. Define your strategic initiatives
What are the big ‘rocks’ that will help hit the commercial goals? As a group, now is the time to move up and out of the tactical BAU activity that often creates the busyness - and think big, high impact initiatives.
Is it to develop a new channel model to market? Build an ABM program? Redevelop your website to drive online sales? Most organisations will only have one or two per quarter, sometimes less for large or complex initiatives.
Once everyone has theirs named, then it’s a process of interrogating each as a group to identify what it’s going to take to make each initiative happen. It’s crucial to get the input from other functional leaders who can help provide a realistic assessment on timeframes, resourcing, and dependencies.
Documenting these for each initiative helps to clarify what’s really a ‘rock’ and what isn’t, the potential value to the business, and the risk.
3. Prioritise for impact
With an outline of each initiative fleshed out, defining what makes sense to commit to for the year becomes a straightforward task.
At TSM, we use the PIE scoring method:
- Potential – how much potential does it have to impact the commercial goals?
- Importance – how important is it in achieving the business objectives?
- Ease – how complex and time-consuming will it be to complete?
By rating each initiative on Potential, Importance and Ease, the total score will identify the most valuable initiatives for your organisation, and help you prioritise. With all the right stakeholders involved in this process, it makes getting the support you need to execute these initiatives a lot easier.
4. Iterate for success
Once the roadmap of key initiatives has been agreed and circulated, the broader team can begin planning, and allocating the budgets and resources for each project.
It doesn’t end there. Staying agile is critical as market conditions and plans change. So it’s a good idea to set up a sprint review and planning session for each project, along with a quarterly roadmap review session with the core group to re-align on key priorities, assess progress and make any adjustments. This means you’re always sharply focused on the initiatives that ladder back up to business goals.
Pipeline challenges will continue well into 2021 and keeping lines of communication open and collaborative across the business is more important than ever. Without this alignment, you don’t stand a chance. A roadmap plan is a great starting point to help the business re-define and reinforce the goals for the year and mitigate any risk that may happen.
Pulling it together is not rocket science, but it can be valuable to get external support to facilitate and structure the session - play devil’s advocate in the room to get the right input from the team, and take charge of synthesising the material to develop a documented plan for you to circulate. So don’t be shy in reaching out to one of your partners, or get in touch with us for a free consultation.