Completing your growth plan in a smart and disciplined way is just the first step in your journey to realising your growth potential. You’ve then got to execute it. And this is where many businesses become unstuck by trying to execute too many tactics.
You see, the challenge for most businesses is not a lack of great growth ideas, it’s simply the lack of resources—time, money, and people—to try them all. With too many tactics it’s easy to get stretched too thin.
For example, I was called upon to help a professional services firm refocus and prioritise their tactics.
They had certainly put a lot of thought and energy into their growth plan, but hadn’t weighed up the resourcing requirements needed to get the job done. So, while they started with what I can best describe as the kitchen sink of tactical ambitions, they couldn’t hope to address them all.
In working together, we managed to weed out their long list of tactics into just three:
- Revamp their website
- Hire a marketing person to help with pitches
- Train their people in selling skills
However, while it’s a short list, even this number of tactics can put a considerable strain on a business. Anyone who’s managed a website revamp knows it’s not for the faint hearted. And recruiting top marketing talent these days can be a lengthy and expensive process.
So, we further refined this list. And to do so, I guided them through two important steps:
- Quality checking tactical plans, and
- Using 90-day sprints
Sales Strategy versus Tactics by Phil Symchych
- Quality checking tactical plans
As a rule of thumb, as you develop your tactics, it’s important to test the capability of your resources to deliver results. It’s important to gauge whether you really have the people, time and money needed to get these tactics done.
So, I asked my client, “Given you don’t have unlimited resources what tactics are essential to achieve your desired growth?”
And in terms of your own growth plan, before you finalise your tactics, it’s essential that you ask yourself the following questions:
- Do we have too many strategies?
- Which ones are absolutely critical to achieving our goals?
- Which ones overload our resources the most?
- Have we been specific enough to permit us to focus limited resources on hi-potential targets?
- Which segments are an absolute must do?
- Which fit into the nice to have but not essential bucket?
- Which segments stretch our resources too far?
- Which tactics are not truly critical to capitalise on our strengths and opportunities, and sure-up our weaknesses and threats where needed?
The intent here is not to discard important tactics and ideas. Rather, it’s a means of pinpointing which ones are absolutely essential to your growth, at this time. Think of the Pareto 80-20 Principle. 80% of results typically come from 20% of all actions.
You’ll know when this quality check has been successful when you have confidence that your tactics will achieve at least 80% of your desired outcomes.
- Use 90-day sprints
The second measure adopted for the professional services firm was 90-day rolling tactics. By focusing on shorter sprints, rather than the entire12 month plans, you can better adjust as conditions change.
By way of an example, think back to your last flight. Every flight has a goal: to travel from origin to the destination point. Consider the flight plan as the tactics which are shown as a straight line between those points. Yet, in reality, airline pilots make small adjustments to the course in response to changes in atmospheric conditions along the way.
Pilots don’t just put up the wheels and wait until the end of the flight to see if they are on course. Things change and they adjust the flight path as they go.
It’s the same with business. An annual plan represents the important, ultimate destination. Any unforeseen changes in the business atmosphere (competitors, customers, staff, and more) will likely require us to change our tactics.
90-day rolling tactics enable business agility
In using this approach for the professional services firm, we actually pivoted and refocused our tactics around hiring a training person rather than a marketing manager. The training manager would train the leadership team who in turn would coach the top three people in their businesses. As for the website revamp, that’s still on the back burner!
Tactics are where the rubber hits the road. Overloading on tactics can have a demoralising effect as you end up not doing anything particularly well.
So how do you get it right? By doing a quality check on the overall growth plan you will be better suited to allocate your limited resources in an 80-20 manner to achieve your growth.
By adopting 90-day rolling tactics you’ll be ready to adapt as things change.
Remember, with your growth plan, don’t try to do too many things at once. You’ll end up not doing any one thing particularly well. But with a more measured approach, you’ll know that you’ve forged the balance when you believe each tactic is worth the cost to your resources.
- How do you ensure your growth plan contains 80-20 payoffs to make optimal use of your resources?
- How do you ensure your tactics don’t become an overwhelming load on your people and finances?
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