Why team alignment is crucial for the longevity of your SMB and the steps you can take to achieve it
Updated: Apr 25
“Building a visionary company requires 1% vision and 99% alignment. When you have superb alignment, a visitor could drop in from outer space and infer your vision from the operations and activities of the company without ever reading it on paper or meeting a single senior executive.” –Jim Collins & Jerry Porras – HBR
Now the question is; whether your company has the 99% secured. If not, this reading will help you understand why it is important for your organization to be aligned and the steps you can take to get your team on the same page.
Let’s look at an example: A start-up in Toronto had started making waves after its successful feature on the hit TV show, Dragons Den. It experienced a massive surge in sales and inquiries after the show aired and continued to do so up to a point. However, the success of this surge did not last.
What do you think was one of the biggest reasons it did not last?
Like many start-ups, the sales & marketing team was not organized to exploit growth opportunities. There was a huge gap between the teams’ perception and the company’s expectation of taking advantage of this moment. At the time the sales cycle had no standardized process. Everything from prospecting to the close was unsystematic. Because of this, team members would pursue the wrong leads, forget to follow-up potential prospects, give inconsistent product information to inbound injuries etc. Essentially, they were leaving a lot of money on the table because they were unable to take advantage of the short-term promotional surge and build long-term sustainability. And the reason they could not exploit this opportunity is because the sales & marketing team was not aligned with the company’s expectations.
Just like with everything else in business, it all comes down to the bottom line; In order for your company to move forward and be profitable, there must be a state agreement among ALL employees with a common cause or viewpoint.
How do you know whether your SMB team is aligned? Here are three important questions you must ask yourself:
1.) Does every employee know what our top challenge is? (if you get five different answers from five different members, then you have work to do)
2.) Can every member of our team identify the same opportunities within their department? (In a perfectly aligned team, all members would identify the same exact opportunities)
3.) How effective is our team’s communication? (Too much means that there are wasting a lot of time in meetings and are not reaching agreements. Too little means people are operating in silos and do not have the macro picture in mind)
Here are three ways to get your team aligned:
1.) Empower your employees individually and use their strengths to reach the company’s common goal. 2.) Clearly and frequently communicate the company’s core values to ensure everyone is on the same page. 3.) Build trust with employees when they are struggling as it will foster a transparent and open environment.
When the start-up’s management noticed this gap, they decided to close it by streamlining the entire sales cycle in line with their objectives. This was done through creating a basic CRM process with the limited tools they had. They ensured that any other future opportunities will not be missed again. Though the start-up the Dragons Den train, they were able to increase their B2B sales by 27% at the end of 2018.