TALKING SALES 60: Aligning Sales Strategy with Business Strategy

Sales-Business-AlignmentThe business strategy should drive the sales strategy – not vice versa” – Interview by John Smibert


Wayne MoloneySales strategy must be aligned to the business strategy according to Wayne Moloney. 

That sounds like good sense to me however Wayne claims it doesn’t happen in many businesses and their bottom line suffers as a result.

He states that “It’s a matter of making sure that whatever the business strategy you deploy in order to win at business  your sales processes should reflect that”.  To emphasise his point Wayne talks about two companies in the airline industry and their differing strategies. 

View the following interview to gain further insight on this subject. This interview is likely to be of interest to the CEO, CSO, CMO, COO and CFO, sales leaders and sales managers

Wayne Moloney is a leading business strategist specialising in sales and business development. Wayne has a very specific specialisation in ‘lean selling’.

See more of the ‘TALKING SALES’ series here


John: Welcome back! I have the pleasure again of talking with Wayne Moloney. Wayne, we’ve been talking a lot about the ‘lean selling’ activities and how we’ve got to become lean, particularly around value and waste. This has really got to be related to an overall business strategy, doesn’t it? Otherwise, why are we doing it? It’s not going to fit together if we don’t.

Wayne: Look, sales as much as anything else in a business all needs to be aligned with what your strategy is. It’s a matter of defining – if we come back to the basics of strategy – where are you going to plan and how are you going to win? One of the basics of how you’re going to win – are you going to be at the low-end as far as cost is concerned, or are you going to be at the high-end as far as the added value that you’re going to be selling? Do I make it for less or sell it for more? And, obviously, your sales process – or maybe not obviously, unfortunately, but – definitely your sales process needs to reflect that.

John: Yes.

Wayne: It’s a matter of making sure that whatever the strategy is that you’ve got in business – in other words – “how are you going to win?” – that your sales processes reflect that.

John: So how do people need to go about addressing that?

Wayne: A really simple example of that – admittedly it’s business-to-consumer, but take the airline industry – you’ve got Tigerair for example, or you’ve got some another I used to use when I lived in Asia and travelled Asia a lot and that’s Cathay Pacific. With Cathay Pacific I was prepared to pay a premium price because of the quality that I got, the service that I got, the special seating that I got and everything that went with that.

But if I’m just travelling with family on holiday… I may then just be looking at the cost that’s associated with it, and therefore someone like Tigerair may be who I’m prepared to go with. The sales process that I would introduce if I was the sales manager of Tigerair is going to be very different to the sales process that I would introduce, and the customer service which becomes part of the sale that I would deliver if I was Cathay Pacific.

John: Of course, of course. Okay, so the bottom line is: you’ve got to think end to end about your business, you’ve got to think about how your sales process fits within your overall business strategy. Your business strategy has got to be built around what sort of products you’re taking to market, which target markets, and whether they’re premium products or commodity products I guess.

Wayne: Absolutely. And it comes back to – in a business-to-business environment – in a lot of instances we’re selling goods that can be sold quite easily over the Internet for example, as distinct from where you need to become – and we used the term previously – the trusted advisor – where you’re building that relationship – where you’re selling those products or services that are going to have a very significant impact on the overall business of the person that you’re dealing with.

John: Great advice Wayne! Look forward to our next discussion – thank you!

Wayne: Thanks, John!

For more reading on this subject see: “Aligning Strategy and Sales: The Choices, Systems, and Behaviors that Drive Effective Selling” by Frank V. Cespedes


More interviews with Wayne Moloney:


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John leads three related organisations, Custell, Strategic Selling Group and Sales Masterminds APAC. These help B2B selling organisations, who recognise the need to transform their sales capability, to respond to the tsunami of change that is starting to wash over us all. He works with people who recognise that to survive they must more strategically support their customer in their buying journey - and understand that they must become specialists in the customer's domain in order to be of value to them. He also helps sales teams build differentiated personal brands and leverage the digital and social worlds to engage to create trust and value.

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