What's a plan without a strategy?

As the economist and business strategy guru, Michael Porter, says, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

With strategic planning, businesses identify their strengths and weaknesses and choose what not to do and which opportunities should be pursued. In sales operations, having a clearly defined strategy will help your organization plan for the future, set goals, and achieve goals.

So, how do you get started with strategic planning? You'll begin with strategic planning models and tools.

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Strategic Planning Models

Strategic planning is used to set up long-term goals and priorities for an organization. A strategic plan is a written document that outlines these goals.

Don't confuse strategic planning and tactical planning. Strategic planning is focused on long-term goals, while tactical planning is focused on the short-term.

Here are a few strategic planning models you can use to get started.

1. The Balanced Scorecard (BSC)

The balanced scorecard is a strategic planning model gives you a big picture look at your strategy. Start out by reflecting on your organization's mission, vision, and strategic focus areas. Strategy maps are used to visualize each objective.

balanced scorecard strategic planning model

Source: Balanced Scorecard

This strategic planning model can help businesses develop a customer focus. The creators of the balanced scorecard, Dr. Robert Kaplan and Dr. David Norton, say that customers' concerns fall into four categories: time, quality, performance and service, and cost.

They say, "To put the balanced scorecard to work, companies should articulate goals for time, quality, and performance and service and then translate these goals into specific measures." This is just one way the balanced scorecard can be used -- this model can also be applied to different areas of the business, like sales, marketing, and operations.

2. Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

This strategic planning model is broken down into objectives and key results. Organizations will determine three to five objectives then list three to five key results below each objective.

To evaluate the success of each key result, they're measured with a score between 0 to 1 or 0-100%. Below is an example OKR for a sales organization.

Sales OKR strategic planning method Source: OKR Examples

There's an easy way to come up with your objectives and key results. When you create objectives, remember the word, "object":

  • O: Objective
  • B: Bracing
  • J: Judicious
  • E: Exact
  • C: Clearly understandable
  • T: Tangible

And when you come up with your key results, think of the word, "result":

  • R: Reachable
  • E: Exponent
  • S: Significant
  • U: Understandable
  • L: Limited to numbers
  • T: Trackable

3. Theory of Change (TOC)

Theory of change is a strategic planning method that requires you to think backward and identify the conditions that are necessary for you to achieve your goals. The theory of change model is used when you're:

  • Goal setting
  • Building a team
  • Planning an initiative
  • Developing an action plan

Apply this method by following the steps below:

  1. Identify long-term goals.
  2. Backward map the preconditions necessary to achieve your goal. Explain why they're necessary.
  3. Identify your basic assumptions about the situation.
  4. Determine the interventions your initiative will fulfill to achieve your goals.
  5. Come up with indicators to evaluate the performance of your initiative.
  6. Write an explanation of the logic behind your initiative.

theory of change strategic planning model Source: Wageningen University and Research

1. SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool and acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It's used to identify each of these elements in relation to your business.

This strategic planning tool allows you to determine new opportunities and which areas of your business need improvement. You'll also identify any factors or threats that might negatively impact your business or success.

2. Porter's Five Forces

Use Porter's Five Forces as a strategic planning tool to identify the economic forces that impact your industry and determine your business' competitive position. The five forces include:

  1. Competition in the industry
  2. Potential of new entrants into the industry
  3. Power of suppliers
  4. Power of customers
  5. Threat of substitute products

To learn more, check out this comprehensive guide to using Porter's Five Forces.

3. PESTLE Analysis

The PESTLE analysis is another strategic planning tool you can use. It stands for:

  • P: Political
  • E: Economic
  • S: Social
  • T: Technological
  • L: Legal
  • E: Environmental

Each of these elements allow an organization to take stock of the business environment they're operating in, which helps them develop a strategy for success. Use a PESTLE Analysis template to help you get started.

4. Visioning

Visioning is a goal-setting strategy used in strategic planning. It helps your organization develop a vision for the future and the outcomes you'd like to achieve.

Once you reflect on the goals you'd like to reach within the next five years or more, you and your team can identify the steps you need to take to get where you'd like to be. From there, you can create your strategic plan.

5. VRIO Framework

The VRIO framework is another strategic planning tool that's used to identify the competitive advantages of your product or service. It's composed of four different elements:

  • Value: Does it provide value to customers?
  • Rarity: Do you have control over a rare resource or piece of technology?
  • Imitability: Can it easily be copied by competitors?
  • Organization: Does your business have the operations and systems in place to capitalize on its resources?

By analyzing each of these areas in your business, you'll be able to create a strategic plan that helps you cater to the needs of your customer.

With these strategic planning models and tools, you'll be able to create a comprehensive and effective strategic plan. To learn more, check out the ultimate guide to strategic planning next.

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Originally published May 17, 2019 8:30:00 AM, updated May 17 2019

Topics:

Sales Operations