How to Shrink the Gap between Sales and Strategy—An Interview with Frank Cespedes

For a business to grow, it must have a strategy and that strategy must be aligned with sales. The problem is often companies don’t have a strategy, or if they do, there’s a gap between that strategy and what their sales teams are doing.

“Research shows relatively few companies successfully execute their strategies. And on average companies deliver only about 50% of the financial performance that their strategies and sales forecasts promise,” says Frank Cespedes, author of Aligning Strategy and Sales. “Now that’s a lot of wasted money and effort. … Companies regularly overpromise and under-deliver when it comes to sales and profitable growth.”

The problem stems partly from impractical strategy planning processes, he says. A firm might take five months doing planning. In the meantime, the market continues to move and sales must respond issue by issue and account by account. That means the eventual strategy is irrelevant to sales executives.

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