As companies are set to execute their 2017 strategic goals, we’ve heard from many executives, especially in L&D, who are concerned about whether their organization is properly aligned and has the right tools to execute and get paid for the value they deliver to customers. These are the right questions to ask.

Unfortunately, most organizations don’t operate quite this way. Functions are often siloed, with conflicting goals and incentives. Hard-negotiating customers push salespeople for increasingly larger discounts. Executives feel pressure to close the deal to meet short-term financial goals, urging sales to “get the deal at any cost!” Unsure of the real value their organization can deliver and knowing their executives’ expectations, salespeople often lack the tools to both respond effectively to the customer’s discount demands and bring home profitable business. Their messages tend to be feature-based, touting the latest and greatest technical enhancement, leaving the customer to interpret what this solution means for their business.

Alternatively, the entire organization needs to be considered a cooperative and interdependent value-creating and -delivery system – including product development, which creates value; marketing, which pens the value messages; sales operations, which manages tools; sales, which ensures the company gets paid for value; and pricing and finance, which ensures the company is profitable and successful. Encouraging a value system within the organization in which all value contributors work arm-in-arm to ensure value delivery is often the breakthrough that companies need to negotiate more effectively and exceed their revenue and profit goals.

Is your organization primed to fire up your value system to meet or exceed your 2017 goals? Here is a checklist to test how well your organization is prepared to execute and get paid for the value you deliver to your customers:

Value Creation:

❏ How well does the organization understand the value delivered to customers?

❏ How well does the infrastructure support growth goals?

❏ Is the value chain defined from discovery to creation to delivery to collection?

❏ How well has the sales team communicated value to customers? Do all customer-facing team members have the same value vision?

Value Protection:

❏ Does the sales team have the right value and profit protection tools (ie. price-value tradeoffs or “give-gets,” fences, value messaging, negotiation planners, etc.) to protect value and price from discount-seeking customers?

❏ Do they know how use these tools?

❏ How well have they communicated these tools to other members of the value network?

Value Enforcement:

❏ Is the organization aligned to enforce the value and profit protection tools?

❏ Are executives on board to enforce the tools?

❏ Who in the organization will be relied on to identify new value opportunities for the customer?

❏ How can these new opportunities be fostered over 2017 to ensure value delivery and collection?

Breakthrough business results depend heavily on the strength of the organization’s value system. Relentless investigative value discovery, smart and flexible value creation, consistent and disciplined execution, and careful negotiations planning to protect margins are the keys to aligning the sales team for a profitable 2017. The aligned team is not built overnight, but, with intentional improvements, it can be expanded and strengthened to achieve impactful financial results.

Best wishes for a prosperous new year!