With the launch of Duke Advisory Group last year, I was expectedly asked “so what do you folks do?” My answer, at first, was a rambling mess. I would have needed a 60-story building to get my elevator pitch completed. Soon, though, I noticed I was frequently using the word align, regardless of the different responses I was offering up to my audience. “We align marketing content to sales messaging; we align inside sales to leads; we align talent acquisition and training to client retention and revenue goals”; and so forth and so on, aligning aspects of sales enablement and sales team optimization to improve performance and results. It wasn’t long before I was practicing my pitch (yes, you have to practice and hone your response to “what does your company do?”) when it dawned on me that what I was describing was like chiropractics for the sales organization.” I laughed at first at the revelation, but as I thought about it more, I thought it was an apt comparison.
The underlying philosophy of chiropractics is that if every cell, organ and tissue in the human body is controlled by your central nervous system and your spine is the connected armor that protects this system, then wouldn’t it make sense to keep this all aligned? In applying this analogy to sales and marketing teams, the central nervous system and spine are the various activities that support sales enablement from lead generation through won deals. When viewed through this lens it is easy to see where things can get out of alignment over time. Is marketing content aligned to messaging? Is lead generation aligned to inside sales? Are the numbers of opportunities aligned with the number of sales people? Is training aligned with objectives? Is hiring aligned with revenue goals? Is the CRM system aligned with the needs of clients and management? These are just a few of the many moving parts of a successful sales organization.
To further illustrate the analogy, I created a sales “spine” to mimic a spinal misalignment chart.
SPINAL MISALIGNMENT CHART SALES MISALIGNMENT CHART
By diagnosing the areas of the sales spine that are not in alignment, we are able to make adjustments to the people, processes and technology involved to bring them back in sync to make the whole system work in harmony. As with the human spine, when all areas of the sales spine are working together at optimal levels, the sales organization, as a whole, is better able to achieve peak performance and reach its goals. So now if you ask me what Duke Advisory Group does, I may just reply, “Sales chiropractics; tell me where it hurts.”