How Business Growth Strategy and Tactics Align to Accelerate Revenue

Highlights

  • A business growth strategy defines what the company aspires to achieve. It sets the destination. Tactics define how to achieve the strategy. They find the best route to get there.
  • Strategy is focused on doing the right things. Tactics are focused on doing those things right.
  • Strategy is all about planning and positioning. Tactics are all about relentless execution.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

Business Growth Strategy Versus Growth Tactics

First, let me explain why the above heading is incorrect. It's titled "growth strategy versus tactics" because that's the phrase most used by my clients. This post will share why strategy and tactics are synergistic, not opposing, and how the two can be aligned to achieve significant revenue growth.

Business Growth Strategy

A business growth strategy defines a planned approach to achieve a growth objective. Most often that means a deliberate approach to increase market share as measured by an increase in customers and revenues.

There are many ways to increase revenues but there are also constraints such as time and budget. A growth or revenue strategy must identify the shortest route with the biggest financial uplift.

The best business growth strategies are built on core competencies and define routes to create or extend differentiation. It is essential to define competitive advantage in specific and measurable terms. That requires some customer intelligence to know why customers will choose your solutions and to position the brand as unique relative to competitors.

"Competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value."
— Business strategy guru Michael Porter

Good business strategies demonstrate clear purpose, priorities and intent. They define the most important success metrics, and how those metrics roll-up from the bottom to top of the company. However, that requires identifying the optimal programs that yield the fastest and biggest impact. Which brings us to tactics.

Business Growth Tactics

Tactics are the actions that produce the results to achieve the strategy. The word "tactic" comes from the Ancient Greek word of "taktikos," which essentially means "the art of ordering or arranging."

That's why tactics are organized in a revenue growth plan that drives execution with sequence, progress and measurement. They are also constrained by budget so they must make efficient use of available resources, including time, money and people.

Revenue strategies prescribe overarching objectives that require tenacity and should not be easily or quickly altered. On the other hand, tactics are small, flexible goals and may need adjustments to produce the individual contributions that sum to the intended strategic result.

Sometimes tactics are market or competitor activated. They may be triggered or modified based on an event or sometimes based on the absence of an event.

Strategy and Tactics

Where revenue strategy is about analysis, thinking and planning, tactics are all about action. Unlike a revenue strategy, a tactic makes few or no assumptions about the future and instead executes based on the current situation.

A good tactic has a clear purpose, objective goal and direct alignment with the strategy. It has finite time frame, assigned owner and agreed upon measurement milestones and metrics. It may have its own budget or be part of a broader budget.

Once defined, tactics are all about relentless execution. As Jack Welch says, "In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell."

Some Growth Strategy Examples

Business growth strategies are not without their challenges so some examples might be helpful.

One of the most common business strategies is to increase market share. However, this is often more of a loosely defined or aspirational goal than a substantiated business strategy.

Some more definitive business growth strategy examples include:

  • The company will double its innovation budget and resources to expand product differentiation and take 10 percent market share from competitors within 24 months, or
  • The company will adopt a market development strategy that pursues an adjacent market with an exclusive distribution channel to grow customer acquisitions 15 percent by next year, or
  • The company will improve sales and marketing effectiveness to become the market share leader in the small and midsize industrial sector by end of year, or
  • The company will apply a customer experience management program to increase the customer retention rate by eight percent this year

Some examples of supporting tactics might include brand development, corporate alliances, online channels, partner channels, joint ventures, company acquisitions, digital marketing, demand generation programs, sale methodologies or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology enablement.

There's a virtually unlimited number of tactics available. And that's the challenge. Tactics are all about making smart choices. They will either drive, delay or deviate the growth strategy through action. To be successful, each tactic must deliver a contribution that gets the company closer to the strategic goal in the shortest time. If a tactic is not directly aligned to the strategy, it is probably a distraction.

Think Strategically, Act Tactically

A business growth strategy defines where you are going. Tactics define how to get there.

Without a clear and definitive business strategy, company operations are aimless, inefficient and disjointed. It's unclear if the company is making real progress toward the most important goals.

Without effective tactics, the revenue strategy is little more than wishful thinking.

Strategy vs Tactics

Business growth does not occur by happenstance. It is the result of a strategy supported by tactical execution.

Growth Strategy without Tactics, or Tactics without Strategy

As I started with this post, strategy and tactics must work in tandem to maximize revenue growth. Business strategy without tactics creates lofty goals without action. Tactics without strategy creates an aimless execution and disorder. The two work together as means to an end.

Chinse military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu recognized this symbiotic relationship two and a half millennia ago when he advised, "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat."

See how business strategy and business tactics align to accelerate and maximize company revenue growth.

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