How to NOT execute your revenue strategy: Part 1

Welcome our guest thought leader: Tim Ohai is a leading growth consultant. He is the Founder and Principal of Kupu Solutions, having previously served as Global Director of Sales Effectiveness for Workday and other sales enablement roles at Shell Oil and Pennzoil. Connect with him here.

In conversation after conversation with senior revenue leaders, I keep hearing the same thing: “I’m not sure my team is executing our strategy.”

Now, factor in the research that Robert Kaplan and David Norton published in 2005: “… On average, 95% of a company’s employees are unaware of, or do not understand, its strategy.”

Is it possible, even 15+ years later, the 95% benchmark has not changed?

Based on what I am seeing and hearing, the answer is depressing. And it’s affecting the lifeblood of any revenue leader’s business.

Marketing campaigns fail to deliver against their promises. Sales initiatives stumble to even launch properly. And, per Dr. Howard Dover of the University of Texas, the massive amounts of technology spend over the last few years have not improved the effectiveness of our sellers. The revenue strategy is not coming to life.

It’s just as frustrating on the buyer’s side of the table. Remember, 95% of those people are also struggling to understand their own business strategy. They have their own failed initiatives, technology waste, and a surge of quiet quitting that is affecting every decision-making experience.

I would go so far as to propose that a major reason that 40% of deals end in no decision (Challenger, Inc.) is rooted in a lack of understanding the company strategy.

Read that last sentence again.

I see a fundamental lack of strategic understanding that is causing almost half of all qualified sales cycles to end with literally no decision being made. People are making decisions — or not making decisions — that do not align with the strategic outcomes of the organization. Somehow, they have either created their own definitions of what the strategy is, or they have bogged down all decision-making with their lack of clarity and confusion. Mix these two dynamics together (especially in complex sales cycles) and the end result is simply chaotic.

Furthermore, if we add in the potential deals that never get qualified and the deals with the customer regretting their final choice … well, the 40% number of lost opportunities starts to look small.


In the next four posts, I am going to walk through a model that challenges the entire mindset about how we both execute our revenue strategies and help our customers navigate their own complexity. This model will help you, as a revenue leader:

  1. Diagnose and pinpoint where your own execution is breaking down.
  2. Generate quick successes to unblock your execution.
  3. Tailor your value proposition for your customers based on what will help them most.

And if you and your team can do that, imagine how much of that 40% benchmark will shrink.