Steve Gielda of Ignite Selling sits down with Selling Power’s Gerhard Gschwandtner and discusses how to effectively align your corporate strategy with your sales strategy.

Gerhard Gschwandtner: Hi, my name is Gerhard Gshwandter and welcome to Selling Power TV. Today we have the great pleasure of meeting with Steve Gielda who is founder and CEO of Ignite Selling. Hi Steve.

Steve Gielda: Thanks for having me.

Gerhard Gschwandtner: Tell me about the alignment between the corporate strategy and the sales strategy. Is it always 100 percent?

Steve Gielda: You know what, it’s actually very unclear. We conducted a survey recently with sales managers and sales representatives. 50 percent of them stated the fact that they really are unclear about what the sales strategy is. This is a real problem because if in fact, they don’t understand what they’re supposed to be doing when that strategy is implemented, the reality of it is it just doesn’t get done. What that really causes is a lot of concern about is the strategy, the right strategy?



Gerhard Gschwandtner: So what should be done about it?

Steve Gielda: You know what? I think that when organizations have a real clear understanding between what the sales goals are, what are the strategies that need to be executed to achieve those sales goals and what the critical on-the-job behaviors that your team needs to be proficient in to execute those strategies. You start having a little bit better alignment and the unfortunate reality is if you ask most organizations today, what is your sales strategy? What they actually start giving you are sales behaviors. They’ll start saying a strategy is to have our salespeople call at the c-level. That’s not necessarily a strategy because when we sit back and we ask, should they do that with every account? Well, no, no, not everybody. Well, which accounts is it most relevant to be selling at that higher level? Maybe, the strategy is for us to go after certain accounts that are using our competitive equipment or are offering competitive solution spending greater than a million dollars.

Gerhard Gschwandtner: So is there a way for sales organizations to do sort of a strategy, a comprehension audit or something? What should be done about it?

Steve Gielda: I love that term: a comprehension audit. I think that phrase is probably true because I think if they were to sit back and just ask the question, what is your responsibility towards this strategy? Most sales managers and sales representatives would probably say, “I don’t really know”. I think doing that comprehensive audit and asking “do you really comprehend what it means?”. The answer will probably tell a lot. I think beyond that, what we really need to do is to make sure that we have a real clear understanding of what that strategy is, but also what should that sales rep and what should that sales manager be doing on-the-job in order to be executing that strategy.

Gerhard Gschwandtner: So how is Ignite Selling and going to help?

Steve Gielda: I appreciate you asking the question. You know, Ignite Selling offers something we call a learning alignment meeting or a learning alignment process. This is a process where we get the sales and marketing leaders together and we do this for the sole purpose of aligning sales goals to sales strategies to on-the-job behaviors. When we get people together in a meeting like this, we often know what the sales goals are, but what we don’t have is clarity around the strategy, so we usually spend a good hour to an hour and a half really focusing on what are the strategies that we need to execute in order to achieve those sales goals. Once we understand what those strategies are, we then help the client identify what are the critical on-the-job behaviors by sales role that we need to be proficient in to execute that strategy. What that really does is brings that clarity, that alignment and that comprehension you talked about into alignment so that we know exactly what we need to be doing. Sometimes people wonder, why am I going to training? And in many cases it’s well because “today’s a Wednesday and it’s 9:00 AM and you need to be here”, but if we provide them with this learning alignment process, we can actually say, “You know, Gerhard, you’re here today for this training because we have a strategy that we’re trying to execute in the next 12 months and that’s: how do we go deeper and broader inside our existing accounts? How do we penetrate those accounts? So the training that we’re going to be providing you today provides us with those particular skills on how do we leverage our advocates to go deeper or how do we neutralize adversaries? So the training that we’re providing drives the strategy”. So by simply communicating the purpose for training actually brings that clarity around what am I supposed to be doing out in the field and how does what I’m supposed to be doing on the field clearly drive that strategy.

Gerhard Gschwandtner: That’s awesome. How can people learn more about Ignite Selling?

Steve Gielda: They can visit our website at, or feel free to give us a call at our phone number on the website.

Gerhard Gschwandtner: Awesome. Thank you, Steve.

Steve Gielda: Thanks for taking some time.