10 Nov 2010

Harvard Business School Introduces Program To Help Leaders Drive More Profitable Growth

Program focuses on enhancing company performance by recognizing sales execution as a strategic asset

BOSTON—Harvard Business School (HBS) announced a new Executive Education program, Aligning Strategy and Sales, designed to accelerate participants' ability to implement strategies for profitable growth by coordinating selling behaviors with strategic objectives. The program is offered as economies emerge from the downturn and seek to optimize sales channels for a competitive advantage.

In Aligning Strategy and Sales, participants will examine the relationship between business strategy and field go-to-market activities, with a goal of tailoring sales initiatives to be in stride with companywide values and customer requirements. Frank Cespedes, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, will lead the program, scheduled to take place on the HBS campus in January 2011.

"A key to meeting growth potential is eliminating the gulf between big-picture business strategy and the day-to-day of field implementation," said Professor Cespedes. "Much of strategy is arguably just talk until you actually implement it with customers. In many companies, the go-to-market system and sales channels are the single most important element of strategy implementation and increasingly among the most expensive. For example, a recent study indicates that while production efficiencies have enabled an average S&P 500 company to reduce cost of goods sold by about 250 basis points over the past decade, SG&A (selling, general and administrative costs) as a percentage of revenue has not declined. "

The program curriculum will address such challenges as balancing short-term sales trends with more long-term strategy trends, pricing, channel management, sales organization, compensation, and performance management.

"As we emerge from a major global recession and financial shock, it would be naïve to assume business-as-usual. All companies-small, midsized, and large global corporations; public and private-need to rethink their fundamentals," said Cespedes. "If sales is an important part of your strategy implementation, being able to optimize your channels and field behavior is key to profitable growth and effective leadership."

The program will focus on enhancing performance for participants' companies by highlighting sales execution as a strategic asset. Through a combination of classroom sessions, small-group work, case study discussions, feedback from peers, and action-planning workshops, executive participants from various functions will explore how to set a strategic foundation for sales success-specific to their company's needs.

For more information, please contact:
Jim Aisner, jaisner@hbs.edu, +1 617-495-6157

Program Details:
Aligning Strategy and Sales will run from January 16-21, 2011, and will take place at the HBS Campus. Please visit www.exed.hbs.edu/programs/align for complete curriculum details and to apply.

Aligning Strategy and Sales
(January 16-21, 2011, HBS Campus)


    Frank V. Cespedes, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration. Member of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit; and faculty chair of "Aligning Strategy and Sales."

    David J. Collis, Thomas Henry Carroll Ford Foundation Adjunct Professor of Business Administration in the Strategy Unit.

    John T. Gourville, Albert J. Weatherhead, Jr. Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit.

    Linda A. Hill, Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration. Faculty cochair of the HBS Leadership Initiative; member of the Organizational Behavior Unit; and faculty chair of the "High Potentials Leadership Program" and "Leadership Reflections and Insights."

    Das Narayandas, James J. Hill Professor of Business Administration. Member of the Marketing Unit; and faculty chair of the "Program for Leadership Development" and faculty cochair of "Building Client Management Capabilities in Professional Service Firms."

    Robert L. Simons, Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration. Member of the Accounting and Management Unit.

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.