Paystand is on a mission to create a more open financial system, starting with B2B payments. Using blockchain and cloud technology, Paystand pioneered Payments-as-a-Service to digitize and automate the entire cash lifecycle. Their software makes it possible to digitize receivables, automate processing, reduce time-to-cash, eliminate transaction fees, and enable new revenue.
After experiencing rapid growth with more on the way, Paystand saw this as an opportunity to elevate their current Strategic Planning process, and ensure teams were aligned on priorities and goals for the new year.
As is the case for many companies, Paystand's planning process was incredibly manual.
With team members working out of static quarterly memos, disparate Google Sheets, and siloed tools, Paystand's Chief of Staff was spending countless hours corralling updates and insights needed to track the execution of the company's strategy.
Further, without a clear, consistent process, Paystand had a disconnect between objectives across the organization, leading to scattered action items and misalignment on cross-departmental objectives.
To align the team and manage the chaos that high growth companies experience, Paystand and Elate partnered together to:
- Establish a Clear, Agreed Upon Operating Rhythm
- Standardize the Strategic Planning Process
- Build Consistent & Connected Objectives
- Unify & Align Key Metrics
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to Strategic Planning. While every company is unique, the planning process should be reflective of the organization’s stage and culture.
Elate and Paystand began by first setting a foundation for what success would look like in revamping the planning framework across the organization. Tailored to align with the culture of the company, the project plan entailed the following steps to ensure buy-in and alignment from the start:
- Audit & Action Plan
- Strategic Plan Migration
- Customized Playbook
Paystand wanted to reimagine their ideal Strategic Planning process and better align the team. To do this, Elate conducted an audit of Paystand’s current Strategic Plan. A Strategic Plan audit, often done on an annual or semi-annual basis, helped Paystand identify trends and themes, highlight areas that were going well, and focus on areas of opportunity.
Paystand wanted to validate where they were going, and how they could realign to ensure their plan was keeping up with the speed of change.
After finishing the audit of Paystand’s current plan and process, Elate presented the team with an Action Plan. This plan celebrated the wins to ensure those habits continued, and focused on detailed action items to begin targeting the areas of opportunity.
The main priority areas that drove Paystand’s action plan were targeted around the following outcomes:
- Increase Alignment through Shared Language
- Increase Adoption by Standardizing the Process
- Increase Efficiency by Automating Data Sources
While the audit included an Action Plan for the entire project, it also focused on individual Action Plans for each department. The department Action Plans were key to ensure that each team:
- Established a Shared Language
- Connected to the High-Level Strategy
- Defined Ownership for Each Objective
- Included Measurable Outcomes
After creating the connection between shared objectives and alignment across teams, Elate migrated Paystand’s Strategic Plan into the platform to bring their framework to life. Not only did this create a unified view of their strategy, but in bringing the plan into Elate, Paystand was able to align over 100 KPIs to measure the outcomes of key initiatives.
Moving Paystand's Strategic Plan into Elate was essential in building interconnectivity, and increasing visibility for the leadership team that drove proactive decision making.
Before putting the plan in motion, it was incredibly important to set the foundation and gain buy-in across the team. This is oftentimes an overlooked step, causing companies to introduce a process without sharing why it matters. When this happens, individuals miss the connection between their work and the company strategy, leading to a plan that is focused on urgent projects vs. important priorities.
Elate and Paystand were intentional about building a playbook that was custom to their team. The playbook provided visibility to employees on Paystand’s framework, process, rituals, and timelines. It also included information on how to create strong OKRs with measurable outcomes.
While a playbook is a living document for any employee to reference, many sections were used during the planning phase to ensure alignment and guide the 2023 offsite facilitation. This playbook will continue to evolve as Paystand’s process evolves, providing shared language and increasing alignment every step of the way.
In order to establish a common language and standardize the process, Elate and Paystand were laser-focused on setting the foundation. Once they had alignment across the board, the plan was ready to be set in motion and move towards execution.
Elate and Paystand emphasized meeting with each department and their respective team members to introduce Elate, share how the platform aligns with their Strategic Planning process, and gain agreements on next steps.
For Paystand, many of their metrics had limited visibility, causing misalignment across the team. In addition, many objectives were being measured by outputs (e.g. tasks) rather than outcomes. Paystand’s team members determined the source of truth for each data set, driving the team to gain agreement on the common language and quarterly milestones.
Many of the teams, including Marketing, Revenue, and Customer Success, integrated with HubSpot and Google Sheets to automate the data input and reduce duplicative efforts. While they were tracking metrics in these tools today, they were not visible cross-functionally. Making connections to these data sources within Elate streamlined the process and allowed the team to view, share, and track metrics cross-functionally.
Paystand and Elate focused on elevating the planning process, and in turn, drove continued business transformation across the organization. With a focus on setting the foundation to drive alignment, the team was able to spend less time manually building the bridge between long-term vision and tactical execution, and more time proactively executing the plan. Their results included:
Executive alignment is so much more than creating buy-in across the organization. It is about providing clarity around why Strategic Planning matters. By spending time with the Executive Team and building a customized playbook, Paystand was able to provide a framework for success, and ultimately give employees autonomy through clarity. In doing this, Paystand continues to have 100% Executive engagement and alignment around priority areas quarter after quarter, allowing the team to focus on what matters most.
Moving from silos to synergy was critical to the success of Paystand’s Strategic Plan. They needed to move away from objectives living in siloed memos, and metrics scattered throughout different sources.
Along with that, Paystand’s Chief of Staff needed to spend less time corralling objectives, tracking down updates, and manually tying it together.
Elate's Plan Builder allowed Paystand to vertically align the Executive Team’s objectives to Departmental objectives, and make cross-functional connections across each team. Within the first quarter, Paystand had built relationships across 91% of their objectives in the platform, ensuring all team members were aligned on how their work supports each other and ties into the bigger picture.
Paystand needed a central source of truth to bring information together and drive proactive decision making. With a focus on simplifying status updates, Paystand made it easy for objective owners to provide updates on a bi-weekly basis.
Elate’s integrations with Hubspot, Google Sheets, and Slack enabled the Paystand team to spend less time duplicating efforts, and more time focused on execution.
In just 3 months, the Paystand team increased their objective status updates by 750%. This sizable increase in engagement provided visibility and proactive insights across the team, and ultimately allowed Paystand to better forecast their Strategic Plan.
Are you interested in learning more about how today’s leading companies are leveraging their Strategic Planning process as a competitive edge?
Unlike Strategic Planning of the past, today’s Strategy and Operations leaders are evolving to meet the needs of their company. Rather than a static, manual process that feels more like checking a box, Elate can help evolve Strategic Planning to be a dynamic, real-time process that serves as a competitive advantage.
Our team would love to spend some time understanding what Strategic Planning looks like for your company today, and how we can help take it to the next level. Reach out to a member of our team, and we’ll be in touch today to schedule time to share how Elate can help make Strategic Planning a competitive edge.