You may have heard of Salesforce. It was a little tech start-up that launched on April 12, 1991 and now has 30,000 employees globally and more than $17 billion in revenues as of Q4 2020. Its founder, Marc Benioff, said, “While a company is growing fast, there is nothing more important than constant communication and complete alignment. We’ve been able to achieve both with the help of a secret management process that I developed a number of years ago.”
The process Benioff is referring to is V2MOM. It combines branding, strategy, and measurement in a short, concise format. I’ve used it many times in advising start-ups. What I love about V2MOM is its power and simplicity — and if it’s good enough for Marc Benioff, it’s good enough for the rest of us.
V2MOM’s five points inform your market focus, the customers you seek, and those you don’t. They paint a picture of the world you hope to create. They stipulate the agreed-upon norms. Let’s break down V2MOM and see what it’s made of.
Vision makes the future resonate. It clarifies what a mission accomplished looks like and how you hope the world changes. It defines your future. For example, embrace a digitally connected go-to-customer strategy and deliver meaningful experience to buyers.
Values identify core beliefs and express the primary truth of your aspirational culture. They vitalize the organization as a rallying cry and make critical decisions ten times easier. Here are some examples:
Direct: Journey aware (clearly defined cross-functional roles and responsibilities along customer journey)
Expect: Engagement-driven (it is critical to engage with your customers)
Inspire: Personalized (tailored approach based on evolving needs)
According to Trailhead, “The very first V2MOM at Salesforce included values like ‘world class organization,’ ‘time to market,’ and ‘usability.’ Now, our business Values includes words like ‘trust,’ ‘customer success,’ and ‘innovation.’”
Methods are the “how,” and are what build your path. What actions must you take to achieve your vision?
Obstacles are the anticipated risks. Imagining your start-up journey as a tall mountain with slippery slopes, you know you need to prepare for the unexpected. Ask: What will make your journey harder, and what stands in the way of your company’s success?
Metrics are how you will track results and measure the outcome of your methods. These are specific and are oftentimes number-driven.
You may be wondering: What about my mission statement? While there’s some debate about this, a great mission statement runs in step with your “why.” A mission statement is an inward- and outward-facing declaration that clarifies what you do, for whom, and why. For one example, consider Jebbit, a young company that is the first data-SaaS platform and a model of how to grow a start-up. They were recognized by CNBC as one of the top 25 most promising companies in the world, and both founders were on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. Working with them, I was struck not only by their ambition but their insatiable and humble desire to learn.
Here’s their mission statement: Our mission is to make every experience assumption free by asking people explicitly and directly about their interests, motivations, and preferences.
For most start-up founders, branding is a daunting challenge — like a vast open sea where the waves rise and fall without the sailor having any bearing on which direction they are going. But there are no right answers. There are only true answers.