Strategic Planner Job Description
Strategic planners participate in the planning of business strategy for medium- and large-sized corporations. Strategic planners must be familiar with all aspects of their employer’s business, as part of their responsibility is presenting strategic recommendations to senior decision makers. Most medium-sized businesses and large corporations employ strategic planners, so it is possible to find employment within virtually every industry. Regardless of industry, strategic planners have to be experts in their industry in order to make strategic recommendations. Strategic planners work in a traditional office environment and usually wear business professional attire. They work regular office hours but may have to work late into the evening during their industry’s busy season.
The role of the strategic planner is a white-collar, entry-level position. After a few years of experience and proven success, one might be promoted to senior strategic planner, directing their own team. Most companies have a VP of strategic planning to oversee the strategy team. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for management analysts, which includes strategic planners, is set to rise 12 percent through 2026.
Strategic Planner Duties and Responsibilities
Crafting a solid business strategy involves many different tasks. Our analysis of job postings revealed the following as some of the core responsibilities of strategic planners:
Conduct Market Research
Strategic planners collaborate with market researchers to conduct market research as a part of forming business strategies. This often involves coming up with the strategy behind the data being collected, the collection method, and factors being analyzed.
Analyze Industry Trends
Strategic planners have to stay up-to-the-minute on the latest industry trends to know which strategies resonate with customers in their niche.
Conduct Financial Analysis
Strategic planners create and analyze financial and budget reports to make strategic recommendations based on the company’s financial health. This involves collaborating with financial analysts in larger corporations.
Analyze Sales Performance
Strategic planners keep their finger on the pulse of sales metrics and key performance indicators to see if their business strategies are effective. When the results aren’t what they expected, they are responsible for implementing adjustments.
Use Analysis to Create Business Strategies
Strategic planners use their analyses to design business strategies.
Present Proposed Business Strategies to Decision Makers
Finally, strategic planners present their business strategies to decision makers.
Strategic Planner Skills
Good public speakers, strategic planners are also strong self-learners with a passion for their industry. They have to be experts in their industry and on what their company offers. This includes understanding their company’s unique core values almost as well as the founders themselves. Strategic planners have to stay on top of industry trends, which often involves going to networking events and following industry publications. Strategic planners also need the following skills to get a job:
- Developing and implementing market research strategies within the market research team
- Creating and analyzing financial and budget reports to improve the company’s financial health
- Analyzing key sales performance indicators to help improve sales results
- Collaborating with other departments to work on overall business strategy
- Creating presentations and data visualizations to present proposed business strategies to decision makers
Strategic Planner Tools of the Trade
If you plan on becoming a strategic planner, you may want to familiarize yourself with the following software:
- Spreadsheet software – used to conduct financial analyses and crunch sales numbers, creating financial and budget reports
- Presentation creation software – used to create the business strategy presentations given to decision makers
Strategic Planner Education and Training
Strategic planners have to have a bachelor’s degree to find employment. They major in subjects such as business, finance, marketing, or business communication. Their coursework includes financial forecasting, organizational communication, human resources, statistics, and the principles of marketing. The specific company knowledge required for this position comes through on-the-job training.
Strategic Planner Salary
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for strategic planners is $73,456. Those at the high end of the scale make $105,000, while those on the low end of the scale make $50,000.
Strategic Planner Resources
The following is a list of resources is for those looking to find fulfillment as a strategic planner:
The Association for Strategic Planning – The Association for Strategic Planning was founded in 1999 and has grown to have dozens of chapters throughout the country. It hosts regular local chapter meetings and an annual expo that is held in a different major city each year. The ASP offers certifications that are trusted by nearly everyone in the industry. Its Strategic Planning Professional certification has two distinct levels.
Stratechery – Written by Ben Thompson, this blog covers strategic planning in the media and technology industries. It has gained praise from the New York Times, and it boasts subscribers in more than 85 countries. It is updated at least three times a week with free content and also has an accompanying podcast and member forum.
10 Steps to Successful Strategic Planning – The 10 steps outlined in this book are based on case studies of the strategic planning behind some of the world’s most successful companies. It has worksheets and exercises to help strategic planners grasp the material.
Strategic Planning: An Interactive Process for Leaders – This book presents leadership as a hands-on, interactive process. It has great information about creating company culture, getting employees on board with strategy, and holding oneself accountable when things go sour.
Strategic Planning: As Simple as A,B,C – Written by a retired colonel, this book approaches strategic planning from a military angle. It is a perfect read for current and aspiring strategic planners.
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