What is Sales Transformation?
Sales transformation is the alignment of every sales channel with strategies for driving growth. We like to call those strategies for driving growth the "big ideas." Organizations typically come up with significant shifts in focus that can create big growth but also require a big change in sales focus, in sales behavior, and in sales skill. A simple way to think of sales transformation is moving from defining what is going to change to achieve growth to figuring out how to make the change stick.
For example, if the "big idea" is a strategic new product, the change may be all about mastering knowledge to sell the new product. However in other organizations, the new product or solution may require new selling skills for selling at a more executive level or a more solutions-oriented approach.
Another common sales transformation is a shift from selling individual products to selling an integrated solution, where different offerings and services come together to solve a broader set of customer business problems. In most cases, this kind of transformation will involve learning completely new sales behaviors in terms of what reps are selling and to who reps are selling. This change requires a new set of knowledge around the customer's world and the organization's capabilities as well as new skills to have a very different sales conversation with broader sets of customer stakeholders.
You know you've achieved sales transformation when there is a change in behavior, change in skill, and impact on sales results are both measurable and sustainable. But what do the phases of sales transformation look like?
The 4 Phases of Strategy Implementation
Sales Transformation equals "Strategy Implementation." In our experience, the 4 phases of a successful sales transformation are mapped out below:
Sales transformation begins with an assessment and planning process. A transformation plan is created through in-person workshops and virtual collaboration with executive stakeholders, resulting in buy-in and commitment to a well-defined sales change program.
Sales transformation requires packaging useful sales content, tools and training into a kit or playbook that shows salespeople how to transform. For example, it’s easy to tell a sales organization that the growth strategy requires selling integrated solutions or moving into a new market segment. But salespeople need the practical“how to”. That’s where a sales playbook can remove some of the mystery and give salespeople the roadmap. Four categories of sales playbooks are typically developed in collaboration with"thought leaders" and subject matter experts across the organization:
Strategy: Where to go
Messaging: What to say
Process: What to do
Leadership: How to Coach
Launching playbooks through sales change events and training sessions is critical to building early momentum in the field. A great launch with senior leadership fully engaged will show the sales team that the initiative is mission critical and probably not optional. The best launch events give sellers and managers the opportunity to apply the new strategy through individual exercises, role plays and group discussion. You’ll know it was a successful launch if the sales team immediately applies what they learned to live opportunities and real accounts over the next 30 to 60 days. If application doesn’t begin immediately, then it was just a nice event that probably won’t lead to the early wins needed to build sustainable change.
Sales transformation programs are designed with the end in mind. Continuous enablement through, coaching, training, and certification activities ensure that new strategies, processes, and messaging are fully operationalized and targeted outcomes are achieved.