Perhaps you recall the Seinfeld episode "Little Kicks" in which Elaine Benes dances at a party in a fashion George describes as a "full bodied dry heave set to music." To be sure, what Elaine lacked wasn't just a well orchestrated set of movements and perfect timing, but timing certainly compounded her general lack of ability. Which brings me to sales transformation.
Perhaps you've read our white paper on Sales Transformation and are considering a project for your organization. Or possibly, you're looking to improve results and sales transformation is one of several possible approaches you're evaluating to achieve this end.
Maybe you're simply curious about a term that is fast becoming one of the most talked about initiatives in business. Whatever the stage of your interest, you can quickly see that achieving trusted advisor status with your customers, and the corresponding impact on revenue and margins, involves more moving parts than Elaine's famed "little kicks" dance move.
Truly Successful Sales Transformation
Successful sales transformation isn't simply a training class, an improved CRM solution, a new comp plan or some updated set of sales tools and presentations. In fact, transforming your customer engagements may require all these things and more. And because of this, sequencing and choreographing your project can be the difference between Elaine's random movements and a Baryshnikov masterpiece.
So what is the appropriate order and how do you ensure your efforts produce the desired result? For starters, consider what it is that you are trying to transform. Results? Of course. Customer perceptions? Absolutely. But these things change ONLY AFTER you transform the selling behavior of your people.
Given that transforming behavior is the fundamental objective of your project, it only makes sense that the first order of business will be to define, clearly and completely, the desired behavior model for your sales team. This includes everything from how they should prospect for new opportunities to the manner in which they should present your solutions and address customer objections. It also extends to your sales managers and senior leaders and includes the methodology by which they will coach members of your team.
Finally, this model must define the metrics that can be used to measure behavioral progress prior to the production of business results so that systems and reporting can be properly aligned.
Measuring Behavioral Progress
Absent a clear understanding of what you want people to do (process), how you want them to execute (methodology), and how you will track the degree to which they're executing effectively (reporting and metrics), it's extraordinarily difficult to make effective decisions about the other elements of transformation - all of which must support this fundamental change.
Does this mean that transformation projects must be a linear progression whereby each single step is completed before another can begin? Absolutely not. Your transformation projects are akin to independent parts of a single body in motion.
Effective choreography will engage people responsible for each element early and continually throughout the project and sequence their activities for maximum impact and efficiency. Ongoing communication among the individual project owners is critical to keeping the project on track and properly coordinated.
By laying a proper foundation and defining your ideal behavior model while investigating alternatives for CRM, compensation, analytics, etc., you can ensure your project flows like a Baryshnikov ballet and delivers maximum results with tremendous efficiency.
Bob Sanders has more than 25 years experience in sales, sales management, and marketing. Bob has served as President and CEO of AXIOM Sales Force Development since 2006. His passion about sales behavior and coaching helps develop people into their best selves. Since Bob joined AXIOM as a partner in the fall of 1993, he's helped dozens of companies around the world generate hundreds of millions in additional revenue. Bob holds a degree in Marketing from Miami University. He has been a keynote speaker at numerous corporate events and industry conferences. He is a founding underwriter and frequent contributor to the Sales Management Association. He co-authored AXIOM's “Selling Sciences Program™” workbook and audio program, and is a contributor on "A Journey to Sales Transformation". When Bob is not advocating on behalf of buyers and sellers worldwide, he is an avid cyclist, father, and husband.