Sales Transformation: the Next Re-engineering?

5 October 2011

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A recent conversation with a COO got us thinking. After meeting with a top CRM vendor our client said: “Did you hear the number of times and ways they referenced sales transformation? Since when did segmenting the business, re-designing the sales process, and enabling it with better tools become a major transformation? “Sales Transformation” has become the new “Re-engineering.”

Certainly, there’s a lot of sound and fury out there about the need to transform Sales. A sample of Google hits on “Sales Transformation” (there are over 51 million to choose from), shows that the term, as inspiring as it may be, has a myriad of connotations and is anything but a clear prescription. Perhaps, it’s time to speak more plainly about what qualifies as serious, radical change (aka transformation), as opposed to evolution.

In our experience, sales transformations rise out of major changes in business circumstances, such as:

  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Aggressive New Sales Strategies Emphasizing New Customer Segments and Markets
  • Major Channel Shifts
  • New Product Launches
  • Exits from Markets
  • Sun Setting Products and Services

If one, or more, of these factors is not changing your business circumstances, the label of “sales transformation” is inappropriate and overstates the case. If you are like most sales organizations you are working on “sales evolution” – building a pattern of replicable success and discipline at four critical capabilities:

  • Identifying and targeting the most profitable, best fitting revenue opportunities
  • Covering opportunities with the right number and types of sellers (direct, indirect, inside, etc…)
  • Selling to prospects the way they want to buy
  • Supporting the sales force with the right tools and resources to increase selling time and productivity
  • …and the organization needs to master these before pursuing a transformation.

Remember, there’s a reason why re-engineering projects had a success rate of only 20%.

About the Author
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Tom Knight

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