Why does everyone talk about sales transformation, but few experience it? Welcome back to our series on Considerations for Your Next Sales Transformation. Previously we talked about what transformation is and its various types. In part 2, we are going to discuss why you often hear so much talk about transformation, but rarely see it happen. Revisiting our home renovation example from Part 1, my wife and I often talk a lot about “doing” certain things to the house. Whether it be painting the front shutters and front door or renovating the basement to add an extra guest room and bathroom, in the end it’s all talk and a lot of insincere excitement.
Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes things do get done. But more often than not, the lack of time, true motivation and sticker shock cause us to agree that the project is something we can do eventually, which we all know means never.
Sales transformation isn’t much different; a topic that is frequently over hyped and under delivered on. Most often this takes the form of lengthy PowerPoint presentations delivered by charismatic leaders at sales kickoff events. Typically these outline all of the great things that are going to take place as a result of the transformation. However, as a former customer of ours once said, “You can’t PowerPoint your way to transformation.”
Is technology the answer?
Another common misperception is that simply implementing new technology will drive a transformation, but this also frequently falls short. Authentic transformation requires a clear vision of where the organization is going, leadership buy-in and communication of the new direction. There is no room for hot air when it comes to real transformation as it necessitates acceptance, dedication and hard work from all levels of the organization in order to happen successfully.
Aligning capabilities with the new way of doing business
Sales transformation also requires the development of new organizational capabilities and habits that are aligned with the new way of doing business. This means investing in new customer engagement processes, new sales team capabilities, new ways of managing the business and new coaching capabilities. However, most organizations want to reap the rewards of transformation without going through the difficult work of establishing a compelling vision and then driving the execution of that vision through new business capabilities.
Eating habits and activity
It’s like the misperception of what it really takes to lose weight and get into better shape. Many people’s end goal is measured by a numerical loss in weight or a certain ideal change in their body shape; and to them that would be a successful transformation. But success in this transformation requires:
- A change in eating habits
- A change in activity
Two very tough changes to make and often the desired results are not immediately visible in each person’s own defined transformation. Consequently, it’s important to establish incremental goals that show you are on track and leading indicators which assure that you are moving in the right direction. Similarly with your sales transformation, have a desired overall transformation goal, but remember that it will take time, hard work and dedication to get there.
Transformation is difficult so stay the course
If you recall our “remodel” client example from the previous blog, they carved out a new business unit to focus on enterprise-wide deals thus generating the need to redefine roles and implement an account planning process. In order to accomplish this, they had to adopt new habits around account strategy and execution as well as new coaching approaches to support the change. As checkpoints, they had bimonthly meetings with their managers to review and present their account plan and strategy to display their adoption of the new behaviors.
Transformation is a tough process that will take time and a lot of effort to complete successfully. Establish your own incremental goals that will help ensure you and your team that you’re on the right path to successful transformation. Is your team ready to go down that path? We tackle that question next!
For more in the blog series about your next sales transformation:
- Part 1: What is Transformation?
- Why Does Everyone Talk About Sales Transformation, but Few Experience It?
- Part 3: Is your sales team ready?
- Part 4: Who will make it to the new state?
- Part 5: How do sales leaders make the transformation happen?