Jim Peduto

Business leaders everywhere are increasingly frustrated by their sales organizations. The reasons behind their sentiment can be found in our 420 million data points on sales performance. The pace of change is accelerating, margins are under pressure, sales costs are increasing, customers are demanding more from salespeople and selling is harder than ever. Tinkering around the edges no longer works.

The businesses gaining market share, lowering the cost of sales, and prospering have one thing in common — they have transformed their sales organizations. What is sales transformation? It is a systemic and permanent change in an organization’s selling capability that aligns the sales organization with the modern buyer in a way that produces superior results.

Here are the five steps that industry-leading companies have used to successfully transform their sales organizations.

Assess Sales Force Capabilities And Infrastructure

Physicians use diagnostic tests before recommending treatment. Similarly, leadership should analyze their sales organization and structure before acting. A sales force assessment provides data-driven insight into which sellers should be in which roles, where there are gaps, what type of training is required and the expected return on investment (ROI). The findings empower ownership to set realistic expectations for growth by understanding who should be in which role, whether they are capable of improvement, how much they can improve and the training required to achieve growth objectives.

Customized Blended Learning

The sales organizations that change behavior and produce superior results use a 40-40-20 blended learning model.

  • 40 percent is social learning that occurs through live group training such as interactive live webinars
  • 40 percent is on-the-job learning reinforced by effective coaching
  • 20 percent of learning is digital and self-paced

Sales Leadership Development

Leadership is the key to sales force transformation, which begins in the corner office. We also know that sales managers who coach effectively and spend half of their time doing so have salespeople who are 49 percent more effective than those reporting to managers with weak coaching skills.

The data reveals that most sales managers are weak and would benefit from training. Therefore, it is likely that sales management will benefit from participating in a development program that includes building capabilities in developmental coaching, pipeline management and ongoing reinforcement to drive performance.

Salesperson Coaching And Training

Successful sales transformations include a customized blended learning program that provides the selling skills needed to remain relevant in a hyper-competitive selling environment. The curriculum should be based on the evaluation findings with a focus on skills that will immediately increase sales, customer penetration and retention.

Measure Improvement

The best practice is to conduct a complete follow-up evaluation of the entire sales organization 12 months after the initial assessment. This reassessment will demonstrate how much each participant has improved, where opportunities remain and the current sales capability.

It has been said that “Transformation isn’t a future event, it’s a present-day activity.” Fast forward six months or even a year, what is likely to have changed? Has senior leadership made sales transformation a priority? Are they leading the charge? What are you doing to make it happen today?

Jim Peduto is the managing partner and the co-founder of the Knowledgeworx, LLC and is certified in Sales Force Effectiveness. Knowledgeworx is dedicated to working with business owners and CEOs who want to grow revenue and increase profitability. He can be reached at jim@knowledegeworx.com.