The Role of Sales Leadership in Leading Sales Force Change
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The Role of Sales Leadership in Leading Sales Force Change

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Change Leadership involves 4 key factors: ...

Change Leadership involves 4 key factors:
1. Developing the vision
2. Making the connection between the vision, strategy, critical business initiatives and people’s roles
3. Changing the conversation at all levels to motivate and inspect the change
4. Applying consistent discipline in modeling and reinforcing

The role of leaders in the organization is to:
1. Model the behaviors expected of the teams
2. Actively verify the consistency and frequency of adoption of the new behaviors
3. Provide feedback to peers and direct reports about driving adoption
4. Assess adoption, consistency of application, quality of application and impact to the business
5. Integrate these conversations into the business so they become habits

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  • In Richardson’s 30 years of work with industry-leading sales forces, we have seen a broad range of how organizations address strategic account management. At one extreme is a strategic account management function that is separate from the more opportunistic sales force. Within this standalone function, account managers have a great deal of autonomy and are expected to be entrepreneurs in serving their clients. At the other extreme, we see sales forces that designate certain clients as “strategic” but barely change anything about their standard approach to such accounts except heightened opportunity pursuit. Between these two extremes, there is a great deal of variation within sales forces when it comes to strategic account management. Regardless of where on that spectrum you locate your own definition of “strategic account management,” there are six factors that affect performance. Three of those factors are environmental factors meaning that they are embedded within the organization itself. These three factors are listed across the top of the matrix: information/feedback, resources/tools, and rewards/incentives. The other three factors are found within the personnel who are account managers or members of the account team. These three factors are listed at the bottom of the matrix and they include: knowledge/skills, talent/innate capabilities, and motivations/preferences.In order to optimize your strategic account management with your most significant clients, you will need to periodically change one or more of these performance factors. Being able to envision, own, and drive that change in performance factors is the focus on my talk today.
  • Change leadership is the ability to 1) inspire people to move from a current state to a future state by creating urgency to change and 2) enable people to successfully own their piece of the change on a personal level.  Change leadership requires, on one hand, having a vision that inspires and creates urgency to change. On the other hand, it is about personal ownership for the change. The extent that employees feel personal ownership for the change must be objectively verified by us during the change process. During this workshop, we will discuss and use two frameworks. The Change Story Framework will help us to convey a consistent vision across Coname. The Leadership Discipline Framework will help us to verify the extent to which employees are taking personal ownership of the change. Side Note: Change leadership is different than change management. Change management is focused on “controlling” the process of change through methodologies, mechanisms, and metrics so that it does not get out of control. Change leadership is about inspiration and ownership. Do NOT get into a discussion about the difference between the two. This information is provided should you need it in response to a participant’s point or question on the definition of change leadership.
  • Many of you will be familiar with Kotter’s Model for organizational change. John Kotter is a business professor at Harvard’s Business School. He studied the success and failure rates of organizational change in large organizations. His finding was that approximately 70% of change efforts fail! These failures occur for a variety of reasons. He then studied the 30% of the change efforts that succeeded and found that the successful change initiatives followed a similar pattern. This pattern became the two-phase, seven-step process in the graphic.Phase 1 — Align (i.e., get your internal “ducks in a row” or “do your homework/preparation”).Step #1: Understand — Understand the need for change; create the business case for change.Step #2: Enlist — Enlist a core change team/build a coalition of like-minded leaders and stakeholders.Step #3: Envisage — Develop the vision and strategy to make the change a reality.Phase 2 — Engage (i.e., get your organization and diverse stakeholders ready to change and support them changing).Step #4: Motivate — Create a sense of urgency to change in the larger organization and among diverse stakeholders.Step #5: Communicate — Communicate the change to the larger organization and among diverse stakeholders.Step #6: Act — Get the diverse stakeholders to contribute to the change so that there is progress going toward the vision.Step #7: Consolidate — Get quick wins first, and then, cement the change in Coname’s culture.The focus of Leaders Leading Change is going to be a deeper dive on step 5, Communicate, and step 6, Act. We are going to spend time in today’s workshop communicating the vision for the change (step 5), as well as verifying that people are “getting it” as the change rolls out across the organization (step 6).
  • The Change Story Framework has four parts.Goals and Objectives:Goals — These are the long-term things that Coname wants to accomplish. In general, there are three goals common to every company: make money, save money, and manage risk. Objectives — Generally, there are a number of business objectives that, when accomplished together, contribute to the achievement of a goal. Objectives can be achieved in a year or less.Challenging Issues — The obstacles to achieving Coname’s objectives and, ultimately, the goal(s). Usually, challenging issues fall into five categories: competitive, market/client, financial, operational, and regulatory. Strategic Initiatives — These are the high-level responses to solve the challenging issues. Just like objectives flow from goals, initiatives flow from challenging issues.Roles and Responsibilities — This is what you are asking your sales managers to do differently in order to contribute to the strategic initiatives. You are setting expectations with them. This is also where you commit what you will do to support them in making their contributions (as in, “Here is how I can support you …”). The framework flows from the upper-left quadrant (Goals &Objectives) to the Challenging Issues quadrant and then from the Challenging Issues quadrant to the Strategic Initiatives quadrant before ending with the Roles and Responsibilities quadrant. This flow is simple and logical. Recall that we just talked about the importance of clarity and conciseness when communicating change. What we see over and over again is that sales executives and leaders are very comfortable discussing the first three boxes: Goals & Objectives, Challenging Issues, and Strategic Initiatives. They consistently forego connecting the strategic initiatives to what they are going to ask managers to do differently and how they are going to support the managers doing things differently (i.e., the Roles & Responsibilities).
  • The change is targeted at producing a certain result, and we measure for that result: increases in margins, increases in the number of qualified opportunities in the pipeline, number of new products sold, revenue growth, etc. All of these are valid metrics. After all, they are measuring the results we wanted from the change. They also all share a shortcoming: they are all lagging indicators.A lagging indicator measures the outcome or results of a change initiative.Lagging indicators are like trying to drive your car by looking in the rear-view mirror. That is NOT a great way to drive a car or your business.While important, lagging indicators do NOT give leaders like you the ability to assess the change as it is taking place. When you use lagging indicators, you only find out about the impact of the change after it is over. Because we want to be able to verify the extent, depth, and pace of change as it is taking place in order to make adjustments, we need to look at leading indicators instead.A leading indicator predicts or forecasts an outcome. If X behavior is happening, then Y is the probable outcome.Leading indicators provide you as leaders with ways to assess change as it is taking place — in real time.In the “fog” of uncertainty that surrounds change efforts, being able to verify what is going on in real time is invaluable to you.  In order to surface leading behavioral indicators that predict the depth of ownership for the change, we will need to ask Adoption Questions.
  • <>The Leadership Discipline Framework is how Adoption Questions should be used across the sales organization (or for those of you who have a separate strategic account management function across that organization). The goal is to leverage the organizational hierarchy in order to drive adoption. While authority is important, the focus of the framework is NOT on ordering people to do things differently, it is changing the dialogue at each level of the organization so that adoption flows from expectations rather than orders.Starting at the top of the graphic, sales executives need to be asking sales leaders good Adoption Questions to diagnose the extent that the change is occurring among the managers who report to that leader.Between sales leaders and sales managers is where Adoption Questions focus on how well the sales manager’s team is embracing and applying behaviors that contribute to the change. Sales leaders need to ask good Adoption Questions to diagnose the extent that the change is occurring among the manager’s direct reports.At the bottom of the graphic, sales managers are asking high-impact coaching questions to verify that the salesperson is embracing and applying behaviors that contribute to the change.The focus is NOT on evaluation or interrogation; it is about diagnosis.When sales executives are diligent about asking sales leaders Adoption Questions about the change, sales leaders become diligent about asking Adoption Questions of their sales managers. In turn, sales managers become more diligent in asking high-impact coaching questions with their salespeople. It becomes a virtuous cycle of verification and feedback. This cascade of accountability influences salespeople’s behaviors with their clients. When sales managers consistently ask salespeople different questions, salespeople begin to interact differently with their clients.
  • The change is targeted at producing a certain result, and we measure for that result: increases in margins, increases in the number of qualified opportunities in the pipeline, number of new products sold, revenue growth, etc. All of these are valid metrics. After all, they are measuring the results we wanted from the change. They also all share a shortcoming: they are all lagging indicators.A lagging indicator measures the outcome or results of a change initiative.Lagging indicators are like trying to drive your car by looking in the rear-view mirror. That is NOT a great way to drive a car or your business.While important, lagging indicators do NOT give leaders like you the ability to assess the change as it is taking place. When you use lagging indicators, you only find out about the impact of the change after it is over. Because we want to be able to verify the extent, depth, and pace of change as it is taking place in order to make adjustments, we need to look at leading indicators instead.A leading indicator predicts or forecasts an outcome. If X behavior is happening, then Y is the probable outcome.Leading indicators provide you as leaders with ways to assess change as it is taking place — in real time.In the “fog” of uncertainty that surrounds change efforts, being able to verify what is going on in real time is invaluable to you.  In order to surface leading behavioral indicators that predict the depth of ownership for the change, we will need to ask Adoption Questions.
  • Two questions tend to come up about asking Adoption Questions within the Leadership Discipline Framework. One of those questions is purely logistical. People always ask, “Should I be having meetings exclusively to monitor the change?” Our answer is an emphatic “NO!” You should not hold separate meetings or sessions with your direct reports to ask Adoption Questions. Instead, we have found that it is most effective to ask Adoption Questions about the change at Coname as part of already regularly scheduled meetings and contact points. For example, ask Adoption Questions at a bi-weekly management meeting or in a reoccurring one-on-one session with a direct report.The second most common question is about the connection between asking Adoption Questions and coaching. There is a connection between the two. If you ask adoption questions and get specific, high-quality examples of how a team is embracing the change with appropriate behaviors, you will want to positively reinforce this change by coaching with praise. This allows the coachee to celebrate the team’s accomplishments so far and rewards them with recognition.If you ask adoption questions and the response is poor, non-specific evidence, only one example, or excuses on why the team has not adopted behaviors that contribute to the change, you will need to engage in developmental coaching.The Adoption Questions enable you to diagnose the depth, breadth, and pace of the change in the organization. Coaching helps you to adjust based on the evidence you discover.
  • <>
  • During the course of our work with sales executives and leaders, three re-occurring lessons or themes continually surface.Change Leadership Cannot be Delegated — This may seem obvious until you think about all of the change going on in most organizations, only some of it planned change. It is extremely easy to become less and less visible, less and less engaged as a change effort takes months or even years. Executives and sales leaders, even those truly dedicated to the change, need to recognize the opportunity costs associated with change leadership. If they are going to “go wide and deep” on specific, critical change, they have to reduce their time and effort on other things in order to both champion the change and run the business at the same time. Lack of visible, engaged, and competent leadership of the change initiative is the number one reason that change efforts fail.Be Ruthless — Too many initiatives lead to no change. This principle was first described in the Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling, and we have found it to be true. Let me share a personal perspective from the Richardson 2015 operational excellence initiative that I described earlier. When we started this initiative, it had seven work streams because we wanted to tackle many areas of our business simultaneously. After months of debate and reflection, we came to realize that we needed to place our bets on three work streams in order to get anything of significance completed in a reasonable amount of time. Go deep with a focused set of initiatives rather than wide with too many initiatives.Objective Advice — Change always has a political component to it. Therefore, it is necessary for those leading change to have an objective “sounding board” for their concerns and to seek advice. Leading change requires changing ourselves and reflecting on our own behaviors. Whether this objective advice and guidance comes from an internal or external consulting group is not as relevant as the fact that leaders will need trusted advisors who can help them to guide the change effort.

The Role of Sales Leadership in Leading Sales Force Change Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Leaders Leading Change: Communication and Verification Presenter: Harry Dunklin, SVP, Sales Enablement Practice, Richardson
  • 2. A New Process? 2 No, it’s a big organizational change! SAMA has identified that one of the key barriers/obstacles to success in implementing a key account management process is failure to engage senior leaders.
  • 3. Strategic Account Management Matrix © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 3 EnvironmentalFactors Information and Feedback Resources and Tools Rewards and Incentives • Clear expectations • Measureable standards • Specific, timely feedback • Access to information • Meaningful data • Proper procedures • Easy to follow process • Easy to use tools • Adequate time • Expert support • Safe environment • Financial, non-financial rewards • Recognition, praise • Promotions • Lack of performance punishment • Presence of consequences IndividualFactors Knowledge and Skills Talent and Innate Capabilities Motivations and Preferences • Formal learning • Informal learning • Developmental rotations • E-learning • Mobile learning • Predictive competencies • Personality traits • Physical, emotional, or mental limits • Lifestyle constraints • Value attributed to the role or an aspect of it by the organization • Level of confidence • Sense of efficacy • Mood created by the workplace Based on the work of Dr. Thomas Gilbert.
  • 4. Change Management  Messaging to create awareness and urgency  Implementing processes, programs and directives  Following a plan to meet milestones of measurement and achievement  Engaging the entire workforce with “what to do and how to do it” Change Management/Change Leadership Change Leadership  Developing the vision  Making the connection between the vision, strategy, critical business initiatives and people’s roles  Changing the conversation at all levels to motivate and inspect the change  Applying consistent discipline in modeling and reinforcing 4
  • 5. Defining Change Leadership 5© Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com Change Leadership — The ability to (1) inspire people to move from a current state to a future state by creating urgency to change and (2) enable people to successfully own their piece of the change on a personal level. — John Kotter Professor at Harvard Business School and Author of Leading Change
  • 6. Kotter’s Model for Organizational Level Change © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 6 Build commitment with stakeholders with a two- phase, seven-step approach. Align Engage Based on the work of Dr. John Kotter. Graphic provided by Experience Point’s GlobalTech Experience Change Simulation.
  • 7. 70 1 2 Scary Statistics 70% of change projects do not achieve desired outcomes – in fact, 52% fail with no evidence of change and in many cases, long term damage to the organization. 7© Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com The number 1 reason change initiatives fail is lack of leadership leading the change through vision, actions, and engagement. The number 2 reason change initiatives fail is under communication. Kotter says that most organizations fail to communicate by a factor of 10.
  • 8. Change Leadership Leaders of change typically experience three levels of engagement before they are ready to affect change. The three levels are: • Envisioning the Change • Owning the Change • Initiating the Change © Richardson 2012 • www.richardson.com 8
  • 9. Communication: Envisioning the Change © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 9 Change Story Framework Explore Access Position Negotiate GOALS & OBJECTIVES Long-term and short-term results to achieve CHALLENGING ISSUES The obstacles to achieving the objectives and goals; challenging issues can be: n Competitive n Market/Client n Financial n Operational n Regulatory STRATEGIC INITIATIVES High-level responses to solve the challenging issues ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES Your own and your direct reports’ contributions to the strategic initiatives VISION:
  • 10. GOALS & OBJECTIVES Company will achieve US$1Billion in annual revenue by 2018 through:  Net organic growth of +4% annually through achieving a target 50 new customers/year/rep and increasing revenue in current customers  Providing differentiated value added product and service solutions to customers through a complete understanding of their needs resulting in an increase in NPS by 50% in 2 years.  Being seen as the number one partner to both customers and a preferred employer for high quality candidates.  Attracting, developing, and retaining the highest caliber workforce. Our people will be our differentiator.  Developing a strong customer orientation – managing to a target of 70% of sales professional’s time being in front of customers in productive discussions. CHALLENGING ISSUES Barriers to our achievement of our objectives include:  Strong domestic competition not influenced by depreciation of the ¥.  Competitive disadvantage created due to our lack of localization.  Lack of integration resulting in perception that we do not have a unified face to our customers.  Our office based culture resulting in inefficient geographic coverage.  Skill gaps in our sales and sales management organization that prevent us from being perceived as consultative and differentiating.  Territory inefficiencies that result in too few customer visits and not enough time with customers. STRATEGIC INITIATIVES To achieve our objectives, we are implementing:  A talent development strategy in our sales and service organizations, focused on developing a customer orientation, creating differentiation, and completely understanding our customers’ needs.  Territory and account strategies designed to allow our sales force to focus on high value activities and maximum customer contact to increase productivity and yield the highest value returns for our customers and for our company.  An overall HR strategy that will drive (1) diversity and inclusion, (2) talent development across all of our company, and (3) a performance-based culture. ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES To support our strategic initiatives, as a manager I will commit to: Communication: Case Study/Multinational Japan Div.
  • 11. © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 11 Communication: Case Study/Multinational Japan Div.
  • 12. Exercise – The role of the leader • Discuss the role of the leader in leading change at your table. • Identify the most important behavior you would expect leaders to exhibit to drive successful change. © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 12
  • 13. The role of the leader The role of leaders in the organization is to:  Model the behaviors expected of the teams  Actively verify the consistency and frequency of adoption of the new behaviors  Provide feedback to peers and direct reports about driving adoption  Assess adoption, consistency of application, quality of application and impact to the business  Integrate these conversations into the business so they become habits © Richardson 2012 • www.richardson.com 13
  • 14. Verification: Leadership Discipline Framework © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 14 Sales Executives and Sales Leaders Sales Leaders and Sales Managers Sales Managers and Salespeople Asking Verification Questions and Coaching Verification Feedback Verification Feedback Asking Verification Questions and Coaching Asking about Verifiable Outcomes and Developmental Coaching Verification Feedback
  • 15. Verification: How do you measure change?  Lagging Indicator — A metric that measures the outcome or result of a change  Leading Indicator — A metric that predicts or forecasts the probability of a specific outcome or result  Adoption Question — An open-ended question that asks for specific evidence that a behavior, signaling ownership of the change, is occurring © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 15
  • 16. Verification Questions at the Leader Level © Richardson 2012 • www.richardson.com 16  What is the adoption rate of the AM’s following their account management process?  How do we know? What are the indicators?  Give me an example of success stories of Sales Managers who have high rates of adoption. What are they doing to encourage and support the adoption? How are business results being affected?  Give me an example of a Sales Manager who isn’t seeing high adoption.  What are you doing to hold Sales Managers accountable for higher adoption rates? Is it working? How do you know? What is the evidence?  Are some of your Sales Managers more comfortable demanding the use of the process and leading indicators as part of daily business than others?  What are you doing to model the right behaviors? Give me some examples.
  • 17. Verification: Adoption Questions and Coaching Ask adoption questions to gauge the depth, breadth, and pace of change If good evidence, coach with praise to positively reinforce ongoing adoption efforts If poor or non-specific evidence, engage in developmental coaching to identify and remove barriers to increased adoption © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 17
  • 18. Case Study: Communicating and Verifying Change • Issue: $7B distributor of maintenance repair and operations supplies growing rapidly with no unified selling process in place and need to increase sales force productivity to drive bottom line growth faster than top line growth. • Action: worked with consulting partner to define a sales process for each go-to- market channel and to deploy the process integrated with skill models for rapid uptake by the field sales organizations. • Risk: After significant investment in consulting and training, senior leadership realized all the focus was being placed on the front line managers and sales professionals – senior leadership were asking what they should be doing to support and reinforce adoption. • Solution: Developed and implemented a Leaders Leading Change program designed to create a unified message and teach leaders of leaders how to reinforce and drive adoption of their investment in their people. • Outcome: While early in the implementation process we can confirm that the entire senior team (RVP and above) can tell the same story of the reason for change and are having verification conversations with each other on a regular basis, driving adoption of the new behaviors and reinforcing the investment. © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 18
  • 19. Lessons Leaders are Learning 1. Change leadership cannot be delegated 2. Less initiatives will actually create more change — be ruthless 3. Secure objective advice and guidance © Richardson 2013 • www.richardson.com 19
  • 20. Harry Dunklin SVP, Sales Enablement Practice, Richardson E-mail Contact via LinkedIn Phone 215-940-9255
  • 21. Complete Your Session Evaluation Here: http://survey.walkerinfo.com/samaevals2013 Access from Laptops and Mobiles