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Managing Sales Force Change
 

Managing Sales Force Change

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This research report summarizes findings from 55 participating business-to-business sales organizations. The research was conducted in the first quarter of 2013 through the use of a survey ...

This research report summarizes findings from 55 participating business-to-business sales organizations. The research was conducted in the first quarter of 2013 through the use of a survey questionnaire.

Research objectives include determining the frequency and intensity of sales force change initiatives; the amount of expected future sales organization change; organizational perceptions of change efficacy; key areas targeted for change; management practices in directing change initiatives; and leadership’s priorities for implementing sales force change.

In total, respondents see little difference in expected change intensity when comparing the next 18 months over the previous 18 months. Mean change intensity ratings for past and future change are approximately equal, at 4.89 and 4.92, respectively on a seven-point scale (where 1 = “we won’t change anything,” and 7 = “everything will change”).

A distribution of change intensity ratings, however, indicates that a significant number of firms have undergone greater change in the past 18 months than they expect to enact in the next 18 months.

Larger firms anticipate more organizational changes in the future than smaller firms. Change intensity ratings analyzed by firm size show that organizations with more than 200 salespeople expect greater changes in the next 18 months than they experienced in the prior 18. Smaller firms, in contrast, anticipate less future change than that experienced in the past 18 months.

Sales training represents the area requiring the most change in the view of respondents. Yet respondents are less likely to make changes to sales training than they are to the sales coverage model or sales headcount. This discrepancy surfaced when we asked respondents to provide ratings for what "should” change and similarly rate the likelihood of what "will" change in their organizations.

Respondents did not believe any activity we asked them to rate was changing without corresponding need; in other words, no aggregate rating of “change expected” was greater than the aggregate rating of “change needed.”

Of topics rated, those with the smallest gap between “change needed” and “change expected” were sales headcount, product and service offering, sales strategy, and sales job design.

Those rated activities with the largest gap between “change needed” and “change expected” were sales training, non-technology sales support investment, performance measures, and technology.

Differences exist in perceived appropriateness of sales organization change, based on job role and seniority. The amount of change required seems positively correlated with management seniority, in the view of our respondents. Salespeople believed their organizations were changing far too much; heads of sales too little; and sales managers somewhere in between (though clearly on the "too much change" side).

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  • Put rating values in the bars
  • This would be better as a bar chart – same basic format as slide 10

Managing Sales Force Change Managing Sales Force Change Presentation Transcript

  • Research Update 7 June 2013 Managing Sales Force Change This research initiative was made possible in part through underwriting support from these organizations: A benchmarking study of change management initiatives in business-to-business sales organizations.
  • About This Research This research report summarizes findings from 55 participating business-to- business sales organizations. The research was conducted in the first quarter of 2013 through the use of a survey questionnaire. Research objectives include determining the frequency and intensity of sales force change initiatives; the amount of expected future sales organization change; organizational perceptions of change efficacy; key areas targeted for change; management practices in directing change initiatives; and leadership’s priorities for implementing sales force change.
  • Summary Findings In total, respondents see little difference in expected change intensity when comparing the next 18 months over the previous 18 months. Mean change intensity ratings for past and future change are approximately equal, at 4.89 and 4.92, respectively on a seven-point scale (where 1 = “we won’t change anything,” and 7 = “everything will change”). A distribution of change intensity ratings, however, indicates that a significant number of firms have undergone greater change in the past 18 months than they expect to enact in the next 18 months. Larger firms anticipate more organizational changes in the future than smaller firms. Change intensity ratings analyzed by firm size show that organizations with more than 200 salespeople expect greater changes in the next 18 months than they experienced in the prior 18. Smaller firms, in contrast, anticipate less future change than that experienced in the past 18 months. Insert new slide 8, it goes with above
  • Summary Findings Sales training represents the area requiring the most change in the view of respondents. Yet respondents are less likely to make changes to sales training than they are to the sales coverage model or sales headcount. This discrepancy surfaced when we asked respondents to provide ratings for what "should” change and similarly rate the likelihood of what "will" change in their organizations. Respondents did not believe any activity we asked them to rate was changing without corresponding need; in other words, no aggregate rating of “change expected” was greater than the aggregate rating of “change needed.” Of topics rated, those with the smallest gap between “change needed” and “change expected” were sales headcount, product and service offering, sales strategy, and sales job design. Those rated activities with the largest gap between “change needed” and “change expected” were sales training, non-technology sales support investment, performance measures, and technology.
  • Summary Findings Differences exist in perceived appropriateness of sales organization change, based on job role and seniority. The amount of change required seems positively correlated with management seniority, in the view of our respondents. Salespeople believed their organizations were changing far too much; heads of sales too little; and sales managers somewhere in between (though clearly on the "too much change" side). Respondents hold a dim view of their organizations’ ability to implement change. Nine change capabilities were rated; aggregate ratings for change effectiveness were negative for all but three. Among the change capabilities rated lowest were: • "… We are able to quantify the impact of future changes using accurate performance modeling and data.“ • "… We support the change with sufficient resources, staff, and training.“ • "… We make sure the sales organization is able to effect change, or adopt a new program, before asking them to implement it."
  • Research Participant Profile Participant Firm Size, Annual Revenue ($US) Participant Job Role N=55 companies
  • Participants’ Sales Organization Size N=55 companies
  • Change Intensity How would you rate the intensity of organizational change your sales force has undertaken in the *past* 18 months? 1- We haven't changed anything; 4- We have undergone moderate change; 7- We have changed everything N=55 companies
  • Change Intensity: Looking Forward How would you rate the intensity of organizational change your sales force expects to take in the next 18 months? 1- We won't change anything in the next 18 months; 4- We will attempt a moderate degree of change; 7- We will change everything N=55 companiesMean ratings: Past Change = 4.92; Future Change = 4.89
  • Change Intensity by Firm Size N=55 companies
  • Expert Input From Our Panel Why are large firms’ sales organizations changing more?
  • What Should Be Changed?... In order for your sales organization to be highly successful in the next 18 months, how much *should* you change the following things? N=55 companies
  • … and What Will Change? How much will your organization change the following things in the next 18 months? N=55 companies
  • Expert Input From Our Panel Are sales organizations changing the right things?
  • Change Gaps N=55 companies
  • Expert Input From Our Panel What keeps sales organizations from changing those things that most need changing?
  • Perceptions of Change: Salespeople How is change perceived in your organization by salespeople? (1 = far too little change; 4 = just the right amount of change; 7 = far too much change) N=55 companies
  • Perceptions of Change: Sales Managers How is change perceived in your organization by salespeople, and sales managers? (1 = far too little change; 4 = just the right amount of change; 7 = far too much change) N=55 companies
  • Perceptions of Change: Executive Leadership How is change perceived in your organization by salespeople, sales managers, and your senior sales leader? (1 = far too little change; 4 = just the right amount of change; 7 = far too much change) N=55 companies
  • Expert Input From Our Panel What explains the different perceptions of change appropriateness at different levels in the sales force?
  • Change Capabilities “Indicate your level of agreement with the following statements. 1-completely disagree; 7-completely agree. When our sales organization undertakes a significant change initiative... N=55 companies
  • Expert Input From Our Panel Are sales organizations sufficiently prepared for change?