Sales White Paper: Sales Change Management


Published on

This White Paper covers sales change management. It levers off some excellent research and publications in this space, and uses them to delve into why change is not successful, and what factors and conditions need to be in place when change is successful.

Published in: Business
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Sales White Paper: Sales Change Management

  1. 1. Sales ChangeManagementWHITE PAPER
  2. 2. Sell Smarter. Manage Better.Sales Change Management INTRODUCTION The TAS Group publishes a range of White Papers on Since the understanding and mastery of change is so best practices in Sales Process, Sales Methodology and fundamental to sales improvement, it seems right that Sales Technology. All are focused on enabling – and a White Paper should be devoted to the mechanics hopefully inspiring – the global selling community to of change and to the conditions and commitment improve their sales performance. that needs to be in place for it to happen. Literally thousands of publications have gone before this one, At the heart of all of these White Papers, and at with the same noble intent, and still our industry the heart of sales performance, effectiveness or recognizes the primacy of change management yet at productivity improvement, is the simple but elusive the same time still struggles with it. factor that this involves changing the behavior of sales professionals and leaders, and managing that change This White Paper covers sales change management. It successfully over time. Changing your behavior is hard, levers off some excellent research and publications in as you need patience and determination in the early this space, and uses them to delve into why change is days as your normal levels of productivity dip while not successful, and what factors and conditions need you acquire the new way of doing things. You need to to be in place when change is successful. see early benefits too, which encourages you to fully adopt the new behavioral skills and move down the As with any of our White Papers, there will be a path towards mastery of the ‘new way’ and of sales big variance in the seniority and experience of improvement. This also assumes that a raft of variables the readership. This White Paper aims to provide in your colleagues, managers, leaders and organization something for the complete range of requirements, is also favorably disposed to your success. but if you want to dig deeper or move wider, we urge you to get in touch with us individually. You can do this via email to: CHANGE FAILSIn 1996, John P. Kotter, leadership and change guru and In 2008, a McKinsey survey of 3,199 executives around theEmeritus Professor at Harvard Business School, published world found, much as Kotter did, that only one transformationLeading Change. The research that Kotter drew on showed program in three is a success. Kotter identified a number ofthat only 30 percent of change execution programs succeed. factors that contributed to the 7 out of 10 programs failing,Nothing has changed in the decade and a half since Leading and we explore these below.Change.Share this White Paper! Copyright © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. 1
  3. 3. Sell Smarter. Manage Better.Allowing Too Much Complacency The TAS Group approach: as part of our Change ExecutionKotter attributes the biggest flaw to executing change Process for sales academies or sales effectiveness programs,successfully in jumping into a program or initiative without we incorporate Executive Alignment Workshops andinstilling enough urgency and excitement in managers and Management Alignment Workshops, so that sales managersemployees. This is especially true for first-line sales managers and leaders agree on what the sales organization is trying toin charge of a team. Our own numerous transformation accomplish, and how it will accomplish it, and understand theengagements with customers over the years have confirmed importance of bringing every one of their sales people alongthat the first-line sales manager is the critical cog in the the same journey before the training begins.machine for transforming sales behavior; successfultransformation requires them to lead by example. Managerstherefore need to be more knowledgeable, internalize the Failing to Build a Substantial Coalitionexpected behavior change and adopt it as the accepted way We’ve already stated that change will fail without getting theto coach and manage their business. sales manager adopting and coaching the desired behaviors. It is also stated that change will fail without the buy-in of theTransformations are never achieved when people don’t head of the business, but really this is true for all senior levelunderstand why the change is necessary, and what personnel within the business and the sales organization.the objectives are for the change. This area is often Inversely, an executive sponsor alone will not be able to createunderestimated. Sales people need to understand what is the needed change. Invoking the Buckminster Fuller theory ofdriving the change, what specific problems it is solving, and the ‘trim tab’ effect, you need 5% of people that have the rightwhat goals this will accomplish. They need to be ‘clued up’ balance of power and / or influence to lead the change andand ‘fired up’ about the changes. Complacency kills any sales mobilize 20% of the or other change initiative, and creates a ‘flavor of themonth’ phenomenon. This will delay the impact beyond the In order for the transformation effort to be successful, the VPpoint of any effectiveness or competitive advantage. of Sales, VP of Sales Operations / Effectiveness / Learning and Development, and the sales managers need to be alignedTo use a sporting analogy, when Tiger Woods decided to and work as a team and a committed force for change.change his golf swing, his immediate performance slipped Realistically, you will not always get all senior people onsidefor a few tournaments, but then he went on to win back-to- at first. If you’re serious about your initiative, and it’s criticalback-to-back tournaments and arguably enjoyed the best to your growth, you should focus on the people that carryperformances of his career. He achieved this through a great enough power and / or influence to lead and be the changedeal of coaching and support, as well as understanding agents.of where he wanted to get to, accompanied by a sense ofurgency to make these changes in order to remain head and When a sales transformation has been successful, it’s whenshoulders above the competition. the coalition has had influence and momentum. This comes from their formal seniority in the business, the knowledgeConversely, when leadership or management – perhaps and skills they have, their reputation within the business, theconscious of this – show a lack of patience and rush into relationship they have with their peers and the sales teams,the program, this can often create a sense of anxiety in the and their own natural capacity to lead. You can’t do this onsales organization which simply reinforces the resistance to your own, no matter how many of these boxes you check,change. When the sense of urgency and purpose is correctly unless your sales organization is very small. You need to buildcommunicated to people, and instilled in them, then they your coalition.understand the payback from making the necessary sacrificesto change and are more amenable and ready to learn, apply The TAS Group approach: as part of our Change Executionand adopt. Process, we coach sales leadership on the management performance processes for getting and keeping support and momentum for a sales initiative. This helps leaders agree sales initiative objectives with management, communicate them, and watch out for and correct the warning signs.Share this White Paper! Copyright © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. 2
  4. 4. Sell Smarter. Manage Better.Underestimating the Need for a Clear Vision Communicating is about leading by example, both in whatYou have to have an idea of where you’re going when you you say and how you act, and it is more important that youembark on a journey, or else how will you know when you’ve ‘walk the walk’ than ‘talk the talk’. Sales leaders and managersgot there? Nothing could be truer for sales transformation, who do not back up the vision with their own behavior willwhere you have your investments and all your profit-making quickly dismantle any edifice that you have sought to buildassets – in the form of your sales producers – at stake. Vision up for your sales a key catalyst for change because it paints a picture of whatwe can be if we all make the commitment. Vision helps to The TAS Group approach: our Customer Success Charter isget people behind the cause and inspires them to see the an integral part of our Change Execution process, and helpspersonal, emotional and financial benefits of taking the tough businesses to frame what success looks like for their salespath that leads to improved sales performance. initiative. A key part of this is how you will communicate the vision of the initiative, and we can provide you with structuredIf the vision is lacking – either it’s not there at all, or it’s not the examples and templates to help you with the communicationright vision – your sales change program can result in wasted process.energies, lost time and dwindling morale. This throws therisk of change into stark relief, because if you sacrifice the Permitting Roadblocks Against the Visiontime trying to change behaviors and you fail, you incur fewer Even when your leadership, management and sales teamsrevenues than if your teams had been continuing to sell under are on board with the vision, roadblocks can arise. This isstatus quo conditions. Your initiative is viewed as a series of inevitable when a major sales change involves and affects sotactical blunders rather than a strategic masterstroke. many people. It is essential that you remove the roadblocks, since otherwise they will become a huge demotivator.The TAS Group approach: our sales effectiveness programs Roadblocks will come from several people and perspectives,are built around sales transformation as a process, not a series and it is crucial to understand its root cause. All too often,of one-off events. Our focus is on keeping your sales teams the feedback provided is taken at face value, and that is whatproductive as they transition their sales behavior from the ‘permitting roadblocks against the vision’ means.current levels to their improved levels. We can categorize roadblock root causes in 4 ways:Failing to Clearly Communicate the Vision Understanding, Habit, Attitude, and Structure.Having the vision is one thing, but you have to be able tocommunicate it – early, well, and often – to give the expected Understanding: Your sales people must fully understandchanges any chance of taking hold. Your sales people the why, what, how and when of the change managementhave to be able and willing to change, and even if they are exercise. You should provide solid explanations and equipunderperforming at the moment, they may be unwilling to them with the knowledge of what you are asking them tochange their behavior if they don’t understand and fully buy do and why. The vehicles for this are sales methodology,into what the change is designed to do, why they should do it, definitions and terminology, processes, sales technologyand how they will benefit if they do it well. and so on. The recommended process here should be: train, teach, tell, read, re-teach, re-explain etc. Do not underestimateYour sales managers and sales people need to believe that the process in which people understand things. Sendingthe benefits of your sales initiative outweigh the effort and an email and expecting it to be read, digested, retained andhardship of undertaking it. They also need to believe that the understood does not work. People learn at different pacesinitiative has a good chance of success, and unfortunately and it is critical to watch for it and make allowances for it.your communication task is made harder if your organizationhas a history of unsuccessful initiatives and people who areinured against future programs.Share this White Paper! Copyright © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. 3
  5. 5. Sell Smarter. Manage Better.Habit: Your sales people need to acquire the knowledge Even more dangerous, if you don’t have the quick wins underfor it to become a habit. For it to become a habit, they need your belt, then you run the risk of complacency or even activeto take the knowledge they acquired, and practise it over resistance setting in. Short-term wins have to be focused ontime. As the Greek philospher Aristotle said; “We are what the behavioral changes you are looking to engender in yourwe repeatedly do.“ Excellence is not an act, but a habit. This sales managers and sales people. It is these early signs ofis echoed by older, seminal research called the ‘21 Day Habit behavioral change that will lead to the later signs of success,Theory,’ developed by Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his book ‘Psycho- in the form of revenue improvement, and better sales velocity.Cybernetics.’ He found that our brains do not accept new data Using the new sales language correctly, adhering to a newfor a change of habit until it is repeated each day for 21 days. sales system, withdrawing from deals that are a bad fit to the business, completing opportunity plans for all opportunityAttitude: Your sales people may have the knowledge, the plans, and carrying out opportunity reviews are all examplesskills, and the mastery of the behavior, yet from an attitude of the right kinds of behaviors that you should reward andstandpoint, if they don’t buy into the value, they won’t celebrate early.adopt the change. Attitude dictates our behavior, and tounderstand the true attitudinal barriers or resistance to The TAS Group approach: our Customer Success Charterchange, it is important to dig below the surface to understand provides the framework for businesses to agree what successthe underlying fears and perceptions. If there is resistance, it is looks like for their sales initiative. It’s expressed in revenueshaped by the way that we perceive the change and its effect objectives, and non-revenue (i.e. behavioral) objectives. Theon us. If the resistance is not understood or addressed, we will Change Execution Process is the vehicle for delivering onnot be able to modify behaviors because we did not address the Customer Success Charter and monitoring, recording,their attitude or perception about the change. Archaic carrot reviewing, correcting and celebrating progress toward theand stick theories do not suffice. To change mindset, leaders vision.need to leverage a number of conditions for change whichwe will come to later in this White Paper. Declaring Victory Too Quickly Changing sales behavior is a battle, and the war is neverStructure: Your sales people need to be convinced that over. Celebrating the early wins is essential, but declaringall the framework elements that go into enabling them to that you’re almost at the finish line reveals the ignorance ofperform the desired behavior are in place. These elements managing change as a never-ending wheel. You hear theare numerous, but they include the compensation plan, phrase ‘making it part of their sales DNA’ a lot in sales training,the supporting systems, and making sure the deal reviews, which evokes the idea that a new way of selling has becomemanagement reviews and other internal processes connect to embraced to such a degree that it is part of the sales person’sthe new way of doing business. core, part of who they are.Not Planning and Not Getting Short-Term Wins To become this deeply absorbed into the organization’s wayImplementing a major sales change exercise is a major of working takes a long, long time and requires unendingundertaking. It takes time, and should be viewed as a commitment from the business, since the sales organizationprocess, not a one-off event. Sometimes it’s difficult to see if a is constantly changing with people entering or exiting thechange in selling behavior is producing results, as some sales business. This might take years, and any new sales initiativeorganizations have very long sales cycles and it can take a less than a year old is still vulnerable to resistance, apathy, andwhile – sometimes too long – for the results to come through. outright aggression.It is important to set early milestones to celebrate and build It is important to take the long view, once you understand theconfidence and momentum along the way. Splitting up the scope of what you are trying to do when you instigate a newjourney into more achievable sections is essential, otherwise way of selling. If your timeframes are too short, your changespeople won’t embark on the journey; all they see is the finish won’t stick. It’s no use pulling up the plant every so often toline way off in the distance. see if the roots have grown.Share this White Paper! Copyright © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. 4
  6. 6. Sell Smarter. Manage Better.You must be on your guard against indicators that give you In order to do this, you must communicate to people thea false sense of progress. These can either be the indicators connection between the changes they made and the benefitsthemselves, or they can be people with an agenda to force that resulted, so that they understand the connection. Callingthat is either for or against the initiative. Pro-change initiators out examples of the specific behaviors and mindset peoplemay be too keen to look for kudos, and politically minded adopted that led to improved performance is key. Whenresistors may join in the celebrations and push for the training you’ve got this far, you want to make sure people are notwork to stop before the new ways of working have taken root. making the wrong connection for success and consequently developing the wrong behaviors.The TAS Group approach: our Change Execution Processprovides the structure for you to monitor behavioral Lastly, and most importantly, you need to take time to ensurecompliance and record your pre-sales initiative baseline, and that your crucial agents of change, namely your front-lineyour actual results against target results over quarters and sales managers, are still walking the walk, and are living,years so that you stay the course. breathing examples to new and seasoned sales people of the ‘way of we sell round here’.Not Anchoring Changes in the Corporate CultureOnce the communication, encouragement and the right The TAS Group approach: we do not vacate the premiseskind of pressure have been applied for long enough, the once your sales training or the workshop-driven aspectschanged behaviors become the accepted way of working. of a sales initiative have taken place. We hold ourselvesUntil this happens, there is always the risk of the train slowing accountable for your success and in our Change Executiondown, stopping, or being derailed. Once the new culture Process we continue to be stakeholders throughout youris said to be the current corporate culture, then the change partnership with exercise can be deemed a success.MORE ON THE ROOTS OF FAILUREThe seven-tenths failure rate is sufficiently disastrous for us multiple pieces of research to explore why transformationto dig a little deeper, since it should help inform your own efforts fail. As we have seen, a range of issues contribute totransformation efforts. Organizational behavior consultant this, in the following proportions:Pete Abilla, in his blog, also draws on Factors contributing to failure % All other obstacles 72% of change 14% 39% Inadequate resources failures are due to or budget organizational issues 14% Manangement behavior not supportive of change 33% Employee resistance to changeShare this White Paper! Copyright © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. 5
  7. 7. Sell Smarter. Manage Better.In the sales organizational context, 72% of the failure rate • Informal ‘how things get done’ remain inconsistentis due to organizations issues, i.e. sales professionals or with espoused valuessales managers, and not to a lack of resources, as might • Change champions lose interest and move to the ’next’be expected. Abilla outlines the typical characteristics in change programtransformational failures, which have some pertinent parallels • Leaders charged with implementing the change dowith the Kotter findings: not possess the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities • No obvious connection to outcomes that the organization values We now have a comprehensive list of symptoms and factors • Aspirations of the organization are not clear, concise or of failure in sales change management. Let’s flip the coin communicated over and analyze what needs to be in place for us to end up • Desired behaviors are not role-modeled, trained or in the happy place of the 30% of sales change management reinforced initiatives that are successful. • Top team is not alignedCONDITIONS FOR SUCCESSFULSALES CHANGE MANAGEMENTFirst and foremost, you need to plan the transformation. conditions – each of which need to be independentlyToo often, organizations underestimate what is involved in acknowledged by sales people – that must be in placeconditioning behavior change. The key is to identify which for staff to change their behavior. We have taken thoseare the right levers to condition the change. In the course of four conditions and broken out one of them to make fiveanalyzing why change management programs fail, we have conditions that should be place in order for sales change toalready indirectly addressed what needs to happen for them take succeed. At their core is the notion that in order for you to changeIn this White Paper we have already leaned heavily on people’s behavior, you have to change their mindset, oreminent research in this area, and we are once again indebted attitude, first. Sales people submit willingly and with anto the work that has gone before. In particular, a piece of open mind to training if they understand why change isresearch from McKinsey Quarterly is particularly instructive. necessary and agree with it to a sufficient degree. We presentIn June 2003 Emily Lawson and Colin Price published ‘The below, therefore, the five conditions for successful changePsychology of Change Management’, which outlined four management. Executive Reinforcement Sponsorship and Recoginition Purpose Skills Attitude Role Models Processess BehaviorShare this White Paper! Copyright © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. 6
  8. 8. Sell Smarter. Manage Better.Condition 1: A Purpose to Believe In Condition 4: The Skills Required for ChangeSales people need to believe in the overall purpose of the Sales leaders need to focus on sales managers and saleschange management initiative, and you will only achieve this people being instructed in how to make the sales trainingthrough a robust communication plan. Within this plan you work for their situation, their Opportunities and theirneed to address these critical components: Accounts. This takes time. In addition, the teaching needs • Why is this transformation necessary (for the industry, to be broken down into digestible chunks to aid absorption. the organization, the sales people, their customers)? Also, once the new way of working has been learned, it is best • What are the problems this initiative will solve? It is cemented by applying the knowledge straight away to real important to clearly call out the problems preventing Opportunities and Accounts. Inversely, considering the two them from achieving their transformational goals previous conditions (role models and reinforcement systems), • How is this initiative going to help achieve the desired sales leaders need to acquire the appropriate level of skills to outcome of the transformation? coach and sustain the transformation. • What are the short, medium, and long-term results expected out of this initiative? Condition 5: Process, Process, Process • What must change as a result of this initiative? In our view, processes – and the connection to them – need to • What’s in it for them – what do they gain, what do they be brought out into a separate condition for successful sales lose? transformation. Sales methodology, sales process and sales technology need to be connected explicitly to the internalYou should package the components in a compelling story processes that a sales organization follows to run its business.that your sales people can identify with. If your sales people have to make the connection themselves between the new behaviors and their ongoing day-to-dayCondition 2: Consistent Role Models activities, it is highly unlikely you will see the sustainedRole models significantly affect behavior change in sales behavior change you’re looking for.organizations, as much as the four other conditions puttogether. The peer group to which the sales person belongs Sales managers and sales people need to establish the– typically the sales team – also affects it. For this reason, connection between new behaviors and internal processesindividual role models, particularly individuals with rank and / to the same degree that the other four conditions need to beor influence (in other words sales leaders and sales managers) satisfied, in order to effect the attitudinal change in your salesneed to internalize the desired language and behavior in organization that drive the new (and hopefully lasting) salesorder for the change in the sales teams to be prevalent, behaviors.profound and lasting.Condition 3: Reinforcement SystemsSales coaching, performance measurement and rewards orrecognition need to be aligned to the new sales behavior.When a company’s goals for new behavior are not reinforced,too much erosion occurs after training, and there is notenough momentum to sustain the change. Furthermore,structures that initially reinforce the new behavior do notguarantee that it will be sustained. They need to be supportedby changes that complement the other four conditions.Share this White Paper! Copyright © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. 7
  9. 9. Sell Smarter. Manage Better.SALES CHANGE MANAGEMENT WITHTHE TAS GROUP AND DEALMAKERMuch of the research explored in this White Paper, combined • Align: Securing agreement and buy-in from allwith over two decades of experience implementing sales stakeholders to the initiativeacademies and sales transformation programs for companies • Deploy: Implementing Dealmakerand enterprises, inform our globally proven sales change • Learn: Using blended learning (including e-learningmanagement process, which we call the Dealmaker Change curricula, interactive web-based sessions and self-studyExecution Process. Dealmaker is an integrated sales approach assignments) to acquire the knowledge and conceptswith learning and best practices constantly reinforced • Apply: Applying the acquired concepts to live accountsthrough its everyday use. It comprises a proven methodology and opportunities in a workshop environmentand optimized sales processes, embedded into on-demand • Measure and Coach: Coach the process, method, andsales performance automation technology, with effective on- software into the working practices of the customer’sthe-job sales training and reinforced by expert tuition. Since team; realize quick winssales effectiveness is a continual process, Dealmaker breaks • Sustain: Secure ongoing, long-term performancedown the critical elements of the process into the following and productivity, inspecting and exhibiting the righteight stages, split across four phases: planning, delivery, behaviors at all levelsadoption and sustainment. For more detail on the Dealmaker Change Execution Process, • Define: Defining the customer’s key business which is designed to secure the conditions for successful sales requirements and associated challenges change management outlined in this White Paper, please • Design: Designing the solution to address the see the services section of our website or contact us at info@ customer’s requirements DEL IVE RY Define Design Align Deploy Learn Objectives Solution Stakeholders Dealmaker Virtual Learning System Coach Me Apply Sales Management, Case Studies, Reinforcement Workshops, and Coach Me Dealmaker Usage Measure Dealmaker CU Reporting and O Predictive ST M Sales Analytics ER AD OPT IO NShare this White Paper! Copyright © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. 8
  10. 10. Sell Smarter. Manage Better. SUMMARY Improving sales performance is about recognizing and our Change Execution Process. It espouses the lessons managing change. Research has shown that seven gleaned from the research presented in this document, out of every ten change initiatives fail, and this losing and provides for the businesses who partner with us record has remained consistent over time. A variety a foundation on which to successfully transform their of factors, many of them rooted in the way people are, selling activities and sales velocity. contribute to this failure rate, and they are as true for sales effectiveness initiatives in sales organizations as If you wish to find out more about The TAS Group’s they are for other change programs in businesses of all sales performance offerings, or anything else discussed sizes and industries. in this White Paper, please contact us at Research has also identified four conditions that need to be present for a change management exercise to Recommended further resources: succeed, and we break up one of these conditions to • The TAS Group White Paper – Evaluating Sales make five conditions for success in the selling context. Training Programs When you understand the psychological implications • The TAS Group White Paper – Establishing of change, this provides additional insights to further Lasting Changes in the Sales and Marketing inform how you lay the groundwork for the conditions. Enterprise • Dealmaker Genius – Generates customized sales The TAS Group has worked with some of the world’s processes in a matter of minutes most admired selling enterprises for more than 20 • Dealmaker Index - Evaluates your company’s years, and from this experience has established a sales process, as well as your own, so you can proven change management template which we call see how they stack up against othersShare this White Paper! Copyright © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. 9
  11. 11. ABOUT THE TAS GROUP The TAS Group helps sales professionals sell smarter and manage better. Through a unique combination of deep salesmethodologies and intelligent software applications, customers achieve measureable results including increases in winrates, deal sizes and qualified opportunities, as well as decreases in sales cycle length. According to the Aberdeen Group,customers of The TAS Group realize 21 percent greater attainment of sales quotas.Dealmaker® intelligent software is the engine driving revenue growth and sustained adoption of improved salespractices.The TAS Group has helped more than 850,000 sales professionals in more than 65 countries, from small privatecompanies to market leaders. For more information visit and read the dealmaker365 blogat DEALMAKERDealmaker software from The TAS Group delivers real-time opportunity and account management, intelligentdeal coaching, accurate sales forecasts, smart playbooks, self-paced learning, and predictive analytics, resulting inmeasurable sales growth.Dealmaker can be delivered as a standalone application or can be integrated with Salesforce CRM, Microsoft DynamicsCRM, Oracle CRM On Demand, Oracle’s Siebel CRM and SAP CRM, or with any third party software application throughthe Dealmaker API. For more information visit © The TAS Group. All rights reserved. This briefing is for customer use only and no usage rights are conveyed. Nothing herein may be reproduced in any form without written permission of The TAS Group.