SMA Research Update: Managing Sales Force Change

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This Sales Management Association webcast details new research findings on managing changing initiatives in business-to-business sales organizations.

You'll learn:

- The frequency and intensity of sales force change
- What is changing in sales forces and how that change is managed
- Support for sales organization change among executive leadership, management, and salespeople
- Organizational competency and effectiveness in implementing sales force change

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.

Watch the recorded webinar here:
http://info.qvidian.com/SMAWebinarReplay.html?SFDCCID=70150000000nrLs

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  • 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).
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Put rating values in the bars
  • This would be better as a bar chart – same basic format as slide 10
  • SMA Research Update: Managing Sales Force Change

    1. 1. Sales Management Association Webcast7 June 2013Presented byResearch Update: Managing SalesForce Change
    2. 2. About The Sales Management AssociationA global, cross-industry professional association for salesoperations and sales management.Focused in providing research, case studies, training, peernetworking, and professional development to our membership.Fostering a community of thought-leaders, service providers,academics, and practitioners.Learn More: www.salesmanagement.org
    3. 3. Today’s Panelists
    4. 4. Sales Management Association Webcast7 June 2013Presented byResearch Update: Managing Sales ForceChange
    5. 5. About This ResearchThis research report summarizes findings from 55 participating business-to-business sales organizations. The research was conducted in the first quarter of2013 through the use of a survey questionnaire.Research objectives include determining the frequency and intensity of salesforce change initiatives; the amount of expected future sales organizationchange; organizational perceptions of change efficacy; key areas targeted forchange; management practices in directing change initiatives; and leadership’spriorities for implementing sales force change.
    6. 6. Summary FindingsSales Force Size and Expected ChangeSales organizations experience a sustained, elevated degree ofchange intensity. For all respondents, the degree of expected futurechange varies little from the level of change recently experienced.However, size appears to influence the degree of future changeexpected. Bigger firms anticipate significantly greater future change;smaller firms less (compared to change experienced in the previous18 months).
    7. 7. Summary Findings (continued)What Needs to Change Isn’t NecessarilyWhat Is Expected to Change• All areas need some level of change• Sales Training, and (Non-Tech) Sales Support: These most needto change (but aren’t)• Sales Headcount, Product and Service Offering: these are muchmore likely to change corresponding to need.
    8. 8. Summary Findings (continued)Perceptions of change appropriatenesswithin the sales organization – howmuch is needed, and how quickly it’shappening – notably differ betweenleadership and salespeople.
    9. 9. Summary Findings (continued)Respondents hold a dim view of theirorganizations’ ability to implementchange.
    10. 10. Research Participant ProfileParticipant Firm Size, Annual Revenue ($US) Participant Job RoleN=55 companies
    11. 11. Participants’ Sales Organization SizeN=55 companies
    12. 12. Change IntensityHow would you rate the intensity of organizational change your sales force has undertaken in the *past* 18 months?1- We havent changed anything; 4- We have undergone moderate change; 7- We have changed everythingN=55 companies
    13. 13. Change Intensity: Looking ForwardHow would you rate the intensity of organizational change your sales force expects to take in the next 18 months?1- We wont change anything in the next 18 months; 4- We will attempt a moderate degree of change; 7- We will change everythingN=55 companiesMean ratings: Past Change = 4.92; Future Change = 4.89
    14. 14. Change Intensity by Firm SizeN=55 companies
    15. 15. Expert Input From Our PanelWhy are large firms’ salesorganizations changingmore?
    16. 16. What Should Be Changed?...In order for your sales organization to be highly successful in the next 18 months, howmuch *should* you change the following things?N=55 companies
    17. 17. … and What Will Change?How much will your organization change the following things in the next 18 months?N=55 companies
    18. 18. Expert Input From Our PanelAre sales organizationschanging the right things?
    19. 19. Change GapsN=55 companies
    20. 20. Expert Input From Our PanelWhat keeps salesorganizations from changingthose things that most needchanging?
    21. 21. Perceptions of Change: SalespeopleHow 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
    22. 22. Perceptions of Change: Sales ManagersHow 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
    23. 23. Perceptions of Change: Executive LeadershipHow 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
    24. 24. Expert Input From Our PanelWhat explains the differentperceptions of changeappropriateness at differentlevels in the sales force?
    25. 25. 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
    26. 26. Expert Input From Our PanelAre sales organizationssufficiently prepared forchange?
    27. 27. Questions and DiscussionsOur panel answers questionsfrom the webcast audience.
    28. 28. Q1: How is training delivery changing?What are the most significantchanges you’re seeing in salestraining delivery in light of salesorganizations’ time challenges?
    29. 29. Q2: How should training align with change objectives?How should training objectives andmethods align with the changes anorganization wants to emphasize?
    30. 30. Q3: Will companies get better or worse at change?Will companies get better, or worse,at implementing change in the salesorganization?

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