Case for Change
A $1B company was not meeting expectations for growth and had extremely high turnover in their salesforce. The CHRO and SVP of Sales created a vision for transforming their salesforce and sales operations model. The Sale Managers played a critical role as ambassadors of the change initiative. The SVP of Sales presented the business case and the vision to the Sales Managers for improving key metrics such as retention, market share, sales and profits. The vision for the future included a three pronged strategy:
- A new hunter sales model with a strong focus on building referral networks
- Recruiting Sellers based on sales potential instead of sales or industry experience and training them on a new sales model
- A new compensation plan aligned to the sales performance model.
Engagement - Enrolling Stakeholders in Defining the Future
To build commitment, the Sales Managers and their Sellers all had an active part in defining the future state of the ideal Seller. The Sales Managers and some high potential Sellers participated in qualitative interviews and completed job analysis questionnaires to provide advice on what would define the Sellers of the future.
This job analysis participation moved them into the role of change agents. The SVP of Sales communicated that all current Sellers would be invited to complete a sales behaviors questionnaire (sales personality and motivational questionnaire) to help define which sales characteristics and competencies would drive sales performance in the new sales model. Sales Managers also completed short sales competency rating forms (derived from the job analyses results) for each of their Sellers.
Using Measurement to Communicate and Drive Change
The SVP of Sales sent a formal email to all current Sellers explaining the vision for the future and inviting all 300 to complete an online sales questionnaire to help identify what sales characteristics would predict sales success in the new sales model.
Existing sales metrics were collected on each Seller. The sales dimensions predictive of Sellers’ performance (sales metrics and supervisors’ ratings) were used to build a sales profile. The SVP of Sales, HR team, and Sales Managers presented the Sales Profile to show the ROI of selecting Sellers based on the new sales profile.
Communication - Roll Out
Once the Sales Managers were bought into the value of the Sales Profile, the aligned competency model and sales assessment was implemented. A new selection process with competency-based interview guides was developed and used to recruit Sellers. Lastly, the new sales training tailored to teach the newly defined sales competency model was rolled out.
Demonstrating the Impact of the Sales Transformation
A follow up study four months later demonstrated the greater than projected improvement in sales, profits and tenure of Sellers hired since the launch. The tenure of those who fit the new Sales Profile was twice as long as others and they were most likely to achieve their sales targets.
A key take-away is that measurement in the form of questionnaires, competency assessments, and interviews was an effective tool for communicating desired changes. Moreover, metrics for sales behaviors and sales performance, clearly aligned with the tools, helped drive overall company sales and profit results. Vision achieved.
This post was contributed by Craig Haas, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Professional Services for Cut-e Group. He provides talent management consulting and high volume assessment solutions for talent acquisition and development. More information about Craig and Cut-e can be found at www.cut-e.com.