The Role of HR in Leading Sales Transformation
Its mid-year and second quarter results are in. This is a perfect time to review the status of your company’s sales revenue and volume metrics. If sales are lagging with a vision for a better second half, there are actions to consider for boosting performance by increasing salesforce effectiveness. The fact is that salesforce effectiveness (SFE) can decrease over time due to bad salesforce habits, lack of consistent coaching by managers, and misalignment with customers among other reasons.
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) which advises Kimberly-Clark and other leading B2B selling organizations on go-to-market (GTM) and SFE has recently performed research across multiple industries on the critical components of sales transformation. I’ve found working with BCG and leveraging their marketing and sales effectiveness thought leadership very effective for creating sales leadership development programs. BCG has identified specific sales process focus areas and performance improvement levers which can increase sales revenue and profits by 10 to 15%.
5 Key Focus Areas for Leading Sales Transformation
The 5 components that influence salesforces effectiveness and impact results are as follows:
- Targeting - Prioritize and focus on the high value markets and customers. Strike the right balance using current, meaningful data (not too much) to determine the customer segments that will yield the greatest opportunities.
- Deploying - Allocate resources toward the largest payoff. With multiple products, channels, customers, geographies and industries the complexity of deployment decisions increases and requires gap analysis, which when done right can elevate revenue by 20%.
- Executing - Empower sales representatives to dedicate more value-added time with key customers. Reduce administrative tasks and time that takes away from customers with simple digital tools. Improving efficiency in this area can improve revenue from 5-10%.
- Engaging - Enhance the quality and frequency of customer interaction. Thorough research and planning prior to customer engagements and focus on account renewals can grow revenue by as much as 5%.
- Enabling - Ensure sales support is cost effective. Determine if initiatives such as software tools, coaching and management training and materials, including incentive programs align with business goals and deliver value, based on your efforts.
How do you decide? Improvement efforts can be focused on individual areas or more broadly across several areas with the big picture in mind. Consider the following:
- Make a shift from product centric to a customer centric organization
- Increase collaboration and teamwork within the sales force and across functions
- Grow front-line line managers’ capability by leveraging experienced managers’ expertise
- Build a solid case for change with customer input, and stakeholder agreement (Sales and other functional executives) on the improvement strategy
What Can Work for You
From my experience, these sales talent development tactics leverage the 5 key components BCG describes, particularly Enablement:
- Accelerate Onboarding: Equip sales talent to meet sales performance objectives quickly
- Sales Talent Assessment: Effectively target development needs by identifying strengths and weaknesses
- Peer Coaching: Support a continuous learning high performance culture
- Best Practice Sharing: Build capability across all levels and functions of the sales organization
Explore more of BCG’s salesforce effectiveness expertise and see how well it is integrated with HCI’s Change Management insights, both of which can meaningfully influence a successful sales transformation.
Charlotte Hughes is a Senior Consultant,Talent Management and Development with Kimberly-Clark where she is responsible for helping human resources and business leaders with performance improvement and learning solutions that drive business results. Her expertise includes; training, coaching, mentoring, social learning, organizational development and leadership development. She is also an expert in sales effectiveness and sales transformation. Charlotte has held key talent development roles with other Fortune 500 companies including; Morgan Stanley, Cox Enterprises, and SunTrust. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, College of Human Ecology and a Master’s degree from New York Institute of Technology in Human Resources Management. She is also certified by the Human Capital Institute as a Human Capital Strategist.