What is your vision for the future? Do you know what you want the sales organization to become? Is your vision of the future big-and-bold and inspiring? These are several of the key questions that Warren Shiver and I set out to answer with a two-year research project that culminates with the publishing of our book, the 7 Steps to Sales Force Transformation, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan on January 5th, 2016.
There is little argument that the sales function has changed in the last 20 years. The buyer is more informed, the value of the seller is different, and how we communicate with customers is more sophisticated and varied, among other changes. Over the next 10 years, your vision for the sales organization will be crucial.
As with many business issues, setting and crafting your sales transformation vision involves answering some challenging questions. It will require deep thought and critical thinking.
In our experience, a great vision for sales transformation requires addressing a few fundamental questions regarding your customers, your value proposition, and your ways of communicating this value to your customers.
As you answer the following sales-specific questions, you will begin the process of writing and rewriting your vision:
- Customer Segmentation: Who are our customers/segments?
- What is the profile of our ideal customer?
- What is the value we provide (or should provide) to our customers?
- The Selling Conversation: What’s the value proposition? What do sales conversations with these customers and stakeholders sound like?
- Has the customer’s buying process changed? What value do customers expect from our sales team(s)?
- How important is the sales process and team in communicating and providing this value to our customers?
- What new or different sales capabilities are required to continue to drive value for our customers?
- Business/Go-to-Market Model: Do we have the optimal revenue and cost structure to support the desired business and go-to-market model?
- How much revenue do we need the sales organization to bring in?
- What is the targeted cost of sales?
- At a high level, have we outlined the go-to-market model to execute on our sales transformation vision?
As you answer these questions, keep in mind that there is a vision for the company as a whole, which is often broad and far-reaching, but there also needs to be a specific vision for the sales force transformation, a vision that can guide the teams regarding which customers to target, what sales conversations to have, and how to integrate themselves into the go-to-market model.
In our next post, we’ll highlight step 3, making the ‘case for change’ for a sales transformation.