Establishing a Culture of Sales Performance and Accountability

Our client is a global auction business with services ranging from live auctions, online sales, private sales galleries, worldwide selling exhibitions, retail wine and diamonds, financing, and art education.

Business Challenge

In recent years, this company has implemented a number of initiatives designed to drive greater accountability and performance among their sales force around the world. At the top end, their clients are primarily sophisticated, high-net-worth private individuals, and there are many unique and complex factors that characterize the sales environment:

  • Client decision process is not linear; mostly driven by exceptional events (debt, death, divorce) and by personal considerations, often requiring strict confidentiality
  • Increasing competition for the most important consignments requires business getters to manage negotiations with both sellers and potential buyers in parallel
  • Multiple staff members have long-lasting personal relationships with clients and/or interact with them at different levels (social, art expertise, logistical help, financial/business) and across various locations around the world, which need to be coordinated and managed

Despite making some progress, the company faced increasing pressure to address issues with individual and collective underperformance. To that end, they asked Symmetrics Group to recommend solutions focused on:

  • Growing business through increased productivity of the client facing team
  • Creating a comprehensive sales management program and discipline covering process, roles, tools, and metrics
  • Deepening and expanding client relationships at the top
  • Developing talent for the sales force of the future

Symmetrics Group Approach

We conducted an in-depth discovery process, which included an extensive review of data and dozens of interviews with stakeholders from the US, Europe and Asia, to determine the underlying challenges that are hindering performance. Key findings included:

  • Lack of clarity around client ownership within the organization and diffused accountability for client results
  • Culture of reluctance to share information and collaborate among the sales team
  • Broad spectrum of capabilities in positioning, pitching, negotiations, and business acumen

We then worked with senior client leaders to design a client-facing organization structure that would enable a culture of performance and accountability. This included role design, an assessment of the capabilities needed to implement the new structure (e.g., optimal number of business getters, skill development and training needs), customized leading and lagging indicator metrics for future scorecard development, and initial recommendations for tactical sales process management and rules of engagement.

In addition, Symmetrics Group partnered with Bunnell Idea Group, who customized its GrowBIG program in order to institutionalize the new behaviors and capabilities required for sustained success in the future.

Lastly, we developed an implementation roadmap and initial change management strategy to guide the timing and sequencing of the organization structure roll out over the next 12-18 months.


The timing of the rollout has been paused pending the onboarding of new senior leadership; the organizational assessment, recommendations and roadmap will serve as valuable resources to help new leadership quickly get up to speed and determine next steps once they are in place.


We made many decisions in 2014.  I know our decision to work with you was one of the best.

– Feedback from CFO (one of the project sponsors)

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