Many organisations are looking to transform the performance of their sales teams. Whether due to competitive pressures, uncertain economic conditions, new disruptive technologies, more sophisticated and better informed customers, or a whole host of other pressures, companies are realising the need for change. Large-scale change is never easy, so approaching it from the right direction and with the right focus is essential for success.
The key is enabling senior sales executives to improve sales performance by realigning their strategic resources, harnessing sales talent, and optimising their sales operations. So as the sales leader, the first question that needs to be answered is what role will you play in leading and managing your team through this change? What do you need to do differently? How do you need to change?
In any organisational change developing clarity about what change is actually required and obtaining ‘buy-in’ from the organisation through clear communication and robust implementation strategies is a necessary part of the leaders role.
Your people on the front line are your businesses' voice. Focusing on the sales force is of absolute importance. There is a long list of potential programme elements that need to be considered, and the need to up-skill and develop the sales force is fundamental to any organisations success.
And it’s not all about training. It has been estimated that in general only 10% of classroom training ever gets transferred to the workplace, and at best only has a short-term effect on performance. This is because of a failure to consistently implement, apply and reinforce what has been learnt.
My programmes focus on processes, role definition, productivity markers and obtaining ‘buy-in’ from everybody involved. They are delivered through an in-depth understanding of your company's needs and then applying best practices that have been established through considerable business experience.
The start of the global financial crisis in 2008 exposed some real challenges for Vodafone.
Exiting the year at minus 7% service revenue growth, they were facing increasing competitive pressure as well as tough economic conditions.
Vodafone realised that they had to focus on capability within their Enterprise Transformation programme, with a goal of ensuring the whole salesforce was geared up to meet the challenges ahead and turn around the performance of the organisation.
Using the experience gained at Accenture, helping organisations transform and improve their sales performance, I lead a diagnostic review, set out the goals and developed the strategic plan to create a high performing sales force.
This involved an overhaul of the sales process, introducing a single, consistent sales methodology and behavioural framework. To ensure the programme embedded, I introduced a leadership capability programme for the senior sales team to help them to coach and instill the new ways of working, supported by the implementation of salesforce.com.
The whole work stream supported a salesforce of more then 650 people and was implemented over an 18-month period. The success of the programme was recognised in the performance of the business and externally as an award winning programme accredited and endorsed by the Institute of Sales and Marketing. Vodafone saw their service revenues grow in FY 2010/11 to plus 8% and it is on record that this was the first time in 7-years that they had outperformed their main competitor O2.
Investing this way in people produces significant business performance results and has a lasting positive impact on employee engagement and therefore customer experience, as Vodafone saw through their annual People Survey.
When Vodafone UK Enterprise wanted to transform its sales force to move away from traditional core mobile sales into an new era of unified communication solutions selling, it was clear that a full scale change programme to develop sales capability was required. Simon successfully spearheaded an Award Winning development programme, The Vodafone Way of Selling, designed to build abilities at both front line and leadership level, to sell new ways of working to meet the needs of customers rapidly growing Information Communications Technology requirements. The programme itself was recognised for excellence by the Institute of Sales & Marketing and resulted in increased sales revenues and engagement.
Simon went above and beyond what was expected from the programme design, always with a balance of people and business results in mind and his belief in providing people with the opportunity to perform at their best clearly shined through.