Change is hard. That’s why the diet industry earns $40 billion in revenue annually, gym memberships spike every New Year, and celebrities consistently check back into rehab. If it’s this hard to make personal changes, imagine the difficulty of successfully engaging hundreds, or even thousands of sales reps, each with their own personal goals and agendas.
If you’ve been a sales manager for over 3 years, chances are your buyer’s Purchase Process has already changed, and you need to change your sales process. While there is no shortage on change management books, a recent book, “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath, does a nice job of capturing the critical elements. I’ll highlight several key steps they mention to make change more likely to gain permanence using two companies (A and B).
- Script the Critical Moves: Company A: Outlined a robust new Sales Process, distributed slides with the correct steps, and revisited the process 3 months later. Company B: Produced a physical playbook for the reps following a presentation, built the critical steps relevant to each sales stage into their CRM system, and gave every Rep a laminated card outlining critical steps in each stage. They met every two weeks to discuss each sales stage.
- Shrink the Change: Company A: Expected 100% compliance with new sales steps within 6 weeks, and introduced the entire process at once. Company B: Rolled out sales process one stage at time every two weeks, starting with the first. Each new stage was expected to gain 100% utilization at the end of these two weeks, with the entire rollout process lasting approximately 12 weeks.
- Tweak the Environment: Company A: Asked reps to follow the sales process using pen and paper for the first 3 months, and enter new sales stages manually into their CRM system. Company B: Built a new CRM system interface around the sales process, with instructions for each specific step. Furthermore, in order to advance the customer to the next sales stage, specific questions about the customer had to be answered, ensuring compliance.
Guess which company achieved 121% of their revenue target and had a 98% compliance rate in 12 months? As we like to say at Sales Benchmark Index, Effectiveness=Quality*Adoption.
- Make sure the work you put in up front is supported by strong sales process execution at rollout.
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