Restructuring a sales organization is difficult. There are many reasons to do it. Poor performance, acquisition, and changing buyer behaviors proves the list is long. Pulling off a successful reorganization comes down to a few major strategies. To get a perspective, Matt Boice will share his insights. Matt recently went through a sales reorganization at his company.
Matt is the VP of Sales Operations for TEN: The Enthusiast Network. TEN is the premier source of special interest media. This includes brands like Motor Trend and Hot Rod. His sales reps sell advertising into extensions of these brands. He walks us through the restructuring and outcome:
TEN went through a recent reorganization for two main reasons.
- Their business is transitioning to a content creation and media services enterprise. This transition required a need to find a structure that reflected their new business.
- Their owners brought in a new Board of Directors and CEO.
Based on Matt’s interview, we put together a guide to help. Download the Sales Reorganization Tool. It will give you tips and techniques on how to:
- Handle a sales reorganization
- Personally understand your own change needed to be successful
- Provide you a Change Management Framework you can implement
Question: “Matt, when did you first hear about the restructuring?”
Matt: “The key was our CEO. He informed all his direct reports that we needed to rethink our sales organization. This was done through a series of group meetings. Although the CEO was driving a need for change, the Sales EVP embraced it. He made it his own idea. He got us involved early giving him suggestions on what would work.”
Question: “What are the key principals you have learned through this experience?”
Matt: “I found there are several areas that are critical to success:
- Buy into the change and promote it with your direct reports: As a Sales VP you can influence, but you can’t make the final decision. Trust your leaders and buy into the reorganization. Then, communicate early and often. Supporting them daily is the secret to success. Don’t be concerned about making a good impression. Start focusing on your goal day 2.
- Determine how you measure success in the new organization: You have to focus on a few key models. We chose simple ones: Product Segment and Account size. This helped get the sales reps focused on their customers in the new organization. This customer focus will lead with what is most valued by our buyers.”
Matt seemed to know how to handle a reorganization professionally. But how did Matt handle his personal change?
Question: “How did you handle your new geography/territory?”
Matt: “My responsibility didn’t change as much as my customers’ sales representation will change. We have to be sure we use a change management program with our customers. Any account transitions need to go through a detailed Change Management Process. This involves multiple levels of communication through the organization. For example:
- I was personally involved with many of our largest customers and prospects. Now my direct reports (Sales Managers) are involved with large accounts. General Managers are now involved with the product segmented customers. Every customer has leadership representation. This is critical as some customers will be frustrated. Continuing to have leadership enabled us to satisfy our current customer base. Our retention rate is beating expectation as a result.
- We were very transparent with our customers. Tell them the full story about why we did what we did. Don’t hold back because short term gain will result in long term disruption.”
Matt has been great in revealing what made him and his organization successful. I asked him one final question for a call to action:
Question: “What are the three key take-aways from your experience?”
Matt: “The three key areas everyone should be aware of when restructuring are:
- Understand you are going through a change yourself. Things will not be the same as before. Work each day through the documented plan. Remember to be flexible though. Things can change suddenly.
- Trust your team. Communicate early and often to your direct reports, colleagues and customers. This will encourage support of the change. The best chance you have at success is through people and skills. Deploy them properly to make the number.
- Don’t second guess yourself. Mistakes will happen. Make sure you don’t get silo’d and focus on what got you there.
Matt also had a comment as I walked out the door of his office. “Dan, make sure you tell your readers to embrace the new structure. The buyer is changing so much that if we didn’t restructure we would lose. Lose more sales, talent and customers.” Going through a restructuring? Is one looming? Download the Sales Reorganization Tool to get proven tips from a successful transition.
Please leave a comment with your successes and failures when you re-organized.