magazine | August 5, 2016
Leading a Successful Sales Transformation
Paul Loftus, vice president of sales and revenue retention at Wolters Kluwer, is responsible for setting and executing the company’s revenue acquisition and retention strategy. Loftus has made a career of sales transformations. That means he implements a complete overhaul of an organization’s sales strategy and capabilities.
His most recent and potentially largest transformation experience has been at Wolters Kluwer, where he leads a team of sales associates. The company’s business and customers have truly evolved and the market has changed. “Not too long ago, we were primarily a publishing organization,” explains Loftus. Now, Wolters Kluwer is primarily a software company. With that type of evolution, everything needed to change.
Sales Process and Methodology
One of the first changes Loftus made was to the sales process and sales methodology. However, instead of scrapping what the company had in place, he tweaked it. “Our sales process was not very clear and a little bit undefined,” says Loftus. “We needed to make it very clear and consistent across the board.” Another major change was made to the organizational model. How did the company determine this? By listening to its customers. Before the transformation,Wolters Kluwer had multiple salespeople selling multiple product lines. It learned that customers wanted to buy all of the company’s products and services from the same person.
In addition, the company launched an inside sales initiative as well as an alliance partnership program. The partnership program was downmarket, and needed people with heavy expertise and a high touch. Finding coverage was tough, but Wolters Kluwer had great success with the launch.
The talent profile also had to evolve. “Now we need a businessperson who is going to change the status quo,” Loftus explains. “It really has to be a person who can drive or even provoke someone to make a change.”
As you can see from the Wolters Kluwer experience, a lot goes into sales transformation. And you will make mistakes along the way. But the key is your reaction. How do you correct missteps? Think through your strategy and set the foundation for a successful transformation.