Transforming your sales organization is a commitment and investment often requiring a cultural shift. Changing culture is challenging but doable. When we think about transformations that have failed, there may be multiple reasons, but often the root cause for failure is that only one person was driving the change.
Executives and sales leaders often are the first to see the need for change and can quickly assess and determine what is required. When taking on a sales transformation project, we consistently see success when the leader creates a team to assist with leading the change effort. In his book Leading Change, John Kotter refers to this group as the ‘Guiding Coalition.’
Here are the first steps when beginning a sales transformation journey:
1- Ensure you have a clear vision and strategy (see our previous post on this subject).
2- Build a guiding coalition.
- For a sales transformation to take root, it must first receive widespread acceptance. This guiding coalition means getting leaders, influencers, and high-level team members involved before any other steps are taken.
- Your guiding coalition should include individuals from a cross-section of your company. Include leaders from various roles and departments, such as sales, sales enablement, and marketing. You want a good mix of knowledge, credibility, and influence from people who share their opinions, insights, and feedback. Depending on the size of your company, this team may need to be reasonably large.
For a guiding coalition to be effective, three key aspects will add power to their role:
1- Define the change:
This team needs to come into the transformation process on the front end to be involved in defining the program’s goals and direction. This group must buy into the “Why Change?”. If they are not involved initially, you may have an uphill battle to get their buy-in later.
2- Design the program:
Get the team involved in designing your strategy and change program. As they engage in discussions and meetings, they will more easily see the needs, understand where the organization needs to go, and help design how to get there.
3- Stay on course:
Once your transformation is designed and launched, the role of the guiding coalition isn’t over. This team’s involvement after the launch is just as critical. The alliance offers its support post-launch, celebrates wins, determines needed mid-course corrections, and serves as the internal advocate for the transformation across the company.
To read more about guiding coalitions and the other steps to a successful sales transformation, download our white paper, “7 Steps to a Successful Sales Transformation.”