Once an organization’s leaders set their sights on a sales force transformation, they commit to fundamentally change the way the sales force sells. To be successful, this dramatic shift requires the input and support of many cross-functional teams, including IT.
In “7 Steps to Sales Force Transformation,” authors Warren Shiver and Michael Perla lay out the course of action required for an organization embarking on this change. Among other things, this entails implementing a sales process that aligns with how your customers buy your products and services and then, in most cases, automating this process to build a robust pipeline and ultimately generate more revenue. Without IT’s involvement, automation of the process is impossible, and without IT’s ongoing support, expecting change to stick across the organization is unrealistic.
As with any change initiative, the earlier that IT can become involved in the transformation plans, the better. Otherwise, IT runs the risk of failing to meet expectations and possibly derailing the transformation efforts.
Here are five keys Shiver and Perla say you must keep in mind when it comes to IT’s role in a successful sales force transformation.
Warren Shiver and Michael Perla are the authors of “7 Steps to Sales Force Transformation: Driving Sustainable Change in Your Organization” (Palgrave MacMillan). Warren Shiver is the founder and managing partner of Symmetrics Group and has more than 20 years of sales, management and consulting experience. Michael Perla is a principal with Symmetrics Group, and has more than 20 years of sales effectiveness consulting and strategic marketing experience.
Building a Successful Sales Force Transformation
Click through for five key elements organizations must keep in mind when it comes to IT’s role in a successful sales force transformation.
Sales Can’t Be an Island
Successful sales transformations require input and support from many departments, including IT. Make sure that you maintain an open line of communication with sales leaders to keep a pulse on technology requirements, or you might find yourself in a precarious position during implementation, unable to meet expectations.
Automation Can Be Complicated
During a sales transformation, IT is often expected to automate the sales process. Watch out, though, because this can get complicated… especially if the company has grown through a series of acquisitions, and there are multiple sales processes and tools to automate.
Early Involvement Is Necessary
IT leaders should involve themselves early and often in sales force transformation plans to provide input on feasibility of automation requests. If a request doesn’t make sense or isn’t viable for the organization, push back.
Complete the Planning Process First
Unless IT wants to engage in automating multiple iterations of the sales process, make sure that process has been fully defined and vetted before initiating the implementation work.
Focus on the Whole Picture
A CRM implementation does not equal a sales transformation, but it is an integral piece of the puzzle. If the technology doesn’t support the transformation, the company will be hard-pressed to build the robust pipeline needed to generate the desired revenue.