The three levels of sales transformation

By Anders Björklund

The three levels of sales transformation

Changing an entire company's sales and commercial behaviours requires time, genuine commitment, and a flexible plan for adjustments that improve results. However, a well-thought-out approach with clear initiatives creates a transformation that accelerates growth and powers valuable exits for growing companies—successful transformation results from coordinated efforts to reinforce behaviour change within the sales team and organisation.

I work with several decision-makers and sales leaders, supporting them to drive change and transformation that begins with the right sales capabilities, motivation and mindset. This experience has shown me that success can take various forms, depending on operationalising and reinforcing the actions. The variable degrees of effort result in three levels of sales and commercial transformation:

Individual transformation

Individual transformation happens when minimal alignment across your functions and teams occurs. There may be opportunities for continual reinforcement, but few people and teams take advantage of them. Only individuals who take large-scale training events seriously are the ones who now reap the benefits of implementing the new sales methodology that their company has chosen to adopt.

These individuals understood the value of changing behaviours and are now doing the tasks that change the outcome. For this reason, success happens at an individual level. For example, the sales transformation initiative changes the behaviour of a limited number of sales reps across your company, enabling these individuals with the mindset, sales skills, and capabilities to improve performance. 

As the leadership team, you will see success through individual benchmarks. Then, depending on the size of your company, those exceeded quotas and record-setting deals can bring overall revenue success. You have some salespeople providing momentum in the sales teams and organisation, but essential gaps must be filled for your company to grow and scale in the desired direction. 

Team transformation

Team transformation happens when a sales initiative results from more than just a few individuals. With this outcome, you have changed the behaviour of whole teams, divisions or territories. 

A few divisions might have improved sales performance, but others still dealt with the same setbacks that hindered numbers before the initiative. The parts that show improvements likely have managers and sales reps working together to reinforce behaviours, boost and coach new skills and validate successes. But, these parts are operating in silos. As a result, some teams show consistent growth and improvement, but the business success could be better across-the-board. 

Most leaders see success through siloed pockets of growth. Thanks to these successful teams, the initiative's ROI (Return on investment) may even be there, but as a leader, you must see overall success across your company. If you implement a phased approach to improve or evolve the sales approach, your siloed challenges and results will amplify. The implication is that your executive leadership must decide between moving forward with decreasing success rates or backtracking to bring the entire company up to speed and prepared to move to the next phase.

Organisational transformation

This transformation happens when your sales organisation builds the needed capabilities within their sales teams, motivates and fosters cross-functional alignment around the target buyers, and builds a continual reinforcement process embraced by the entire company. With this outcome, you have changed behaviours across your entire sales organisation and supporting departments.

In this transformation, your leaders and managers actively leverage and take the lead from the front and hold their colleagues accountable for consistent execution and adoption of the initiative. All other departments interacting with sales and buyers (e.g., service, marketing, customer success) are aligned and fully integrated with your company-wide goals and approaches. Reinforcement of changed sales behaviours happens beyond your sales organisation, helping to bring consistency to the new way of working. This cross-functional alignment and continual support come from understanding the value of the changed behaviour, process and approach. The better, the more people who know why they are doing things differently and are committed to achieving the desired and expected result. 

In this transformation sales initiative, KPIs are met or even exceeded. You see success beyond the sales team. Your company's executive team sees additional value in improving the sales approach. Your plans to further invest in enabling a revenue-driving sales organisation can now be developed and implemented similarly to scale sales success and accelerate business value.

How to achieve organisational sales transformation

No matter the transformation level, the outcomes from all three options are favourable. However, organisational transformation should be the goal to build resilience within your sales organisation. It's the only way to ensure the new or evolved sales behaviours stick in a way that helps the company thrive and scale.

Still, organisational transformation can only happen with widespread behaviour change. For example, suppose the goal of your transformation is increased revenue and stability in the marketplace. In that case, it should involve building a resilient salesforce that can maintain momentum, adjust to a buyer's changing needs, and perform in an elite way.

The three sales transformation results

I've included it for you. Our PowerPoint slides on three sales transformation results. Then, could you copy it to your PowerPoint template and go through it with colleagues, sales and decision-makers to support conversations around implementing new sales behaviours and processes? 

If you're about to gear up to launch something new in your sales organisation, these PowerPoint slides will support your next steps in establishing a new sales initiative.

Download our free PowerPoint slides

Download our free PowerPoint slides

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Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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