Archives for posts with tag: Change Management

Do you want to be more successful at B2B sales and marketing? Then you need to do three things.

First, figure out how your customers want to buy from you. What do they want to do, when, in what order? If you don’t know, ask them. If they don’t know, consult with them and help them.

Second, map your roles, processes and systems to how they want to buy, so you can deliver that perfect buying journey for them. Then, adapt your roles, processes and systems accordingly.

Third, involve your people in steps one and two so they understand why it’s in everyone’s interest to adapt and come up with some great suggestions for how they can best get there.

Go map yourself. You’ll be glad you did. But not as glad as your customers. In some cases they may not buy what you have very often, and so you have to listen to what they’re trying to do and guide them through the steps they need to get there.

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Change is hard. We all know that, as individuals and companies. People naturally resist any changes that break their routine, especially if they don’t understand or buy into the reasons.

At the same time, you can’t simply draw a line in the sand and expect people to change the way they do things overnight. It’s not in their nature, and it’s not in the interests of their business.

That’s because they have a job to do, objectives to meet, targets to hit, or a business to run. The clock doesn’t stop running while we try something different.

Successfully changing the way people do things is a very delicate balance between small, consumable exposures to the new ways and getting the day job done. That way you can effect a smooth, gradual, and above all measured transition that has a strong chance of being successful. You give people the chance to help shape the new ways and the time to ease into the process. Then the knife edge of change management is cutting for you, not into you.

Most companies tend to study the traditional barometers of performance, such as revenues, revenues as a percentage of targets, and quota attainment as a percentage of salesperson sales quota.

These are your classic ‘lag’ indicators. They lag because they typically come a few days after a reporting period closes, with the lag occurring as companies wait for the final numbers and do their calculations.

Lag indicators are concrete, illustrative and unchanging. But they also indicate performance in a period in the past, one that you can’t change or influence.

Leading indicators do what you think they might, namely give an indication of future performance. The size of your sales pipeline, for example, gives you a sense of how close you are to achieving your sales targets, given what you know about your sales cycle and your conversion rates.

Other lead indicators might be behavioural, especially if you’re looking to measure the new behaviours you want to see if you are to change the way you do things.

This is the power of leading indicators. You don’t have to wait for the lag indicators to see if you’re making progress, because then it might be too late. You can monitor the leading indicators and either confirm you’re on track, or make the necessary alterations and correct your course before it’s too late.

Whenever you try to improve the way you or your company does things, you’re into the business of change. More importantly, the business of changing behaviours, those engrained activities that increase comfort and save time, without necessarily upping productivity or success.

An awful lot of initiatives to change the way we do things come unstuck, and if you believe the research, the success rate can be as low as 30 to 50%. Why is this? A bunch of possible causes contribute. People are set in their ways, or they actively resist change, or the company doesn’t get a host of other things right.

To look at this the other way, and from a more positive angle, there is some first class research from McKinsey about what conditions need to be in place for change to occur successfully. In short these are:

1) A purpose to believe in. Folk have to buy in to what you’re trying to do

2) Reinforcement systems. Front line managers have to coach to the new behaviours

3) The skills required for change. We learn by doing, and doing repeatedly, to acquire the new skills

4) Consistent role models. Seeing people you look up to doing things the new way pays dividends

So there you have it. Easy to blog about, harder to do. Get buy in, reinforce what you’re looking to see, practice makes perfect, and let the leaders lead the way. For more on this excellent research, have a look here.