Whether it’s the merger of two sales organizations or a completely new go-to-market strategy, a sales transformation is a herculean task. Months of preparation, thousands of hours of design sessions, aggressive yet diligent planning all lead to a “BIG REVEAL” to the sales organization. This announcement of a new world order comes with much hype and fanfare. When done correctly, the energy in the auditorium (virtual or in-person) teems with excitement. Sellers see inspiring leader messages, new opportunities, banners with pithy vision statements and … perhaps even confetti cannons!
At Alexander Group, we have been a part of scores of sales transformation kickoffs. A common theme is that leaders, consumed with the change-planning process, forget about the “day after hangover.” This phenomenon, characterized by uncertainty, distrust and a dash of fear, strikes nearly every seller impacted by the transformation the moment he or she returns to the field.
We have found a remedy for this paralyzing condition – the Jumpstart Playbook.
This highly focused and extremely practical sales playbook is a great tool for sales reps as they start the first day of their new lives. It keeps them focused on what is important and reassures them through the inevitable period of doubt.
Great Jumpstart Playbooks contain just a few core components and are quite straightforward in their construction. In other words, you don’t have to overthink this one.
Your Jumpstart Playbook should start with a message from the senior executive to remind each seller of both the how and why you are transforming. Believe it or not (and to the chagrin of the marketing guru who came up with the pithy vision statement), many reps don’t internalize the reason for the change. A simple cover letter with the strategic plan and the value that you will deliver to your clients and their customers is key to reinforcement of the plan.
A good way to avoid the post-launch revenue dip often observed with a transformation is to keep your reps focused on their top priorities. When they wake up each morning, reps need to know the three or four most important things they should do. Teaching new behaviors requires a simple repetitive process. Make sure these priorities are clear, so your reps do not start misinterpreting your vision and creating their own strategies.
Beyond those three to four key focus areas, it is important to provide a detailed how-to guide for the most important play in the strategy. Whether you are repositioning the organization for service-led sales, focusing on a more choreographed enterprise sales effort or launching a new product, best-practice Jumpstart Playbooks include a prescriptive guide. This “level-three” detail goes beyond your sales process steps and activity description by giving detailed directions on how to execute the new play.
[DESIGN TIP: When your change in behavior is big or your sales team is deficient in these new skills, spend the majority of your playbook creation time here.]
If your transformation includes the introduction of new team members or more complex client handoffs, you should provide a clear set of rules of engagement. A good way to show these rules is through a visual that demonstrates responsibility and accountability through each step of your sales process.
Wrap up your Jumpstart Playbook with a set of Frequently Asked Questions and a directory of supporters. Use a number of front-line sales managers who are “in-the-know” to help craft the most likely asked questions and (more importantly) leadership responses.
[DESIGN TIP: Don’t avoid hot-button issues, including any sales compensation impacts associated with your transformation in your FAQs. Do include an internal hot-line to a senior leadership team for any other FAQ that may not be addressed.]
You can ensure winning results from your sales transformation using this straightforward, simple tool.
Learn more about how you can better execute your sales vision through playbooks and listen to last month’s webinar.