Done properly, change management can get you through some big transitions: an overhaul of staff when the sales team is regularly failing to meet their goals; shifts in the market that require your sales department to adapt; or the launch of a new line of products or services.
Besides the obvious boosts to revenue that comes with successfully targeting new customer bases, improving sales skills training and hiring eager new sales reps, there are additional benefits from change management that you’ll likely experience.
1. The need for change is acknowledged
While some sales reps will see change as an intrusive disruption to the way things have always been done, others will welcome the change.
So, while it’s sometimes difficult to convince longtime employees that change can be good, it’s even harder to retain good sales reps that continue to be frustrated by a broken system or management that isn’t willing to implement improvements.
Change management helps acknowledge the need for adjustments that address communication, structural and procedural issues, allowing sales reps to focus on selling.
2. Intra and inter-department communication is improved
Communication isn’t just something learned in sales skills training to teach sales teams to work with customers. It’s also a skill that sales reps need to work with one another, sales management and other departments.
Change management can help when new cross-department sales enablement tools are put into practice. From defining qualified leads to addressing task assignments, good leadership can help lay the foundation for improved communication among teams and across departments.
Although changes to the sales department should primarily be suggested and developed by current sales team members, getting input from other departments can be vital. Advertising, human resources and IT can all play a role in sales in some form, whether it’s drumming up leads, hiring, approving a budget for sales skills training or choosing new sales enablement technology.
3. Processes are streamlined
As businesses change, develop and grow, so too do sales processes. Sometimes that means new technology is added and sales reps need to be not only taught how the new software, mobile devices or sales skills training webinars work, but also how they’re bettering processes and procedures.
Forecasting may have to change due to the adoption of predictive technologies, sales models may need to be tweaked to fit customer preferences, and sales skills training may eventually require reinforcement as better analytics points out where sales funnels are bottlenecking. But good change management leaders know that gradual changes to processes will lessen the blow for employees who may worry that too much is happening too fast.
Transitions can be overwhelming and frustrating to employees, but the right change management and gradual implementation can help ensure that the team members keep their eyes on the end result.
4. Employee satisfaction, loyalty and commissions increase
Investment in self-interest—through greater commissions, promotions or recognition—can be good to counter reluctance surrounding change.
When sales reps can recognize the potential for personal gain, they can see change as an opportunity. The more satisfied an employee, the greater their loyalty to the company.
Another way to lessen the negative impact of change is by including employees in the research, suggestions and decisions. Who better to give you the lowdown on what’s broken and possible fixes than those who are directly involved in the current system? Teams that feel like they’re on the cutting edge of their industry may become more excited about new systems and approaches.
Setting up small teams to brainstorm on ways to beat out the competition or research new sales enablement tools can boost morale by allowing employees to feel involved and valued. In addition, peer-recommended changes are often better received and more easily adopted than those brought in by change management leaders who may be viewed as outsiders.
5. Customer satisfaction is boosted
Better sales teams, resources and structure create more satisfied customers, and happy customers are likely to spend more, refer your business and generally be strong brand ambassadors.
Change management can also be viewed from the outside, and customers may appreciate that their comments and concerns are being heard and addressed. Some companies even choose to publicize their changes, crediting customer feedback for the improvements.
You can expect that your sales team that may be resistant to new processes, technology, team restructuring and leadership, but the right change management can address their concerns. Even a reluctant sales team will likely get on board if they’re involved in the brainstorming and decisions, they can see the benefits and the changes are made gradually.
Also read Change Management: Kotter’s 8 Steps.