The Sales Transformation Dilemma – To Tweak or To Transform?

By Michael Perla on Nov 11, 2016

"Sometimes a tweak (delivered through training or a new tool) is all a sales force needs; other times, a full-bore transformation is in order."

The quote above was part of a book I co-authored with Warren Shiver entitled the 7 Steps to Sales Force Transformation. In the book, one topic we discuss is the difference between a sales force transformation and a tweak. Since the book release in January, we have received a lot of questions around tweaks versus transformations. What exactly do we mean by sales force transformation? As a sales leader, what are some qualifying questions I can ask that help me assess if a transformation -- or a tweak in the right areas -- is the right approach?

In response to these great questions, we have created additional tools and resources for sales leaders to understand the difference between these two options and which would have the best impact on their sales organizations.

First off, a few definitions from the book are in order:

  • A sales force transformation is a holistic and multidimensional program, one that touches on every part of an organization, not just sales, and that fundamentally changes the way a sales force sells
  • A tweak is a smaller, incremental change, such as a new training program or tool

As part of qualifying your transformation and determining whether you need to embark on a sales transformation or just a tweak, we identified some key questions to ask yourself: 

  1. Is the solution to your sales challenge mostly addressable by training?
  2. Will technology alone help you meet the challenge?
  3. Would a one-time event, such as a team meeting or leadership off-site, help solve the challenge?
  4. What is the gap between your ideal state and what you’ve got now?

In a nutshell, if you can solve your sales challenge by implementing a training program or new technology, or the gap between where you are today and where you want to be is not that large, you should probably just execute a tweak. As we state in the book, a sales transformation is not a journey for the fainthearted. Transformation requires staying power, consistency, and commitment from sales and executive leadership, never mind a significant investment of time, money, and effort.

In addition to the qualifying questions above, we’ve created a simple diagnostic that consists of twenty questions with which to rate your sales organization. The output will help you determine if a tweak or transformation makes the most sense. The diagnostic shouldn’t take more than five to ten minutes, and the results include some graphs and general recommendations around a transformation versus a tweak. At a minimum, it will help to engender some important conversations internally as to the status and health of your sales organization. 

You can download the diagnostic here or click the image link below.

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If you're interested in engaging your sales managers in a discussion around sales force transformation, consider incorporating our 7 Steps to Sales Force Transformation book in your Sales Kick-off activities. You can buy our book on Amazon here or click the link below.

Buy the 7 Steps to Sales Force Transformation Book

 

Michael Perla

Written by Michael Perla

Michael Perla is a strategic leader and co-author of Symmetrics Group’s book "7 Steps to Sales Force Transformation." Michael specializes in providing actionable insights to marketing and sales organizations to help them increase pipelines, win ratios and productivity. Having sold and led projects with the Global 50 to Fortune 1000 companies, Michael provides the analytical rigor of a financial analyst with the holistic skills of a strategist to help Symmetrics Group clients improve marketing or sales performance. He has worked as a sales overlay, head of sales operations, and head of strategic marketing planning, in addition to a sales effectiveness consultant. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, reading, and watching his kids play sports.

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