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Role of senior management in sales transformation

Lots of articles have been written about how CRM, organizational investments, and other areas affect outcome of sales transformation. In our view, senior management plays a vital role in successful sales transformation. They need to get involved in planning, transition, roll out and measurement to ensure sustainable outcomes. Sales transformation offer a window to realign the resources, process, policies, products and services that have outlived their value. Some accounts may require trimming, strategic accounts may require fresh investments and sales coverage may require additional resources. Sales transformation may necessitate bringing in senior resources from outside which may pose resistance, especially from long term employees and founding partners. New skill sets and engagement models may be required to drive the expected outcomes. Some roles may vanish, informal reporting may be replaced with formal reporting systems, and performance metrics may become more pronounced. Senior management must lend their support to make appropriate changes in the incentive systems, reporting and review mechanisms and empowerment of middle managers. Incentives requires buy-in at all levels, group incentives may require clear policy, precise communications and measurements.

A key area top management must get involved is understanding how account management and client engagements are changing and how key relationships are being preserved and sustained in the transformation process. They must also be involved in the town hall meets to quell any apprehensions people may have across different departments. Sales transformation may not only require IT investments, but also administrative process. Senior management can play a role in supporting and legitimizing any administrative innovation.  A key role senior management plays in sales transformation is in review and ensuring adherence to plans. Sales transformation would require people to break past habits, take initiative to fill and update data and use the insights to improve their working. Some resources may need a nudge to align with the expectations, and if required, shed some of the responsibilities if continuously stalling the progress or under-investing in team outcomes.

Putting their weight behind the decision is a first thing management must practice. Senior management play key role in creating resources for transformation, marketing and legitimization of sales transformation. Anything short affects the outcome of sales transformation.