3 Steps to Sales Transformation

Guest columnist Bob Nicols Jr. explains how to transform your sales approach and jump-start your earnings by focusing on customer needs

Bob Nicols Jr
February 8, 2012

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For the last several years, the focus for business management has been finding ways to cut costs. There has been no shortage of highly skilled individuals with a significant level of expertise and experience cutting every possible penny of expense from business operations.

Now, senior leadership is realizing there is little left to cut. Top-line revenue is becoming the primary focus. Companies are turning to their sales organizations in an effort to find ways in which to differentiate their offerings and drive profitable sales growth. As a result, “Sales Transformation” has become the catch phrase for many C-level executives.

Unfortunately, if you ask 10 different executives what “Sales Transformation” means, you may get 10 different answers. As a result, few, if any, have successfully transformed. Sales are still flat, margins continue to erode, and sales-force turnover remains high.

Traditionally, increasing sales meant finding ways in which companies differentiate products and service. Being faster, better, more feature rich, and cost effective are differences that drive product strategies, R&D efforts, marketing and advertising campaigns, sales approaches and collateral materials.

But, oh, how things have changed.

“It doesn’t matter what products you buy. Most products are now good enough to serve the majority of users most of the time,” says Simon Hayward, VP and Gartner Fellow.

Most products, especially those from the technology sector, do more than the average customer could ever use. Product manuals are inches thick. Just the number of features and functions, in some cases, make them too overwhelming to consider.

What is Sales Transformation?

Increasing sales isn’t dependent on a company’s ability to produce differentiated products and services, but how they engage and interact with their customers to become the best partner possible.

That’s right. It’s not about introducing the “next big thing.” (We can’t all be Apple.) In order to gain market share and protect/grow existing customer relationships, organizations must affect a shift in perception among their prospects and customers.  They must move from being perceived as an “Approved Vendor” to being viewed as a “Trusted Advisor/Partner.”