Welcome to the most disruptive time we've seen in technology for decades. As technology and competition continues to accelerate at break-neck speed, only the agile and those who can quickly adapt will survive, says Alison Freer, Associate Partner at sales performance company durhamlane.
The fast-changing business world has forever altered the way we drive revenues. Closing deals is just the beginning of building a high-performance business. It requires impactful leadership, effective partnerships, constant change and innovation, as well as sustainable transformation.
Most corporations understand the need for change. 93% of respondents surveyed for the Forbes Insights/KPMG report 'Business Transformation and the Corporate Agenda' say that they have just completed, are planning or are in the midst of a business transformation. They get the vision right, but the execution is the hard part. Stephen G. Hasty, a KPMG partner, estimates that more than half of companies undertaking transformation fail to achieve the desired business result.
Whether you go the journey yourself, or you get support to fill gaps, to speed up time-to-market for new initiatives, it's a long way to go, Alison Freer says. It requires new processes and organisational structures, but most importantly it needs a reorientation of an entire organisation’s culture. A typical transformation comes with 3 stages: changing mind-sets, changing skill-sets and changing tool-sets. The inconvenient truth about change though is that it never really stops. Just as you think you're through one transformation, another will be needed. It is the adaptive and creative businesses, large and small, who are the ones at the top of the success trajectory. They instinctively know that standing still is never an option in the Digital Age. As economies recover from one recession, they know that another could be just around the corner. The smartest leaders know they need to invest during times of economic optimism and organic growth. Now is the optimum time to implement change, invest in training and development and employ new tools.
Sales is probably the most obvious driver to business success and yet very resistant to change. Over decades the approach to selling was the same and it worked. But in a market where consumers have more choice, access more information and trust is hard won, the expectations and demand of a salesperson’s role is significantly higher.
Customers have dramatically changed learning and buying behaviours. At the same time sales data, tools and analytics are becoming more sophisticated. We are in a new dawn of far more rigorous and data-driven approaches to foundation sales processes, more cross-functional collaboration, and therefore new skill-sets for salespeople and leaders. Make sure the people who are in front of your customers are fully enabled and equipped to perform. But don’t forget, Alison Freer advises, the key to optimising performance lies in working smarter, not harder. That's where the whole organisation needs to be behind generating and delivering on sales, not just the sales team.
durhamlane is partner to clients who have successfully started their business transformation journeys. As experts who truly understand selling, we've supported them to change into genuinely customer-centric organisations. This development needs to be aligned to the customers’ need and their omni-channel information behaviour – in fact, it needs to anticipate them.
Even though constant change is vital, there is one thing that won’t change in business, Alison Freer argues. It is the importance of leading with high value relationships. It means that companies need to find out how to leverage technology, networks and social platforms to speed up success and create greater value for their employers, shareholders and customers.
By Alison Freer, is a leadership development coach and OD specialist, durhamlane. Equipping people with the know-how and confidence to influence brilliantly in their work. As the Associate Partner at business performance specialist durhamlane, Alison has designed a programme called 'Leading at a higher level', delivering bespoke tools and techniques for leaders and their teams to become more productive and more successful regardless of their stage of development.