How to transform to agile high performance selling
In our previous article, we talked about a growing imperative for transformation as organisations grapple with changing customer demands, growing complexity, and lacklustre performance. We talked about the power of agile work practices to unlock innovation and high performance, and we looked at how humans are tailor made to deliver value in these uncertain times.
The momentum towards agile work practices continues to grow with over 37% of organisations saying they have multiple programmes underway across customer experience, sales, innovation and product management. However, implementing complex change of this nature can be challenging. This is especially true in large organisations with entrenched ways of working. A recent study by McKinsey, showed that 70% of all transformations fail due to an inability to align people, strategy and technology to scale change across the organisation.
In the meantime, customer frustration continues to grow as sales performance stagnates. Deal win rates are now as low as 15-20% in some industries with as many as 50% of reps miss quota on a regular basis. It’s perhaps not surprising that many leaders have become disillusioned with costly consultancy-led programmes that are often complicated to implement and deliver only modest improvements.
In this article I’ll talk about why I believe we are in a new era of sales transformation success; one that combines a deep knowledge of performance psychology and agile work practices with technology and insights, to deliver lasting transformation. I’ll talk about the characteristics of agile high performance organisations and how to create a cohesive strategy to embed agile practices into your commercial organisation.
Transform to Agile High Performance Selling
The benefits of agile are clear. 81% of companies who transform to agile work practices experience an average of 1.5 times higher performance against financial measures. However, when it comes to embedding agile practices across the commercial organisation, most businesses falter. Leaders continue to prioritise short-term revenue goals and find it difficult to break away and plan for long-term success. They struggle to find that tricky balance between tactical execution and strategic mission. As a result, many change initiatives remain localised, disconnected and deliver only short-term changes that tend to quickly dissipate.
To avoid these problems, it’s important to take a whole-system approach to transformation. Bring stakeholders together to create a collective strategy for success. Take time-out to reimagine the future. Define what success looks like for customers and employees. Detail-out how to get there. What are the measures of success everyone can align to? What tools and technologies are needed to embed new behaviours? What insights will enable leaders to sustain change? A holistic approach across people, processes and technology is key to success.
To help visualise this future- let’s take a look at 3 characteristics of agile high performing organisations that I believe are the future of B2B sales:
High Performance Culture – Empowered and Autonomous Teams
In a high performance culture, hierarchy gives way to partnership and collaboration as leaders recognise the need for more responsive organisations and teams. Top-down command structures are deemed no longer fit for purpose as managers refocus on enablement and coaching. Teams share a common purpose and are aligned to the same goals. They are empowered to make autonomous decisions and there is a high degree of trust and accountability. Success and recognition are shared – “we are successful together”. The focus moves from short-term goals to strategic value and long-term success.
Continuous Learning & Capability Building
Leaders recognise the value of continuous learning to unlock innovation and customer value. There is a focus on individual and team capability building. Teams are enabled to take control of their own development with performance insights and learning recommendations. Learning is continuous and in the flow of work. There is a high degree of intrinsic motivation as teams develop new capabilities that are valued by the business. Individuals and teams realise their full potential.
Technology & Insight Enabled
Companies use adaptive systems to underpin agile work practices. Teams are coordinated around the customer journey. There is clarity of roles and responsibilities across the workflow. Teams are guided with standardised best-practice workflows and performance insights. There are clearly defined measures of success (verifiable outcomes) that enable teams to make informed decisions regarding their own performance. There is a focus on quality and customer experience. Leaders can capture and scale new learnings and innovations across the organisation.