January 31st, 2012

Successful Change Management with Verifiable Outcomes

Last week, I shared how sales organizations can stop driving with their rear-view mirror and turn on their headlights with predictive analytics. At Richardson, we call them verifiable outcomes.

But the sales shoe is not one-size-fits-all. Companies set themselves up for failure when they impose best-in-class sales processes on their reps and managers. Distraction and pushback from the field can stall improvement and create a hiccup in revenue and earnings.

As one sales leader said, ideas drive technology. Technology drives change. And change drives us crazy unless we prepare our A, B and C players for change.

At Richardson, we’ve found it works best to enhance existing best practices with solid, relevant processes that appear native from the outset. Successful and sustainable deployment must navigate multiple situational, cultural and geographical factors in five several key ways. I share three below. You can access the other two in Richardson’s whitepaper or watch this 2-minute sales training video.

Measure the Frequency of Association of Each Verifiable Outcome

The idea is to isolate and substitute your most meaningful metrics for less effective ones. Stop tracking activities. In the first year, we advocate looking at the frequency of association of each verifiable outcome with an opportunity. Over time, frequency equals adoption.

Vertically Embed a Leadership Discipline Across the Entire Organization

Most senior executives we speak to routinely travel with field sales professionals and sales managers on key calls to clients. This is an ideal opportunity to ask qualitative questions about verifiable outcomes. Where is the opportunity in the sales process? Being relentless about pipeline quality shows leaders where the greatest opportunity for enduring change lies.

  • What we seen that’s worked: Companies success when they implement skip-level meetings between senior executives and the line, as well as direct contact with customers. They gain accurate visibility into their pipeline quality, and alter their strategies to close more deals before it’s too late.
  • Further reading:

Track, measure, and use data

Change management happens when you know what to change. This insight comes from capturing, analyzing, and acting on the right set of data.

It has been our experience that an appropriate number of leading indicators, or verifiable outcomes, is between nine and 12 for a robust, solution-centric sales process. Clearly, it is also important to measure a few essential lagging indicators. We’ve found that many companies challenge their existing lagging indicators after they begin to examine their processes and sales effectiveness metrics.

  • What we’ve seen that’s worked: Sales reps sell to their sales comp plans, so companies excel in selling when they incorporate quantifiable goals into their incentive compensation strategy. The most successful enterprises use a robust set of SPIFs and MBOs to motivate the sales behavior they want.
  • Further reading:

Using Verifiable Outcomes Helps You Lead Not Lag

When you have the power to predict, you can course-correct before it’s too late. But sales orgs that don’t swap lagging indicators out for leading indicators will rapidly take the lead in front of their competitors. Sales orgs that don’t will soon find themselves lagging behind.

Why lag when you can lead?

DOWNLOAD OUR FULL ARTICLE – Using Verifiable Outcomes in the Sales Process to Change and Track Behavior!

About The Author: David J. DiStefano

David DiStefano is a seasoned executive with nearly three decades of successful senior management experience with both early-stage and global organizations. Over his career David has managed finance, operations, sales, and demand generation functions. For the last 17 years, David has been instrumental in leading Richardson to its place as a premier global sales performance organization.

David J. DiStefano

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