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Transformation is a bit of a loaded term. When people think of transformation, what comes to mind is a cumbersome, lengthy and painful process. The road to transformation is presumed to be filled with obstacles, with a low probability of success. The idea of your company going through something so jarring is understandably scary. But that’s not what transformation has to be.

There are countless ways that something can “transform” (which means “to change (something) completely and usually in a good way”). The shy public speaker finding her passion and using it to create a platform for motivation and education. Re-engineering the layout of an office to foster more collaboration and encourage the formation of cross-functional work groups. The small buds of grass peeking through the barren field after a long winter. Transformation can happen through small or gradual changes that yield potentially huge results. Less scary, right?

A few months go, at our annual Transformer Advisory Forum, we had leaders from Fortune-ranked companies share their own transformational experiences. For those who missed it, I wanted to take a moment to explain what we mean when we talk about sales transformation, what it is, what is isn’t and why top companies around the world are shedding their fear of change to embrace transformation.

What Is Sales Transformation?

The gap between sales and marketing creates a chasm between your company’s value and what your customers think your company’s value is. Failure to align these two critical teams has a measurable impact on your long-term success: a loss of 10% or more of your annual revenue. Through sales transformation efforts, you can bridge the gap, align both teams towards mutual success and deliver the full picture of your company’s vision to value.

To understand how to deliver that value, it’s key to understand where that value can get lost, including:

    • Watered down impact as a result of anchoring onto a single media format such as PowerPoint slides
    • Destructive client interactions resulting from field sales reps not being able to find up-to-date and relevant content
    • Lost opportunity in providing consultative direction due to generic and linear sales content

Sales transformation should be anchored on empowering both sales reps and marketers with strategies and solutions that ensure your full value proposition is delivered throughout the entire buying process and beyond. Empowerment means giving your reps the ability to:

    • Use whatever format (e.g., video, image, brochure) works best for a particular customer and/or a particular situation
    • Deliver the most relevant and recent content while providing marketing with visibility into what is being utilized, what resonates with customers, what’s not working, etc.
    • Connect with customers through modular “story-selling”

Carson Conant, Mediafly’s CEO, recently talked about some of the keys to successful sales transformation. It’s a multi-pronged process driving incremental changes that are amplified with best-fit technology solutions, a focus on sales empowerment and always keeping the customer at the center of all efforts.

One of the first factors to success is finding a tool that all the stakeholders will love:

    • IT, who manages the technology and integrates it with other software
    • Marketing, who understands the power of moving beyond content management to content distribution and how they can drive sales/customer connections through the use of innovative content formats
    • Sales, who are the face of your company and the storytellers of your vision.

When these groups embrace transformation, and don’t just tolerate it, it assures that change won’t be a flash in the pan, but will positively impact the bottom line.

What Sales Transformation Isn’t

Sales transformation won’t turn your company upside down.

It won’t make you change your whole sales process.

You won’t have to throw out the solutions that you have right now.

Let’s continue to focus on technology, the foundation for successful transformation. Take your Content Management System (CMS), for example. Marketers manage the content creation and maintenance process, using folder structures and hierarchies. A CMS is perfect for these use cases, but it’s still a back-end solution, and not ideal for field sales reps. Sales reps think about and leverage content in an unstructured and nonlinear way. So how to do you empower both sides?

Leverage a technology solution that allows for both sales and marketing to do their jobs, the way they want to them. Marketing can continue using the CMS in a structured way and sales can have content delivered so that it’s accessible through a flexible interface. This allows them to pivot and accommodate each unique sales meeting. The solution is essentially built for the way they sell. On the flip side, marketers then know what content works in a sales context: who’s using what, what’s being ignored and what they create more of.

Will it change the way your sales reps sell? Yes! The good news is that this positive change happens organically. By removing the limitations of linear and single format content, sales reps can focus on:

    • delivering the full impact of your company’s vision and value
    • enhancing each and every customer interaction
    • adding value with their own knowledge

Sales transformation will eliminate unnecessary elements of your current process and reduce the administrative burdens hindering reps, all while enhancing what is working well so every sales rep can deliver the perfect selling experience to every customer.

Learn how one major Consumer Product Goods (CPG) company saved over 100,000 hours in admin time with sales transformation. Download the Clutch report today.

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By Lou Barreiro

November 17, 2015

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