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Strategic Change…

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Lisa Muller

Lisa Muller

Strategic Change: Best Practices for Territory Changes, by Lisa Muller, Principal Consultant,  SBR Consulting

This article relates to the ‘Strategy’ corner of SBR Consulting’s Habits Triangle™, aimed at CEOs, Managing Directors, Sales Directors and Managers.

Territory change can strike fear in even the strongest, but as always I say, embrace change, as you never know what positive things may happen! The drivers for this change can vary:

Forced: Due to a corporate cost cutting initiative with redundancies
• Reactive with Fear: Due to pressure of sales being seen as not performing
• Proactive and Strategic: Due to a new or current thought leader coming in to the business looking at the situation and either benchmarking or looking at the situation in an innovative way and saying,

“I think we can do this better.” This is a common example that SBR Consulting sees frequently, i.e. the realisation that in the current climate there is a need to engage proactively with customers to stimulate rather than react to demand.

In today’s world, best practice is for an organisation to undertake a sales audit. If they are truly
advanced, it would be combined with a larger ‘Customer Experience Audit’. These types of audits let
you quickly identify areas of improvement to make strategic territory change easier.

As an example, let’s assume that no audit has been completed, so we simply need a guide to what
needs to be considered in order to implement a successful strategic territory change. Although there
are different approaches that can be taken, here are some guidelines that I give to my clients.

Two Principles to Remember:
1. “Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood.”
A special thank you to Mr. Steven Covey for this quote, which is Habit #5 from, “The Seven Habits of
Highly Effective People”.

2. ” C.H.A.N.G.E.”

C – Clearly recognise the issue and goal
H – Have meetings and communication points in order to be transparent with your evaluation process
A – Actively involve, listen and understand the people and situation
N – Never leave a stone unturned: investigate and evaluate
G – Generate the strategy
E – Engage, communicate and thank

Now let’s look at each part more closely:

C – Clearly recognise the issue and goal
i. State the numerical goal/challenge causing this change. e.g.
a. Lost headcount and £600, 000 in sales needed to hit the goal with insufficient resource
b. Revenue retention is at 80% with a need to increase it to 85%, which will lead to increased
revenues of £2m
c. Sales team is reactive and not proactive: you have consistently had only 25% of the market
share and we want to increase this to 30% which will result in increased sales of £600k
ii. Understand what you are trying to achieve and set goals: short and long term for sales figures,
market penetration, etc.

H – Have meetings and communication points in order to be transparent with your evaluation
Often, there is a natural fear of change or even the possibility of change. By explaining to people
within your organisation that you are looking at a way to positively impact the organisation and that
you value their opinion, they will appreciate it and become part of your journey rather than a fallout
of your journey.

A – Actively involve, listen and understand the people and situation
1. Marketing:
a. Conduct a Total Market Assessment for the territory.
i. Define all of the organisations that can buy from you by size, postcode, vertical and any other
unique identifier.
ii. Put a rough figure for each of the organisations identified of how much on average they
should spend with you.
iii. You now will have your ‘Total Addressable Market’ and consequently your market share

2. H.R.
a. Understand if are there any legal implications to restructuring the territory, changing roles,
titles, etc.
3. C.F.O.
a. Understand if cost-of-sale is important
b. Are there any concerns on current or future commission plans
c. Is there any visibility of the coming year’s targets
4. Other Departments
a. Will or can any strategic territory change impact other departments or other areas of the
5. Your Team!
a. Goals
b. Personalities, Drivers, Skills, Desire
c. Location
d. Their ideas on changes

N – Never leave a stone unturned: investigate and evaluate
1. Competition:
a. Understand how your competition splits their territories
2. Market Trends:
a. Are there any current trends in specific areas
3. Market Changes:
a. Is there any regulatory impact (positive or negative)
4. Client:
a. What is the client saying about their experience
b. What would they like to see when it comes to their experience
c. Do you sell to Client Roles or Industry
5. Identify Key Accounts
a. You will want a different strategy for these accounts
6. Technology:
a. Understand that if you make a change, what are the impacts to the technology systems
and how long will it take to get all the systems correct and in alignment with your strategy.

G – Generate the Strategy
Once you have listed out each of the areas you can then matrix and rate each area for each potential
strategy: Risk Level, Ease of Implementation, Short-Term and Long-Term ROI. From this analysis you
now have your strategy!

E- Engage, communicate and thank

Now that you have your strategy, you now have to go back and re-communicate with all the groups
that were involved in the journey. During these meetings, restate the issue and the journey, thank
them for their help and announce the solution with the expected positive results.
In summary, these 2 Key Principals are guidelines for success in implementing successful territory

“Seek First to Understand and Then to Be Understood” and “C.H.A.N.G.E.”.

It can take time, and there may be a few bumps in the road, but I will assure you, if you follow the
principles and the C.H.A.N.G.E. steps, your business will change in the right way and you will see the
positive results of your strategy with support and buy-in from the people around you…..and that is
effective, positive Sales Transformation!

About the Author: Lisa Muller has successfully completed several small and large scale turn-around
sales and customer experience transformation projects, from $2m to £28m. She is a firm believer in
positive continuous change to prevent stagnation within a business and that communication,
transparency, evaluation and strategy are the key parts to any successful transformation.

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