Moderated by Toby Carrington
Senior Vice President, Head of Global Sales Operations
In this recap from a recent Sales Team Alpine Retreat: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange peer council, participants discussed the best ways to refine and improve operations, especially after merger and acquisition activity, for a better customer experience and ultimately, more sales.
As many industries continue to consolidate or become disrupted by new entrants and technologies, companies are scaling either organically or through M&A at unprecedented levels. This growth trajectory, whether it be in adjacent markets, when larger corporations acquire a series of smaller companies or even when two large players combine, poses a series of challenges for the operational support functions of the organization. This impacts not just sales support operations, but also internal business functions like finance, accounting and marketing.
This interactive session sought to explore the key considerations firms should take when considering their support operations under different growth scenarios, as well as examining best practice strategies in setting up structures and approaches that succeed.
- Insight into the different scenarios for support operations that may exist depending on the growth strategy of your organization
- Fresh perspectives for how to deal with the increased pace of change required in a firm’s support operations
- Techniques and mechanisms to use in orienting your support operations towards sales growth and customer focus
- Opening question: What percent of an IT department is spent on making sure that things don’t break versus innovating new products? Answer: About 80%
- Organizations must find a way to have innovation in “CRM IT” as well and create different speeds of IT development within an organization
The Four Pillars of a Digital Organization:
Having different groups interact with customers with salespeople (i.e., on sales calls) can reap great rewards. It can help all employees to understand the customer’s viewpoint. Finance, legal or sales support employees can create a bond with their peers on a customer side and a mindset of “we are all in sales” is highly important
- Doing trust training is an effective way to foster team collaboration
- This is a skill that is often over-looked in favor of more classical skills development in an organization
- An internal champion can facilitate collaboration without formally creating a team
- The stage that a company that is acquired is at determines the best way to Integrate into the new
- If the company is in the early stages, let the internal champion act as a “corporate chaperone” and do not bother them with full integration
- If a company has been purchased for their people, ensure an environment for them to flourish
- If it has been bought for their IP, then quickly ensure they are integrated into the business processes of the acquiring company
- Look at the culture of a company being acquired in respect to strategy and decision- making. How decisions are made is something often overlooked in an integration process
- Sometimes sales people share goals with employees only occasionally, and forget that the ultimate company goal is to support the customer
- To combat the challenges with human resources not understanding what it means to be in the field, consider having an HR person go on a sales call with the customer
- A strong vision of future sales teams should include input from many other departments, such as finance, HR, etc.
- The management philosophy must be that specific department goals should be integrated into sales team goals
The definition of success for each department is different, and must be defined differently for a sales team. The top goals of the company must be kept in mind in order to stay on track. At a minimum, goals should not conflict with KPIs.
Smaller groups may get things done more quickly, but that can sometimes cause problems later on if key team members are left out. Spending time together to solve organizational problems is critical. A core group size of 4-5 that can work across the organization appears to have been the common consensus for an agile project team.