“What’s the risk?” This question comes as a natural follow up to most decisions. Whenever you make change, risk is sure to follow. This is the life you lead as VP of Sales. And it’s a process you’ll need to be familiar with. Fortunately, we can help with this.
Why Change in Your Sales Strategy is Necessary
Each year, as VP of Sales you begin the process of evaluation. Evaluate your team, performance, competencies, etc. Why? Because in 30 days your annual budgeting and planning cycle will start. Depending on how the last 6 months have gone, you’re either:
Ahead of Your Number – If this is the case, congrats! In terms of budgeting you have one thing to look forward to: “How much will the number grow for 2014?”
Behind Your Number – You, on the other hand, have two things to think about: “How much will the number grow for 2014? And how will I reach it if I can’t even make this year’s number?”
Either way, your 2014 number will outpace 2013. So as a sales leader, what are you going to do about it? What changes will you make to reach next year’s number? More importantly, what are the risks associated with these changes?
How Risk Assessment Will Help You Make Change
World Class VP’s of Sales never stop evolving. They know that the market is moving at warp speed. You can’t repeat your 2013 sales strategy in 2014. It’ll be outdated, and you’ll fall short of the number. As an exercise, just think about recent sales process changes.
The buyer’s journey now happens largely when a rep is not present. Is your organization equipped to move with them? Think about Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. What is your Social Selling strategy? Does your sales team fully leverage LinkedIn? Sales organizations are increasingly caught off guard. Don’t let RISK be the paralyzer.
The most difficult part of decision-making is often “assessing the risk.” Let’s break it down into 4 key categories associated with Risk.
Knowing how decisions will interact with these Risk Categories is important.If you can anticipate the risk, you can also mitigate it.
Execution: This criteria covers whether or not your change can really be enacted. The change must be realistic. It must be measureable, and obtainable. Furthermore, it must be well defined within a timeframe. If any of these aspects fall out of line, execution will undoubtedly falter.
Operational:This criteria covers the potential business disruption while you're transitioning to the new solution. Your change really shouldn’t disrupt other organization processes. Think about your plan. What are the potential disruptions? Do you have parallel processes during implementation to mitigate operational risk? If not, start brainstorming. Other team members or departments won’t want to slow down for you. Finding a way to keep them happy will be crucial.
Furthermore, your change must be high priority. Everyone (or at least a majority) must support it and take part. If you can't gain traction within your organization, change will never happen. In order for change to succeed, everyone must be on the same page. If not, it will fall flat, and you’ll miss your number.
People: This criteria covers the people aspect of change. For example, can the changes be implemented with your current staff? Do you have the right talent? Will you have to increase your headcount? This alone can be enough to derail your project. Is everyone on board with the change? Internal resistance can be a tricky road to navigate. Make sure staff and peers are aligned and pulling in the same direction.
Financial: This might be the biggest risk of all. It certainly has the greatest likelihood of blocking your changes. Have you budgeted appropriately for the changes? Can you guarantee that you’ll see a positive ROI? What are the leading indicators of financial success? What are the mitigation plans? These are difficult questions to answer at times. Answering them honestly will help you avoid headaches down the road.