6 key steps for an effective marketing and sales transformation program

by Mark Taylor

With the rise of the more sophisticated and discerning buyer, organisations across all industries are looking to respond by transforming their go-to-market engine. While their intent and aspiration is typically well defined, we routinely find that many organisations struggle to effectively execute digital transformation programs across marketing and sales.

Why are organisations struggling to transform?
While the average transformation program doesn’t lack for initiatives, we’re observing a number of challenges organisations are facing:

  • Initiatives are typically run as largely independent streams, rather than as part of an overall, integrated transformation program
  • The transformation program is often executed on top of business-as-usual expectations, which places a strain on its focus, resourcing and prioritisation
  • Proposed solutions often don’t resonate with the end user, as they’re largely developed by a centralised team lacking frontline sales engagement and a pragmatic overlay
  • Whilst there’s usually an implementation launch focus, the embedding strategy is often poorly designed and lacks tracking of real performance uplift. 

How can you effectively transform sales and marketing? 
To overcome these challenges, we’ve identified six key steps to plan and implement an effective marketing and sales transformation program:

Steps one and two represent the first key milestone – identifying and prioritising opportunities to form a set of ‘Vital Few’ initiatives that will genuinely ‘move the needle’. Before committing to action in step three, it’s important to assess the organisation’s capacity and capability to deliver each of the initiatives (and the transformation pivot). Step four assesses the effectiveness of the initiative owner to design solutions that are not only genuinely game changing, but also pragmatic and can be implemented. The measure of success for steps five and six is on the demonstrable shift in specific sales drivers and financial outcomes.

What should you consider before embarking on a transformation program? 
We observe that asking the following questions will greatly improve the prospect of success:

  • How robust and fact-based is the mechanism by which initiatives are decided (or in reality, are individual leader opinions swaying choices)?
  • Are you setting up initiatives for success (or are they side projects)?
  • Are proposed solutions really driving best practice (or are they being dragged back to incremental shifts)?
  • How will you know if initiatives are successful (or is there more focus on completion rather than impact)?

Focus and discipline is key 
At a time of continuous evolution (or in some cases, revolution), many organisations are in an ongoing cycle of transformation. As such, they need to develop a much more disciplined and effective end-to-end approach to incorporate ongoing change into daily operations. All too often, good intentions are whittled away and the ultimate business outcomes of a major transformation become questionable. 

In my next blog post, I’ll delve further into some of the typical challenges organisations face when undertaking marketing and sales transformation and highlight the key steps you need to take to ensure success.