Responding to competitive pressures and the challenge to increase price and grow margins, our food distribution client embarked on a journey to deliver innovative products and an improved customer experience. Pivotal to the success of the transformation would be the sales team’s ability to move from “taking customer orders” to demonstrating their food expertise; consulting and advising their customers to grow their business. Transformation of this scale required more than developing skills and adopting new processes and systems. It required visible leadership to inspire and motivate employees to change behaviors and view their roles and impact through a new lens.
Our team initiated the change process with a performance assessment. We studied both high- and low-performing divisions to understand critical variances in sales leadership competencies in light of the transformation, and identified skill requirements to grow more sales leaders internally and faster. Key to the transformation would be developing leadership’s change communication skills and ability to inspire, motivate and recognize performance. We then evaluated our client’s talent management process, and determined ways to strengthen recruiting, development, performance management, incentives and rewards.
We designed a new sales onboarding program to indoctrinate the team in the new way of working. Thus, accelerating the required shift in mindsets and behaviors to drive a more disciplined sales process, embrace mobile technology and a new CRM system, advance productivity and overall performance in line with new customer experience goals. Adoption metrics and measurement plans were established to provide executive leadership visibility into the change process and incremental improvements. Most importantly, we partnered with our client to develop a series of Leading Change workshops to equip local sales leadership with the capabilities to facilitate and sustain changes over the long term.
Our client has continued to build upon initial performance improvements since our team’s departure. Adoption of new processes and systems continues to grow, as does the pipeline and ability of sales and leadership talent to meet the ever changing needs of the organization and the valuable customers its serves.