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When business leaders implement a transformation program for their sales force, they inevitably encounter resistance within their organization.
First of all, a certain amount of resistance to change from the sales team is a common occurrence. However, if they are closely monitored and held accountable for their actions, this resistance should disappear after a few weeks.
The problematic part is when resistance to change comes from the company’s managers and sales managers. Some of them may even want to derail the program being implemented or discredit the consultant in charge of the project.
Resistance from sales leaders is the most revealing sign that the sales force transformation program will fail.
Business leaders must therefore closely supervise their sales managers in order to detect this sabotage as quickly as possible.
The 5 signs that prove that the sales manager is resistant to the transformation of the sales force
1. He focuses on very specific and negative details
If the sales manager constantly lingers, comments and questions small details taken out of context, it is probably because he resists the changes that have been implemented.
He should see the project in its totality. After all, in any major process, you can always find some minor details to criticize, especially when you take the items out of context.
2. He assesses the program with his own subjectivity
A sales manager who evaluates the transformation program subjectively will not believe in its merits. Because he perceives his own way of doing things more favourably, he will be against the new directives.
Our sales force transformation programs are based on empirical data. The starting point of a transformation program is a scientific analysis of the sales organization where subjectivity has no place. The same applies during the process and on a regular basis with new objective evaluations carried out using specific tools.
3. He is acting in bad faith
From the very start, if the sales manager adopts a negative attitude towards change, he or she will be more inclined to dig deeper to find out what is not working. Indeed, it is very difficult to evaluate a program positively when you are acting in bad faith.
For example, selectively including people in copy on certain email exchanges, allowing nostalgia for the old way of doing things and making no effort to apply the new procedures are obvious signs of bad faith.
4. He makes excuses
If the sales manager is constantly looking for excuses to explain that the transformation program is not working, it is obvious that he is resisting its implementation.
Such apologies will be expressed in sentences such as:
“This little detail does not apply to our industry. »
“We can’t get that information from our potential customers. »
“Our company is not like any other. »
Proactive managers, who take the necessary steps to make the transformation program work, are the most successful.
5. He does not ensure that its representatives embrace the changes
If the sales manager is unwilling to accept the requested changes, it is likely that he will not be requesting them from his representatives. This is a very effective way to sabotage the program.
For the transformation process to work, it is essential that the sales manager hold his salespeople accountable for actions taken against the new directives.
Overcoming the managers’ resistance by maintaining a high level of imputability
To successfully implement a sales force transformation program, changes must start from the top. Business leaders must first ensure that their managers and sales managers accept and apply the new procedures.
To overcome the resistance of managers, it is essential that business leaders hold them accountable for their actions and do not tolerate any excuses. They must make it clear that the program is not optional and that it is mandatory to follow all the components of the program.
Of course, the implementation of such a program requires sustained efforts over several weeks. On the other hand, the resistance of sales managers and their representatives is not a permanent state. This is a temporary situation, which fades over time.
When the period of turbulence ends, resistance shifts into a positive, results-oriented attitude and successes are achieved.