TALKING SALES 204: "How to transform the way we sell"

John Smibert

Transform how 02              "Buyers have transformed the way they buy - so how should sellers transform the way they sell" - Interview by John Smibert

We need to transform the way we sell so that we successfully ride the wave of change in the B2B world. The question is how?Graham Hawkins

In my previous discussions with Graham Hawkins he has outlined a compelling case for why we need to transform our selling organisation in order to survive and grow.

So in this discussion I asked him how.  How we should go about achieving the necessary change?

Graham emphasised the need for the leaders to fully buy in to the need to change. Then to build a clear vision and ensure that rest of the organisation participates in defining what the change will look like. He went on to explain.

If you are considering the need to transform your sales organisation view the video, or read the transcript below, to hear Graham's  recommendations on how to transform.


Graham Hawkins is a thought leader in B2B technology sales and an author.  He has recently published his book "Sales Transformation". Graham ia CEO of SalesTribe.

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John: I've got Graham Hawkins with me again - welcome back, Graham!

Graham: Thanks, John!

John:   We promised the audience we'd talk about how to transform, and there is significant transformation required. Some of the dramatic things you've talked about really have opened my eyes and hopefully the audience to some real change that's necessary, if a lot of organisations are going to survive selling B2B solutions to large corporates. Let's talk about the sort of things we need to think about to go through that transformation. What are some of the top-of-mind things that we can pass on?

Graham:   Well, I guess the first thing you need to think of is what is the vision, where is it you need to get to and why. As all of the thought leaders and change management will say, you've got to get senior management buy-in and everybody participating in what that transformation looks like.

John:    This is a survival issue for a lot of organisations, isn't it?

Graham: Absolutely.

John:    If this doesn't happen now or in the next year or two or three... All these changes have happened very quickly in the marketplace, and unless we respond and transform... So it does require that change in vision, that embracement by the leadership team and then drawing the rest of the organisation into that vision.

Transform how 03 - vision 700x400Graham:   Correct. And my personal view is this is not a radical, big bang approach; you can't do monumental cultural change overnight, particularly with salespeople. I think there's a real incremental approach to how we go through transformation. There's a number of short-term, tactical steps that I think you can take, there's a number of bigger, more strategic steps that need to be addressed at the same time.

But yes, you've got to get people on board, it must be inclusive, and you've got to get senior management buy-in to help drive that change. Because if you think about transforming business models and sales approaches... I come from the high tech space, always sold perpetual licenses where a customer was required to pay upfront and in full, allowing the vendor to be paid and walk away in many respects. So transforming some of those business models, changing those business models will have a potentially short-term impact on revenue and possibly even share price, so there's a lot of consequences.

John:       That transformation you were talking about goes well beyond just sales, doesn't it?

Graham: It does.

John:   Yes. And sometimes transforming the way we sell does require changes back up through the enterprise.

Graham: Correct. And as we've talked about, John, buyers have transformed the way they buy, so sellers have to transform the way they sell.

John:   Or go out of business.

Graham:   Exactly right.

John:    Okay, great point. There's a lot more to transformation than our little discussion we're having right now, but getting that vision, understanding how we do need to change is number one, buying into that as an enterprise is number two, and then working out how step by step we implement that over a period of time; it's not just doing a bit of training or whatever.

Graham:   No, it's a paradigm shift. I hate that word "paradigm", but it's very much a paradigm shift.

John: You hate it, I love it - that's great. [laughs] Okay, to the audience, particularly to the leaders out there, I think Graham has really put the arguments very strongly for the need for transformation in the sales world - thank you very much for that, Graham. Get his book, it's called Sales Transformation, and I think you'll get a lot of value out of it, it'll help you think through how you need to transform and drive a change in your business. Thank you very much, Graham!

Graham: Pleasure, John - thank you. Thanks for having me - appreciate it!


More interviews with Graham Hawkins:



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