top of page
  • Nikolaus Bremerich


Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Transformation projects in sales, whether digitization or sales acceleration, entail changes for which many sales employees have no enthusiasm. On the contrary, most people instinctively reject change. This is why many sales transformation projects fail to be implemented. This is mostly due to the following 6 mistakes you should avoid:

1. Lack of justification for sales transformation

Acceptance of changes is higher the more clearly the employees understand the reasons for them and support them. Increasing profitability is only sufficient in the case of restructuring. Increasing profitability to finance necessary product innovations is more convincing. Credibility and consistent statements from the entire management team are important here.

2. Transfer project leadership to staff units

Often the management of sales transformation projects is transferred to staff units (e.g. strategy, corporate development, sales development, etc.). The background is usually that staff members are available there who have experience with project work and/or that the sales management does not have the time to lead such a project.

The signal to the sales team, however, is fatal: it is assumed that the management lacks the will to implement the project and does not take it seriously. As a result, the results are not accepted and failure is pre-programmed even before the start of the project.

Therefore, sales transformation projects must be supported by the managers, at least for the employees.

3. Exclusion of critics

In many cases, projects are staffed exclusively with employees who are assumed to be positively disposed towards the project goal or who volunteer. Uncomfortable, rather critical employees, on the other hand, are kept out.

On the one hand, this makes project work easier and more pleasant. On the other hand, however, the project team in such a case tends not to take sufficient account of implementation barriers and to massively underestimate resistance. This is another factor that causes many sales transformation projects to fail.

4. Upholding dogmas and sacred cows in distribution

In many cases, attempts are made to increase the acceptance of sales transformation projects by maintaining central dogmas, convictions and sacred cows ("we have always done it this way" or "but it is common in our industry").

This does reduce the resistance of many employees to the project. But it is also clear from the outset that nothing will change. A transformation project in which new perspectives are not developed and the previously unthinkable is not allowed to be imagined stifles any change and therefore makes no sense.

5. Hope that the working level will implement the project results independently

Even if the project goals and results meet with widespread acceptance at the working level, successful implementation is not guaranteed. This is where the human tendency to avoid change kicks in. Moreover, it is very difficult to change routines and habits that have developed over the years.

Therefore, any project where implementation is not consistently measured and followed up by top management for one to two years is doomed to fail.

6. Confidence in the ability to innovate from within

Many top managers in sales trust that their own team is capable of developing and implementing innovative concepts on their own. Our experience speaks against this: the factor of operational blindness is massively underestimated and sales professionals are not necessarily sales process designers or learning journey developers.

In particular, managers who have spent their professional lives in the same company or the same industry often don't know what they don't know. For example, in completely different industries, solutions to problems and issues may be old hat that are innovative for their own industry.

Therefore, thinking outside the box is also crucial for the success of sales transformation projects.

Conclusion: Sales transformation projects are not a foregone conclusion

Our experience clearly shows that transformation projects need to be meticulously planned and orchestrated. Success is the result of a multitude of details, any one of which can cause failure.

46 views0 comments


bottom of page