Key take-aways from industry thought leaders

One of the main topics discussed at The Future of Innovation: A Frost & Sullivan VIRTUAL Executive MindXchange, was Business Model Strategy. As service-based business models continue to grow, companies are increasingly using AI to track user behavior to build a digital, personalized, and omni-channel customer experience. While moving to this type of integrated, long-term model, one of the most overlooked challenges is often cultural, as companies can face internal resistance from employees. Indeed, upending long- standing ways of working, and transforming operations and focus is a multi-layered process, even in the best of circumstances.

One of the biggest sources of pushback often comes from the people most responsible for revenue: SALES. Hence, it’s critical that chief marketing officers and sales leadership understand this business model shift, and are equipped and on board to sell. An interactive session,Aligning Sales Leadership and Teams with Shifting Business Models, was designed to address this strategic imperative and to help participants:

  • Build confidence in sales teams about new business models
  • Get sales teams on board and ensure they understand new platforms and services
  • Revisit incentives and revenue goals to better align with new service-based business models

Facilitator Chaitanya Habib, Research Consultant, Frost & Sullivan, brought her expertise in identifying and tracking emerging trends and technologies and creating innovation workshops to the discussion. Susan Lucas-Conwell, Former Executive Vice President, CSIRO, US, and Independent Board Director and George Lucas, Director of Business Development, Fred C. Church Inc., co- led the conversation about how to inspire and position sales teams to successfully market service based business models in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

Key take-aways from the discussion included the need to drive transparency from senior leadership, the importance of consistently educating teams about evolving products and services, and tying outcomes to sales incentives. The importance of clearly defining roles for Business Development, versus sales, or sales-marketing roles and responsibilities was also addressed.  Defining who manages the customer relationship was another imperative flagged by the participants.

More specific insights to help sales align with business model transformation included:

Make sure your teams understand what’s changing

The introduction of services into long-standing business models is a big shift. The C-Suite must lead the way in championing these changes and enabling sales transitions, including incentivizing success. Help your sales teams get behind service-based, technology driven business models with ongoing technology and product education. Consider utilizing your tech experts to help train your sales team on complex services or  even go on sales calls with  your reps.

Revisit sales goals and incentive plans

It will probably be necessary to revise or reconsider sales goals, incentive plans and KPIs. You may also want to adjust profit sharing to align with new business models. Further, it’s important to distinguish between sales and business development responsibilities, particularly as they affect compensation.

Model the new models

Clearly define your sales, marketing, and sales enablement models. Make sure everyone understands how they all work towards growth. Be clear about where sales and new business development interact and overlap and address challenges. As one thought leader suggested, when possible, give sales teams the opportunity to do good in the world; let them decide what targets they want to go after, i.e. non-profits

The session concluded with a reminder for sales teams to celebrate their victories and seize opportunities to donate time and expertise to good causes – to help make the world a better place during these uncertain times.