Companies find themselves facing the need for a Sales Transition for many reasons.   Hopefully more often, it’s the result of good things like growth or expansion opportunities.  At times however, it’s because bad things keep happening, like revenue declines or growing much slower than the industry.

There are two fundamental considerations to understanding and preparing for a company Sales Transition.

1.     Identifying and assessing the situation creating the opportunity – or causing the problem

2.     Developing the appropriate company sales strategy to address the situation

Sales Transition Symptoms

First, let’s separate Sales Transition symptoms from causes.  This is so you ultimately design the appropriate strategy.   Examples of symptoms at company’s potentially facing a Sales Transition include the following:

  • The company is no longer achieving revenue growth goals / Sales consistently missing revenue targets
  • Growth opportunities exist but are not successfully achieved / Growing slower than the industry
  • Poor success winning new clients
  • Flat or declining revenues over a prolonged period
  • High sales force turnover / Losing performing reps to competitors

Anticipating and Planning for a Sales Transition

There are common situations that strongly predict it’s time for a Sales Transition.  As we said previously, some result from success, where others are in response to challenges.

With foresight, company’s can anticipate these opportunistic situations and prepare themselves for that next stage.  And even when the cause is a negative one, quick diagnosis can save quarters – if not years – of missed new revenues.

Anticipating a Sales Transition – When Is the Right Time To Change?

  • Highly successful start-ups that have out-grown the founder’s time to function as sales leader and chief executive.
  • Companies that grew on a great product or service but have now saturated their initial target market.
  • Companies where most growth came from the Rolodex of the leadership team but are now running out of viable contacts to sell to.
  • New ownership or leadership team taking the company in a new direction.
  • Businesses making major structural or organizational changes, i.e. realigning, combining or shedding business units.
  • Well-funded start-ups – strong knowledge of the industry and their own offerings – but lacking experience in professional sales leadership.

As your company’s top executive you will know best when it is time to prepare your Sales Transition plan.