How Long Does it Take to Fix a Sales Team?
Updated: Jan 11
Answering the question of how long it takes to fix a sales team isn’t straightforward. Turning a sales organization around depends on many factors, like the number and severity of fundamental issues.
It’s impossible to rewire sales performance overnight. Even if you find and fix issues in your sales process, my experience has shown me that there are likely many additional factors also contributing to revenue growth problems.
Every organization is built and operates just a little differently. It takes an experienced eye to perform the proper analysis and create a corrective action plan. On top of that, it takes time to build a healthy sales pipeline. So while you likely won’t see immediate results in terms of revenue, I can say that as a Fractional or Outsourced VP of Sales it is possible for clients to see tangible results in every step of the process, even within the first few weeks.
My key to success in fixing sales teams is the methodical process I follow to achieve the ultimate result of increased revenue growth.
First, I conduct a deep dive analysis of the company during a Discovery & Assessment phase.
Second, I build best practice tools and systems that are customized to fit varying business needs in the Design & Implementation phase.
Finally, the hard work begins to pay off during the Operationalize & Adoption phase. You can start to measure the key performance indicators we created and genuinely understand how your sales team is performing.
Making these changes to your business today has long-term impacts on your company. Let’s examine the phases further.
Phase 1: Discovery & Assessment
During the initial stage of our partnership I conduct a deep dive analysis of your company to identify high-impact gaps that are holding your organization back. I meet with various organization members to understand all the moving parts that impact revenue generation.
Once I understand the people, process, and systems gaps that are hindering revenue production, I can work to create actionable recommendations for how to correct them. I do this by tying the proposed solutions to root cause issues so you have clarity through a corrective action roadmap.
I have found that after I show this plan, business leaders experience new hope and excitement. They finally see the root issues causing their late-night headaches. Sometimes they have been dealing with the symptoms of these sales problems for decades.
The length of this phase varies depending on the scope of what is being assessed. If the Owner or Sales Leader has visibility to metrics in a particular sales area that needs to be addressed, then discovery could be as short as 1-2 weeks. However, typically 1-2 months is more realistic.
Phase 2: Design & Implement
This is the building phase where I work with clients to design processes, tools, and systems that fit their business’ individual needs. From there, I leverage my best practices experience to construct and implement the agreed-upon sales infrastructure.
It feels like things begin to fall in line at this point because we design a series of small projects that each have significant impacts. By breaking down the various business gaps into actionable steps, it allows your team to feel a sense of accomplishment.
As various issues are corrected, you also begin to see the impact of these changes.
A few examples of things we might address are:
The business leaders I partner with usually get excited during this phase because they feel a new sense of being in control of their sales department by being better equipped to hold their sellers accountable. This is the point where the Owner or President sees with clarity how sustainable sales growth can be achieved through a more formalized sales approach.
The length of this phase is mainly dependent on the scope of what’s being developed. While this phase may take several weeks or even a few months, there is an agreed-upon project plan with achievement milestones built-in. It is ideal for these high-impact structural changes to be fully implemented before we begin the next phase, to ensure all gaps are addressed.
Phase 3: Operationalize with Adoption
This stage is when all the hard work pays off. By building accountability into newly customized processes, we have fundamentally changed how your sales organization operates. The key here is gaining your sales team’s buy-in through appropriate training and involvement during the design phase.
The excitement that begins building during the previous phase turns into a celebration as salespeople start breaking into more new accounts, closing opportunities more quickly, and embracing a new level of personal accountability.
There are no more questions about what sellers are doing. Sales Leaders are no longer scrambling to get a pulse on their activity. Instead of being weighed down with fixing every little thing, the Sales Leader can focus on high-level breakdown areas because the fundamentals are in place.
The entire sales organization is clear on what needs to be done to meet their goals and on board with the key performance indicators (KPIs) that guide their success.
At this stage of evolution, Owners and Presidents often remark that their processes feel much more consistent and repeatable which brings them new confidence in the company’s ability to achieve long-term growth objectives.
This phase is ongoing and never really stops so it’s hard to put a timeline on its completion. Still, I am confident to say that within the first quarter of deploying the new completed sales infrastructure, you will see notable examples of success like the examples I stated above.
With the proper Sales Leader’s focus and skill set, your new sales structure should be fully embraced and functioning smoothly within six months.
After 12 months, the new approach will have become natural and sustainable. Your pipeline will be healthy and more predictable. Issues can be identified and corrected quickly, without letting the problems balloon up and throw your entire revenue plan off.
How do I determine the success of our partnership?
For me, the final step is making sure you have the right leadership in place to carry forward the newly structured sales organization. My role is to help you zero in on the things holding your business back, working with you to correct them, and taking the lead on getting the new infrastructure functioning. I achieve success when we both feel confident that the timing is right for me to hand off the baton to the right sales leader who is capable of driving success long-term.
Deep-dive early in the process identifies high-impact actions which brings immediate improvements.
Build a sense of accomplishment through breaking down the business gaps into small actionable steps.
Key Performance Indicators bring consistency, repeatability, and confidence in the company’s ability to achieve growth objectives.
The right leadership is needed to sustain the newly structured sales organization.
If you’d like to discuss the improvement you’re looking for in your business, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also invite you to follow me on LinkedIn to gain exposure to future article posts that will offer more valuable selling insights.
Another helpful resource I offer is a custom report you will receive after investing 2-minutes taking my Sales Agility Assessment.
It's filled with tips on optimizing your sales environment based on your individual responses, making the report individualized and insightful!
I am part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion for helping business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.