top of page

The Change Gene



Organizational changes are standard fare, no matter how large or small a company. There are a slew of methodologies (Kotter, etc..) to facilitate change for transformational initiatives. So, what has our research discovered about this discipline that is new or surprising?

The answer is simple – even in this day and age the skills needed to lead change AND drive revenue in parallel are in short supply in the sales manager community.

For that reason, sales leaders are rotating back to the skills of organizational change management as they interview new manager candidates and promote from within. Not just surviving change, but instead promoting it, communicating it, and holding teams accountable for behavior change – these are all the New Normal for the sales manager role in 2023.

So where did our research point to as the key dimensions of this discipline? Against what attributes should sales leaders “test” their sales managers to ensure they have the right people in the saddle? Here they are:

Overcoming resistance to change. Change is risky, emotional, uncertain, and essentially unknowable. It is not surprising that many resist it, even unconsciously. Yet, change is the only way a sales team can improve. Solving this conundrum is the role of the sales manager. Market-leading sales managers do this by addressing both passive and active resistance, proactively addressing resistance before it manifests, modeling the change by being the first to demonstrate behavior modification, and doubling down on the company culture.

• Gaining Buy-In. Effective change management starts at the top. It’s impossible to promote a positive culture if managers doubt the benefits of organizational change. So a sales leader who excels in this area does so by engaging senior leadership to explain key points of the change and create transparent communication. They see their role as generating the right level of sustained enthusiasm and looking for the “green shoots’ of early adopting sales reps and merchandising their adoption.

• Building Trust in Employees for the Change. Great sales managers are, by definition, great people managers. They do not issue edicts from behind desks. Instead, they create a climate of trust so that, when candor is called for and employee anxiety is on the rise, they can make a withdrawal from the emotional “bank account” they have built. Even in geographically dispersed teams, the sales manage makes it a point to do business face-to-face. Personal encounters are where trust is earned.

• Getting comfortable with constant change. The one thing consistent about a change management plan is that it will change. So, even as a good sales manager gets their arms around a new program and begins selling it, the floor shifts due to the change in the program itself. So, great sales managers know this and do not fixate on the program itself as if it was mired in concrete. Instead, they visualize the process and the vision and get others to do the same.

At M. Allen, our experience is with companies who are changing. As such, we often get a 50-yard line view to organizational change. We see the immense difference that sales managers can make in pivoting the Sales function into a new operating model. Based on this experience, we were not surprised that our research found the same thing.

What is surprising, and continues to be so, is that many companies still do not promote or hire into the sale manager role with this core competency in mind.

Check out more on this topic by having a free 20 minute consult with us. Schedule via email to

14 views0 comments


bottom of page