Six steps to transform your marketing and sales capabilities

Six steps to transform your marketing and sales capabilities
Document type
Article
Author(s)
Hatami, Homayoun; McLellan, Kevin; Plotkin, Candace Lun
Publisher
McKinsey Global Institute
Date of publication
1 March 2015
Subject(s)
Marketing: all aspects of marketing, advertising and public relations
Collection
Business and management
Material type
Reports

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Business leaders face pressure to deliver above-market growth at the best of times. When the global economy is weak, that demand becomes more acute. While strategic mergers and acquisitions have the ability to generate growth, the fact remains that consistently beating the market over time requires more than that. It takes superior internal capabilities, most notably commercial capabilities in marketing and sales. Hiring new talent is a critical component, but developing a market-beating company requires true organizational change.

This article believes that executives today need to focus on building capabilities with the same level of commitment they showed when transforming their businesses through lean operations in the 1980s. Yet that prospect is understandably daunting. After all, traditionally, less than a third of transformations succeed as expected, with a staggering 70 percent of failures due to an organisation’s inability to adopt required new behaviours quickly and completely. And while this low success rate may suggest caution is warranted, the authors find that leaders often doom transformation efforts by being overly tentative. That’s why this level of change requires significant courage and leadership.

This article details a new approach to commercial transformation—the process of upgrading marketing, sales, and pricing capabilities to drive revenue or margin improvements—that is turning that failure rate on its head. It found an astonishing 90 percent of companies that embrace this new approach are not only delivering above-market growth but also sustaining it over time. In addition, two-thirds of all companies pushing these transformations are achieving this in either profitability or revenue growth, and a quarter are achieving it in both.

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