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Summit 2014 Highlights: Introducing the SiriusDecisions Transformation Model

May 22, 2014 | By Jessica Lillian

The newly unveiled SiriusDecisions Transformation Model encourages improved scrutiny of proposed initiatives by requiring that each idea pass through three key filters.
Everyone knows that change is hard. What’s even harder? True transformation. B-to-b organizations routinely fall short, or believe that they’re transforming when they’re really just making superficial changes. 

Addressing b-to-b marketing, sales and product leaders at SiriusDecisions 2014 Summit today, Tony Jaros, senior vice president and chief research officer of SiriusDecisions, put it this way: “We are choosing the wrong types of initiatives, thinking that they will move the needle when in actuality, they don’t do too much.” Other organizations neglect to get shared commitments by interlocked sales, marketing and product teams. The end result in both cases is a failure to transform, thus holding back the organization’s growth.
Summit 2014 Highlights: Introducing the SiriusDecisions Transformation Model
In an instant poll, only 7 percent of Summit attendees described their efforts to make major changes as “very successful,” while 49 percent characterized their attempts as only “somewhat successful” and 44 percent reported being either “somewhat unsuccessful” or indicated “it’s been your basic nightmare.” 

The first step to undergoing successful transformation is developing the right shared vocabulary, Tony said. Minor, non-transformative change is internally focused and typically occurs within a single function - involving little alignment between sales, marketing and product - and takes only weeks or months to complete. Transformative initiatives are conducted with an external audience in mind, require interlock between functions, and take several quarters or years to complete. 

The newly unveiled SiriusDecisions Transformation Model encourages improved scrutiny of proposed initiatives by requiring that each idea pass through three key filters: 

  • Sufficiency. Is there agreement among sales, marketing and product leaders that this initiative is important and viable enough that they are willing to sponsor it? Will the initiative have a major impact on external audiences, such as buyers, customers, partners and influencers? Sufficient initiatives might include adopting an integrated campaign framework or moving from products to solutions.
  • Commitment. Are all functions willing and able to act as needed to make the initiative a success? Will executives publicly support the initiative? Getting – and, most importantly, keeping – this buy-in may be easier said than done. More than three-quarters of instant poll respondents reported that their initiatives at least occasionally fail due to commitment issues. Commitment also requires ensuring that all involved employees can provide their required contributions. “You need to develop skills in your organization to match what the change requires,” Tony said. 
  • Functional distance. Are sales, marketing and product aligned tightly enough so that one or more functions won’t pull ahead or lag behind during the transformative initiative? Alignment also must be maintained as the initiative is implemented. Many organizations try to apply generic change management frameworks that fail to meet the unique needs of sales, marketing and product functions.
For transformative initiatives that successfully meet all three of these criteria, the SiriusDecisions Transformation Model also provides a full framework to design and manage the endeavor.

“Each one of you at one point or another is going to be tasked with major change in your organization,” Tony reminded the audience. Although even the most promising transformative initiatives – those with high sufficiency, ample commitment and short functional distance – can flop, leaders can give their organizations the best chance of success by making sure that they’re pursuing the right ideas in the first place.


Jessica Lillian

Jessica F. Lillian is a senior editor at SiriusDecisions and has more than seven years of b-to-b editorial experience, including five years as the editor of national b-to-b magazines. Follow Jessica on Twitter @jessica_lillian

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