Transforming Sales: An SAP TedTalk with Dr Phil Squire

06 July 2022

Recently, Dr Phil had the pleasure of being invited to share his expertise of the sales industry in a special TedTalk hosted by Waldemar Adams, Global SVP, SAP Customer Success COO Office. 

With his extensive knowledge on sales, sales culture and the transformation of sales mindsets, Dr Phil led an insightful presentation on transforming sales to a group of SAP sales leaders. At the heart of his talk was the important message of understanding culture and the need for transformation. But what is the best way to change the culture within an industry that has been following the same blueprint since its inception?

As Waldemar is a graduate of the Consalia Masters programme, and themed his final year project on storytelling, it was only right for Dr Phil to set the tone of his presentation with a story.


Do not force change

Beginning with his childhood home of Ascension Island, Dr Phil explains how it came to be what it is today through science and cultural adaptation.

Using a quote from Dr Wilkinson on the negative effect forcibly changing the habitat of Ascension Island has had, Dr Phil seamlessly connects this to sales culture and the role culture plays in sales performance.


Culture vs Strategy

Are sales leaders looking for change or transformation? This, according to Dr Phil, really starts with the problem that they want to solve. Does it require quick changes or long-term transformation? Dr Phil talks about culture and strategy and poses an interesting question of which is more important to sales leaders: culture or strategy?

The culture of an organisation, for some, is the most important step to success and meeting targets. This is because the team arguably have the same values and belief systems. However, there are also organisations that value strategy over culture. One, however, is not more correct than the other.


The hierarchy of sales values

Not forgetting to add credit Dr Phil uses the findings he gathered from his many interviews during his research for his doctorate, to back his research on the transformation of sales and the need for change in the relationship between a salesperson and their customer. He found, of course, that less than 10% of salespeople sold to customers the way in which they wanted to be sold to.

Through his extensive research and many interviews, Dr Phil realised that salespeople fell into categories. This is when he created to Hierarchy of Values. These values can be positive or negative:

Positive Values:

  • Authenticity
  • Client Centricity
  • Proactive Creativity
  • Tactful Audacity

Negative Values:

  • Manipulation
  • Supplier Centricity
  • Complacency
  • Overt Arrogance

Going into depth about the hierarchy of values, we get a grasp of what exactly both the positive and negative mindsets consist of, and how Dr Phil was able to test these values through two controlled groups with HP. Understanding one's mindset is key to improving themselves as a salesperson. We live in an era now where the way customers interact with salespeople has greatly changed. 

According to Julian Birkinshaw, we live in a post-knowledge era, where organizations need to be agile and have the able to respond quickly to change. Understanding your mindset and learning the necessary skills for success in the changing sales industry, is a big part of Dr Phil's development of Consalia's sales programmes.

You can also discover your sales mindset by taking our Mindset Survey! Do you have a more positive or negative mindset?

Values and beliefs

Can a person’s values and beliefs be changed?

The presentation ends with Dr Phil's closing remarks on building a culture around values and belief systems.


“The second thought that I found quite interesting as I was doing the doctorate, is the predictive nature of values and belief systems. If you know in your sales team, that your sales team have a particular values and belief approach, you can pretty well be guaranteed to know how they're going to behave in a crisis or how they're going to behave in any kind of sales opportunity or problem.

And as a leader, it makes you much more comfortable that if that culture is really strong, that the way in which your teams are going to act or react is going to be as you would want it.”


So, what do you think is more important, culture or strategy? Do you agree that a salesperson’s values and beliefs can be changed?


You can listen to the podcast now on your favourite audio streaming app. 

Listen to episode #49

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