Marketing & Sales

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Sales & Channel Management

McKinsey’s Sales & Channel Management group helps clients master multichannel for sales excellence in two ways: by improving the effectiveness of their sales investments and interactions with customers; and by simultaneously driving for efficiency in all channels (e.g., face-to-face sales force, inside sales, third-party channel partners) and the associated back office/sales operations.

Our approach to sales transformations encompasses how and to whom companies sell their products and services, the channels they use, and the back-office operations that support these efforts. Where necessary and appropriate, we also help clients address specific challenges in their go-to-market strategy, sales-force effectiveness, key-account management, and other relevant areas. Our team consists of more than 65 partners and associate partners, and a broader affiliated group of more than 150 senior practitioners worldwide.

What we do

Our approach extends from quick targeted interventions that unlock value (e.g., improving a client’s key-account management program) to more holistic sales transformations focused on architecture, execution, and skill-building opportunities across the client's entire go-to-market model:

  • Optimize return on sales investments. Cutting sales costs without losing revenue is both art and science. Our collaborative approach helps companies gain transparency on the performance of their route-to-market mix while identifying potential improvement areas and concrete ways to achieve them, such as creating lean back-office sales operations.
  • Find and capture pockets of “granular growth.” Nearly every company with a dispersed customer base and a large number of sales transactions has considerable opportunity for organic growth if it looks at the right level of granularity. We help companies take a fine-grained view by geography, industry segment, and offerings to find the hidden pockets of growth—including often overlooked small and medium-sized business segments—and then tailor the strategies and approaches needed to capture them.
  • Align sales channels in a multichannel world. Customers are increasingly moving across all channels to get what they want. Some of them demand increased services for certain transactions while others prefer low-touch, 24/7 interactions. We help companies form effective selling strategies in all channels from key-account management to digital sales to indirect channel partners. Clients base these strategies on precise assessments of channel performance, channel economics, and customer preferences.
  • Building the high-performing sales force. Today’s big company sales organizations often consist of thousands of people spread across vast geographies. To boost the effectiveness of these far-flung organizations, we help build necessary skills in the organization by providing innovative, hands-on programs that include performance dialogues, train-the-trainer capability building, and a “field and forum” approach for sales managers that combines classroom and on-the-job learning. This component is critical in achieving sustained improvement.

Examples of our work

  • worked with a global high-tech company to redesign its sales model, boosting productive field seller time by 25 percent and reducing cycle time and errors in sales support
  • helped a retail bank improve salesforce efficiency, leading to a 20 percent sales increase and 40 percent more cross-selling by tellers in the first two months following the engagement
  • designed a new go-to-market model for a global data communications player, reducing selling, general and administrative costs by 20 percent over 18 months

Featured capabilities

  • Commercial Diagnostic Suite. McKinsey’s Commercial Diagnostic Suite is made up of three proprietary software tools that help companies define commercial transformation aspirations and create change management agendas for their sales organization. These assessment capabilities provide clients with a clear view of not just where their capability gaps are, but also which limitations to focus on to drive growth fastest. Companies will be able to dive into their sales ROI, commercial capabilities at an institutional level, and sales rep traits and performance.
  • Rep Planner. A proprietary sales territory management tool enabling rapid territory optimization and account alignment through an intuitive, map-based interface, which reduces sales rep travel, frees up more time for selling, and ensures optimal account coverage.
  • Growth Finder. Enables clients to perform a rapid preliminary diagnostic on micro-market growth opportunities, to develop actionable strategies tailored to characteristics of each micro market, and to drive sustainable change by building capabilities, tools, and processes.
  • SMB (Small and Medium Businesses) Decision Maker. Our proprietary panel of SMB decision-makers (36,000 people across six countries) who provide actionable insights that help companies position their marketing and sales organizations to target the small- and medium-sized business segment.


Thomas Baumgartner

Senior Partner, Vienna

Homayoun Hatami

Senior Partner, Paris

Roland John

Senior Partner, Atlanta

Impact Story

Transforming a national sales force in record time

A rapid transformation program helps the dispersed sales force of a direct-services company increase lead-conversation rates by 20 percent.

Related Insights


Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies from the World’s Sales Leaders (2nd edition)

– This book distills interviews with more than 200 sales leaders at some of the world’s most successful companies into a set of practical, real-world insights across four major areas.

Digitizing the consumer decision journey

– In a world where physical and virtual environments are rapidly converging, companies need to meet customer needs anytime, anywhere. Here’s how.