Marketing & Sales

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Sales & Channel Management

Helping clients completely transform their go-to-market model and sales organization by boosting growth, reducing costs, and building best-in-class capabilities.

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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 what we do

  • 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.

Proprietary tools

  • Commercial Capabilities Assessment Tool (CCAT): A comprehensive assessment tool designed to assess marketing and sales capabilities against established best practices.
  • Sales Navigator: A data-based tool to benchmark and optimize sales and go-to-market performance (e.g., route to market, cost to serve, FTEs, etc.).
  • RepNet: 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.
  • Sales DNA: A tool / approach to help identify granular drivers of individual sale rep performance by providing insights into the composition of sales force, profiles of top performers (including skills, intrinsics, motivations, culture) and sales skills that truly matter.
  • 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.
  • Our SMB (Small and Medium Businesses) Decision Maker is 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.
  • Marketing & Sales Academy: State of the art case-based, multimedia immersive learning labs with forums around specific topics supplemented by fieldwork. The academy has three "labs" that focus on marketing-enable growth, sales growth, and pricing.
  • Go-to-Market Workshops: Interactive multi-company sessions for executives focused on sales, pricing, change management and leadership. These intimate and intensive workshops introduce best practices and practical, cutting edge approaches as well as include individual company working sessions to help shape top team agenda.

Featured insights

The hidden power of pricing

The hidden power of pricing: How B2B companies can unlock profit

December 2014—This eBook compendium offers a selection of articles that bring together both our and others’ insights into what it takes to make pricing a strength.

The 90 percent success recipe

The 90% success recipe: Commercial transformations that beat the odds and the market

September 2014—70% Transformation failures due to inability to adopt new behaviors quickly and completely.

Megatrends for sale

Infographic: Megatrends for sales

July 2014—Massive changes in technology, demographics, customer behavior, and business economics are forcing big changes on sales organizations. Sales leaders need a clear strategy to respond and grow.

Big Data eBook

Big data, analytics, and the future of marketing & sales

July 2013—Companies that turn big data into above-market growth will identify valuable business opportunities, turn insights into well-designed products/offers, and deliver these effectively.more

Follow the customer decision journey if you want B2B sales to grow
article | Forbes

The B2B customer decision journey: The route to increased sales

April 2013—B2B organizations must focus on the people and moments that matter so that marketing spend turns into real sales.

Help your B2B sales people
article | Forbes

Salespeople need to improve their social media skills

April 2013—As companies rely more on social-collaboration tools, some of the biggest productivity gainers are going to be salespeople.

Match data with customers
article | Harvard Business Review

Know your customers wherever they are

October 2012—Retailers are desperate to unlock this intelligence so they can make more personalized offers. Research shows that personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales 10 percent or more. Here are four keys to tracking today's multichannel customers.

Selling into micromarkets
article | Harvard Business Review

Selling into micromarkets

July 2012—Micromarket strategy has emerged as the most potent new application of big-data analytics in B2B sales.

Meet our people

Roland John

Roland John


Related topics

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