Defining a Winning Sales Culture
Defining the characteristics of a winning sales culture is very important. Unfortunately, many companies fall short in this area and mandate a revenue or quota objective as the single success characteristic. While increasing sales by 12% in a specific time frame is concrete and easy to understand, it is not motivational, and it is highly unlikely to get buy-in from the sales team.
Even offering incentives such as cash bonuses, trips or other tangibles only has limited impact as they only apply to those sales reps with the ability to meet those sales levels. In other words, these types of motivators only motivate those already reaching top sales levels.
These types of competitions completely discourage and de-motivate the lower performing salespeople, which is the group that most needs to buy into a positive sales culture. By motivating and engaging these individuals and the top-performing salespeople, a team sees amazing results and results drive positive cultural changes when everyone is involved.
Read Related Article: The True Cost of a Toxic Sales Culture
Several factors need to be considered in making positive culture changes. These are not in any particular order, and it is very likely that throughout the journey some of these factors may be refined, improved or modified as the team moves toward reaching the vision. Here are 5 defining characteristics of a winning sales culture.
Thinking about how to communicate your vision and your understanding of the current and future sales team culture is a critical point in involving the team. It is essential to have a clear message that is not confusing, and that does not change daily. Knowing what you want and how you are going to demonstrate or manifest these changes in how you work within the team is essential for the sales manager and is one of the most important characteristics that define a winning sales culture.
Taking the time to be clear in this message and the method of communication makes it easy for your team to recognize the goals, the specific elements of a positive and winning sales team and the benefits to them in bringing about this change. And most important, your actions cannot conflict with your communications. You can’t say one thing and do another. You can’t step out of your culture when in crisis. This is when your actions must be dictated by your culture.
Amazing Sales Cadence
Executives who create winning sales teams never stop focusing on the progress that is occurring and where the team is in relation to the vision or the goal. They also do not minimize the importance of a positive sales culture. They make it a top agenda item at weekly and monthly meetings, and Quarterly Business Reviews, to ensure everyone on the team is comfortable with the progress being made and to obtain feedback regarding modifications or alternative options to explore to reach the vision or goal. It is also essential to integrate your CRM tools to reflect your vision so you can measure your progress.
Team Building Events
While team building exercises are not always convenient or possible, a key characteristic of a winning sales culture is that they always find ways for the team to get to know each other. It is also necessary to include those that are not part of the core sales team but where there is commonly more friction such as field marketing, and professional services.
These events should be natural and unforced, and often asking the team for ideas on things they might like to do outside of the corporate setting is a great way to develop this type of team interaction. Many companies are using gamification tools now to increase engagement. Other common suggestions are to volunteer as a team to sponsor a local charity or non-profit or other similar types of activities. This is less about work and more about getting to know each other outside of the office.
New team members or those who are struggling can be paired with collaborative, productive and experienced sales professionals on the team. This is great for the experienced salesperson as it provides recognition of their skills, and it allows them to be in the “coaching/mentoring” role.
It also benefits the salesperson as they have someone to ask questions and to model their sales techniques after who has proven success. There is a third benefit to this option as well. Winning sales cultures utilize internal mentoring to help draw the team closer and prevent the challenge of distinct factions forming within a team that can derail your progress and limits the ability to make sustained cultural changes.
Sales Manager As a Coach
A significant cultural change for winning sales teams is in the role of the sales manager. This individual must be actively engaged as the executive sponsor to lead the top 20% of the opportunities to closure. It doesn’t mean they lead the sales cycles. However, by playing an active role in the sales cycle, they can coach the salesperson and address issues very early in the game to ensure success.
Read Related Article : 10 Benefits of Sales Coaching
Creating a positive, winning sales culture is an ongoing process. Continual training and development, having management involved and developing sales managers who are coaches are just the starting points of turning a sales team around. If your company doesn’t have a sales culture that everyone understands, you may have an identity crisis on your hands. Your sales team doesn’t have a clear direction or core values to help guide it into the future. There are plenty of distractions in your day to day life. But, if not now, when? Moreover, it has to start with you as the sales leader.