How To Build A Self Sustaining Sales Culture
Every group of people, no matter what profession they're in, takes on its own unique philosophy, culture, expectations, norms and values. This is the fundamental power of small group dynamics. And a wonderful power if it is properly focused. The problem? This culture will be formed with or without sales management's active participation!
Realizing that this is an organic reality – that your team will take on an identity of its own – sales managers need to take a strong hold on the group and then ask themselves a very important question. And here it is: “What type of sales culture do I want to instill into my sales team?” Better yet, “Do I want to define the sales culture or have it dictated to me?”
Let’s take a look at several scenarios that can be played out with or without a sales manager’s participation:
- A culture that is cut throat, overly competitive and even adversarial.
- An environment that is laid back, non-competitive and passively resistant to any change whatsoever.
- A group that is cooperative, yet competitive and resilient.
- Salespeople who are proud of what they do, how they do it, what they represent and for whom they represent it.
- Salespeople who are ashamed of sales, what they sell and for whom they sell it.
Let’s face it. There are literally hundreds of other, varied environments that are nothing more than a variation on these themes. The real secret, though, is for you, as a sales executive or sales manager to determine what you want your environment to be like.
The sales culture that you will forge will be a function of numerous variables. Let’s take a look at ten of those variables:
- Being relentless about your hiring standards.
- The consistently demanding process you use to recruit, hire and retain those people.
- The quality and depth of the on-boarding program you have in place.
- The expectations you place on your salespeople and the accountability measures you install to achieve them.
- The quality and strength of your sales coaching process.
- The way in which you structure your sales compensation plan.
- The style of leadership you use.
- The tools, systems and processes you employ to ensure ongoing levels of motivation.
- The public support provided for the sales culture by senior organizational leadership.
- Your ability to install a repeatable, predictable sales process into your sales culture.
The bottom line is simply this. Either drive the direction of your sales culture or it's going to drive you. Your team's sales culture is going to exist either way... you may as well make a concerted effort to build that sales culture in a way that will be profitable, productive and positive.
We all know that to enact a sales culture change isn't as easy as sitting back and relying on a few top performers to drive revenue. If you're unwilling to do that hard work, you will have to play the “hand you’re dealt.” That could be a good or bad hand, couldn’t it? Your choice is whether to influence the sales culture that you're in so that you can control the outcome as much as you can reasonably expect. Why not set yourself up for success?
Implement the previous ten tools in the way you want them to be and build a self-sufficient sales culture geared toward results and success. The key here is to be proactive and consistent… it will be more work on the front end to install those elements of your culture into place, but I can promise you that it will make your life easier in the long run, help to make salespeople more resilient, positive and profitable and allow you to have a team that will clearly outshine your competition. After all, isn’t that what it is all about?