Sales Culture (noun) - A mindset held across an entire organization which is respectful and supportive of the sales effort and the people who contribute to it, and one in which the sales team is armed - and accountable - for being relentlessly customer-focused.
Developing a customer-focused sales culture built on sales excellence can be a long, slow process. It takes time to determine where your sales force - and your company - is today, where the gaps are, and how to increase your organization's overall sales effectiveness.
While affecting a foundational shift inside of any group of people is a long and ongoing process, there are a few tactics for improving your sales culture that can be implemented quickly and will yield demonstrable results immediately.
5 Logical Tactics For Improving Your Sales Culture Within 3 Months
The first step when implementing any new strategy is to have a clearly defined plan and to share it with those it will affect as early as possible.
Questions to drive the sales culture planning process (always keep the customer experience in mind):
- What is going right (and wrong) with the sales effort at this point in time?
- In what ways is sales potentially hindering the organization's to provide a top-notch customer experience every single time?
- What does the sales team of the future "look like?"
- What do you hope to accomplish with this culture shift?
- What does your current talent look like, and who doesn't fit the "new normal?"
- What are the benefits, both long term and short term, to the sales force and your organization as a whole?
- How will you introduce and reinforce this new mindset to the team?
These are just a few questions you should answer at the beginning of your endeavor. You may ask how this raises morale or provides demonstrable results. Well, that brings me to my next point...
It's important to keep the lines of communication open between you and the sales organization every step of the way in order to avoid suspicion and/or resistance.
The simple act of having and sharing a plan creates transparency within your company. You can show your salespeople right from the beginning what they're working for and how it benefits them. You should also allow them to ask questions, make suggestions, voice concerns (respectfully), etc. This will improve buy-in and allow both you and your front-line sales managers to chart your overall progress.
This goes hand in hand with transparency. Make sure your salespeople not only have access to all the information about the mindset - and skill set - changes the organization is implementing, but also actually understand them. This is especially important as you think through and rework your sales comp plan.
Have a clear incentive plan with a measurable, worthwhile goal, rewarding behavior which is alignment with affecting truly positive change on prospects and customers.
In the 21st century, every bit of data that passes through your company can be pinpointed, graphed, analyzed, and extrapolated. This includes every keystroke made by your potential customers with regards to your company, and every interaction your sales reps have with them. Tracking this data can give you better insight into which tactics are effective and which aren't. It can show you which employees are doing a stellar job and which need help. All in all, good data tracking can provide you with a clear picture of your company's sales strategy and how it's working out in the field.
Customer Satisfaction and Retention
This is where it all comes together. The most important aspect of a good sales culture shift is a focus on the customer. Period.
The more you make customer satisfaction an integral part of your sales strategy, the better your sales will be, and the more repeat business you'll do.
These tactics for improving your sales culture are just the beginning. There are plenty of ways to move your company towards a more successful, more productive, customer-oriented sales methodology. With just a little effort and planning, the way you do business - and the experience your customers have with you - can be completely changed forever.