How Sales Leadership Can Prevent A Sales Culture Shift
You're planning a major shift in your sales culture and all the details are carefully planned out.
Your new strategy is designed to ensure you're hiring and retaining the right people, enabling sales coaching, building your customer base, and ultimately increasing sales. It will help your company significantly. Only you're having trouble getting front-line sales management and the sales reps to adopt this new system.
What could the problem be?
Well... there are a number of hurdles to overcome when affecting a sales culture shift, but one of the biggest ones emanates from senior management. If you want the sales organization to adopt a new strategy, you need to start at the top, and get the management team to adopt it and be able to carry the message first.
If they aren't committed to the shift, or if they aren't familiar with it inside and out, then how can you expect your sales team to accept it as the new status quo? That's why senior management is an essential piece of the puzzle when ensuring a successful sales culture shift. They must drive the results down through the front line.
Training Senior Management On A Sales Culture Shift
When you adopt your new sales culture and introduce any sales skills training initiative, all of your sales reps will be trained in new strategies and new policies. But it's likely that senior management outside of the sales department won't be. This is a mistake that many companies make. If anything, the higher up the ladder you go, the more training is needed.
Before you start implementing your culture shift and imposing sales training, senior management should be trained to ensure that they're on top of the shift and understand what it means. They need to be more than just familiar with the new processes. They need to know them well enough to answer any questions that the sales reps might have.
And, as importantly, they must understand and be able to articulate expectations of the newly developed sales culture at any point in time.
In any new sales culture, there's bound to be a transitional period and ensuing confusion. Senior management needs to be sure of things when the sales team isn't, and be able to offer their advice and guidance. It's only through that careful reinforcement that these policies will stick, and have the chance to make the difference they were designed to make.
Ensuring Commitment To The Sales Culture Shift
Just training in new strategies and policies isn't enough, though. Ensuring a successful sales culture shift means being truly committed to the change. This means that senior management needs to understand exactly why you're enacting each of these changes, and what you hope to accomplish. So that should be part of their training, too.
Explain to your managers what the benefits of these new strategies are. Why will the new policies work better than the old ones? What are your ultimate goals in effecting this sales culture shift? Get their input as well, before the changes are officially implemented, on what new policies they would like to see that would work towards those goals, and how the overall strategy can be made more effective.
Senior management needs to understand what this culture shift is all about, and buy into it heart and soul, if you have any chance at success. If management isn't 100% behind the change, then your employees won't be either. Enforcing the new policies will just be a matter of going through the motions, and soon they'll fall by the wayside. But if you get management on board first, they can help the sales reps buy into it as well, showing them the benefits and the ultimate goals. That's the only way of ensuring a successful sales culture shift.