Here are 5 business reasons your sales organization needs a strong company culture
Like most intangibles, company culture is hard to measure and sometimes even harder to justify investing in. For these reasons, many companies relegate culture to a list of “nice to haves,” and never give it much attention beyond that.
This lack of attention from most companies represents a weakness for them, and a substantial opportunity for sales organizations that do focus on company culture. After all, intangible assets including talent and culture may constitute up to 52% of a company’s market value.
The company culture’s impact on market valuation reflects a substantial impact on the company’s effectiveness, profitability, and stability–and you can be sure that it will also have an impact on your sales effectiveness. Here are 5 reasons why.
1. A strong company culture improves recruitment and retention
Year after year, hiring consistently shows up as one of the biggest challenges for sales managers. This is true even in organizations with competitive salary and benefits packages, because those are not the only factors potential sales professionals consider when evaluating a job offer.
Increasingly, they also want to know if an organization is a good fit for them culturally, how and when they will be mentored and offered opportunities for growth, and whether they believe in the mission and values of the organization. Building, maintaining, and demonstrating a strong company culture thus makes it easier to attract top talent and can decrease the cost to do so.
Beyond recruitment, replacing a sales professional can cost between 50% and 250% of their annual salary plus benefits. Having a strong company culture improves retention by increasing the bonds among salespeople and with their managers, increasing your team members’ commitment to the organization’s mission, and ensuring that they feel important, valued, and understood.
2. A strong company culture improves engagement
Disengaged managers and employees cost the United States economy $398 billion a year, according to Gallup, as cited in Forbes. On the other side, companies that demonstrate the highest levels of engagement are 22% more profitable and 21% more productive than average.
A strong corporate culture improves engagement. When salespeople and their managers understand and align with their company’s mission and values, they become more committed and more engaged with it. When the culture is consistent and supportive, team members care more about their coworkers and their company, and this also contributes to engagement.
3. A strong company culture helps salespeople make the right decisions
When decisions are made solely based on sales quotas and revenue goals, companies often end up in bad places. Consider the case of Wells Fargo, where aggressive quotas led to irresponsible and fraudulent behavior on the part of representatives. This happened not because of the quotas themselves, but because they were not accompanied by strong cultural incentives to remain honest and to act in integrity.
On the contrary, when a sales representative is very clear about and in alignment with the company’s vision and values, those vision and values can inform the decisions they make, from how they treat a potential buyer to which products they lead a customer to purchase. While this may not always yield the highest possible immediate return, over time it improves reputation, decreases risk, and increases stability. It also ultimately leads to more profitable, long-term, trustful relationships with customers.
4. A strong company culture enables challenging but respectful discourse
When sales team members are uncertain of their company’s values, their place in the company, or feel disrespected, they cannot have productive and constructive conversations. Such an environment breeds defensiveness and hoarding of information.
In a company with a strong culture, salespeople feel valued and safe to express themselves. A strong corporate culture also provides frameworks and structures within which to have construction conversations, to provide negative feedback, and to manage disagreements. In this environment, problems can be resolved and solutions developed in a healthy and constructive manner that leads to positive outcomes.
5. A strong company culture enables constant improvement
To thrive and grow in the fast-paced environment of the 21st century, companies must be flexible and constantly improving every aspect of their organizations. Companies with a strong company culture enable discourse, improve retention and engagement, and thus, naturally, continuously improve effectiveness and productivity.
Sales professionals inside a strong company culture are motivated to continuously improve their skills and abilities, and to become better at what they do and more skilled in serving prospects and clients.
In the sales industry, it’s easy to get caught up in numbers and quotas, and forget to focus on the intangibles that contribute to those numbers. We would love to work with your organization to improve not only your people’s sales skills, but also your organizational culture.