Developing a Truly Healthy Sales Culture
Updated: Feb 17
Sales culture is a difficult concept to embrace for many in sales leadership roles.
You can’t measure your sales culture like you’d measure other sales metrics -- monthly revenue, emails, calls, meeting activity, closings, etc. But you can feel it and you can certainly observe the positive behavior that becomes the norm as a result.
All consistently top-performing organizations have as a foundation a positive and healthy performance-oriented culture. They are companies that people want to be a part of.
Your organization’s sales culture plays a huge role in everything else -- all the things you can measure. How much your salespeople sell, how productive they are, how long they stay with your company, and more, are all determined by your sales culture.
That’s why we’re so adamant that you create and develop a good one, or improve upon your existing one.
So, what the heck is it?
The definition of sales culture is the attitudes, values, and habits that characterize your team.
When integrated into the organization, sales culture becomes the key contributor to long term results. It affects your salespeople and revolutionizes the organization’s ability to connect with prospects, customers, and partners in a meaningful way.
Think of it as the words you use to describe your team. Do they possess the following characteristics?
“Personally accountable”, “avoid excuse-making and blaming”, “performance and outcome-focused”, “solution-oriented”, “competitive”, “embrace change”, “transparent”, “focused on continuous learning”?
Those characteristics embody what it takes to gain a sustainable competitive advantage. Such words describe a truly healthy sales culture which is essential for consistent growth.
It won’t come easy. In our work with sales leadership, we find they often face challenges when they decide to create a more proactive sales culture. They include:
Resistance from complacent salespeople who are more interested in calling on existing customers and living off repeat business than hunting for new opportunities.
An ineffective compensation program that includes a little incentive for bringing in new business (it must be overhauled to reflect the company's new direction).
Ineffective sales management that has historically not been capable of coaching reps up the next level of performance and struggles with effectively holding the team accountable.
Ineffective recruiting using faulty hiring methods that don’t find the right people who can perform in the manner the company had expected.
Lack of key competencies, namely prospecting skills, on the part of salespeople.
Training that fails to get the desired results because the company has the wrong people onboard or they are in the wrong roles (training is only as good as the people being trained).
Discouragement. It's easy to become discouraged, and discouragement has a domino effect: first on the executive team (“Why hasn't anything changed?”), then sales management (“How can you expect us to change overnight?”), then the salespeople (“Don’t they appreciate what we do?”)
These challenges to building a successful sales culture aren’t insurmountable, but chances are you won’t be able to tackle them yourself, or you would have done so already.
We can help. Our first step will be to evaluate your sales organization and look at the people, systems, and strategies that have the potential to be problems or obstacles.
Some salespeople and sales managers won't be able to execute the strategies and meet new expectations.
For those who can, you'll learn the development requirements so that they are prepared for the challenge rather than discouraged by the failure.
Finally, you'll be able to determine your ROI. It’s a challenging process to build a healthy sales culture, but we promise you it’s worth it. We look forward to helping you get started and seeing you through to success.