Businesses often put sales at the heart of everything they do. In fact, creating a culture where delivering profitable actions is a key indicator of success is a smart move.
However, workplaces that prioritizes a sales-driven cultures can also encounter a number of issues. Typically, these types of organizations can become stressful and toxic environments where success is defined purely by sales results.
Not only does this approach lead to unhappy staff, but it can also lead to unhappy customers, with satisfaction being placed second in importance to making that next sale. Of course, this can have a negative impact long-term with financial success from wrongly focused teams being very short-lived.
Yet businesses can be sales driven and sustainably successful if they focus on creating a sales culture that works for everyone. In this article, we walk you through 8 behaviors of a successful sales culture.
1. Retain Staff
The stereotypical sales-driven organization will see poor retention of sales staff, with members of the team being dropped or leaving quickly as soon as they start to miss sales targets and the pressure is put on. This, of course, results in a very stressful environment with staff constantly worrying about the security of their job.
Retaining staff is a key way to build a successful sales culture. By taking the actions required to keep sales professionals happy and motivated, many of which we will cover below, you can progress to ensuring your staff stays with your business longer.
Not only does this increase productivity and decrease the costs involved with re-hiring, but it also allows your sales staff to build strong relationships with customers and their team, further strengthening your winning sales culture.
2. Facilitate Collaboration
In more traditional sales structures, sales reps report directly to one sales manager, effectively competing with all other team members within the sales force. Naturally, this leads to a protective nature, with each individual protecting their knowledge and skills from benefiting others.
By encouraging and rewarding collaboration, you strengthen all aspects of sales by pooling resources, information and expertise, and create the opportunity to focus your team’s strengths into areas where they are most beneficial.
Doing this may be as simple as providing the tools required for collaboration and setting a sales structure that encourages communication and teamwork.
3. Encourage Healthy Competition
Although collaboration is an important part of delivering a productive sales culture, it’s important to balance it with healthy competition.
Competition can be toxic in a sales environment, but smart organizations can still use competition to motivate their teams.
Importantly, you must remove the blame culture for competition to remain healthy. Nobody should be penalized in team meetings for failing to ‘win’ and instead should be encouraged and supported. One smart way to do this is to have sales professionals competing as a team to work towards a common goal, rather than individual targets.
4. Support Accountability
When used correctly, accountability can be a highly motivating factor, helping you build a productive sales culture within your business.
Holding individuals and teams accountable for delivering on any part of the sales process is a great way to provide ownership and develop pride in delivering results. However, when you hold an individual or team accountable for anything, achieving success must be both realistic and supported.
5. Request Clear Reporting
When you set up your sales team structure it can be easy to sit back and assume that everything is running smoothly. After some time, this is rarely the case.
Creating a clear reporting structure is a good way to increase sales productivity. By ensuring that everyone knows what, to who and how they should be reporting saves time and limits confusion over what they should be doing.
Equally, an easy and transparent reporting structure allows your business to quickly identify and remedy issues, ensuring further productivity throughout the sales process.
6. Emphazise Trust
Trust should be a defining value in any high-performing sales team. After all, your customers buy from you because they trust that you will deliver the product or service that you have promised them. Without trust, no organization will be able to convince others to invest in them.
However, convincing the customer to trust you is just the start of creating a productive sales culture. Trust must also be developed within the sales team and within the organization as a whole.
7. Make Continuing Professional Development Key
Businesses often fail to see the benefit of promoting continuing professional development – or CPD – within sales teams. Selling is sometimes seen as an innate skill, which you either have or you don’t, which cannot be progressed. But this isn’t true!
Although some people can naturally sell and others find it difficult, even the best reps in a sales organization can improve their skills through learning and development. This may be brushing up their knowledge on the latest selling techniques, developing their understanding of the customer or getting up to date with all the latest changes to a product or service.
Not only does this approach increase the knowledge and skill set of your sales team, but facilitating a path of self-development will also motivate your team to always be upping their skills.
8. Commit to a Vision-Lead Approach
A company’s vision should offer all stakeholders a clear idea of what that business is trying to achieve. Although a vision may be a little ‘fluffy’ in its wording, smart leaders should be able to work backward, creating time-bound goals and strategies in order to achieve it.
Productive sales teams will have a clear understanding of the overarching organizational vision and will know exactly what they need to achieve in order to contribute to it. It is the leader’s responsibility to make sure that these individual goals and targets are clearly communicated.
Let’s Get Productive
There are a number of cultural behaviors that must be facilitated in order to create a productive and successful sales team. How do you maintain a healthy company culture? Let us know in the comments.