Have you ever worked in an environment with a great culture? What made it great? Many of us have had some wonderful experiences in work cultures that were special. There are a lot of elements that make up a positive culture. High integrity management, frequent recognition, open communication, and devoted teammates are some of the many key facets for a great work culture.
How do we instill the right qualities in our sales organizations so that everyone feels involved and responsible for a positive sales culture? I believe there are seven key elements that are crucial for creating a culture that prioritizes sales success.
- Talent is Key. Fielding a team with the wrong qualifications is a recipe for disaster. Great organizations always start with great people. When it comes to sales abilities, what are the best qualities you should seek? Check out this article I wrote about the best qualities of top performing sales people.
- Instill Process. Great sales cultures avoid “random acts of sales and marketing.” Sales success is always intentional and proactive. Therefore, processes must be designed which produce predictable results. If your overall sales results are less than desired, then examine your processes in depth. For example, do you have a well-designed lead generation process? Many organizations are starving for new leads. Why? Because processes weren’t designed and discipline was not instilled to produce predictable results.
- Continual Training & Coaching. Have you ever had a good coach? This would be someone who encouraged you, regardless of your background, age, talent, etc. They saw past any faults and got the best out of you. We need this type of “management style” in business more than ever. And, we need it regularly in sales leadership. In a growing sales team, the learning never stops. Be sure you’re coaching, and not just managing, so your individual team members are continually improving.
- Accountable Performance. We all need to be held accountable, regardless of our position in an organization. The fact is, we can have great people and wonderful process, but performance must be the goal. Are your performance expectations clearly defined and communicated? Are you coaching your team to help them meet those expectations? And, if someone is regularly failing to meet expectations, do you have a solid plan to deal with those situations?
- Focus on Controllable Behaviors. In sales organizations, we sometimes focus on the wrong behaviors. Many managers will focus on metrics and behaviors outside the control of the sales person. What’s the correct answer? Emphasize those activities that your team can control. For example, here’s one of my favorites: pipeline growth. Sales people can control their activities to find, build and qualify their deal pipelines every week. If they start with that controllable activity, then they can perfect the other behaviors that will affect their overall sales process.
- Strive to be World Class. This sounds like an audacious, lofty goal doesn’t it? But my point is this: are we continually working to be the best in our class, or are we happy with something less? How hard would it be to strive for the best? I would start by studying direct competitors you admire. What makes them so good? How can you close the gap and surpass them? Are you continually improving your people, processes and results so that you become that admired competitor? Make this goal a part of your culture and watch what happens to the commitment of your team.
- Give Recognition & Celebrate. This is the icing on the cake for great cultures. Be lavish in praising great results and above average effort. Hold these folks up as the gold standard. Let them tell their stories and inspire the rest of your team. Work hard at recognizing the breakthroughs and victories. Again, make this a regular part of your culture and you’ll notice an incredible uplift in morale, loyalty and productivity.
Success is not accidental, it is a well-planned event. The same is true with great cultures, because they don’t just happen. Start where you are and draw up a simple plan to improve your culture based on the criteria above. If you stick with it, you will never look back after experiencing all the incredibly positive benefits.
Want to discuss how to build a great sales culture? Let’s start a conversation.