A positive sales culture can make or break your business. When a sales culture is healthy and present, it can attract sales talent and help your team feel content and engaged in the office setting. Of course, a more motivated sales team will result in more deal closings and a better company bottom line.
There are very obvious signs the culture in your sales organization is negative – and this type of culture can damage your business. Signs that you need to rethink your sales culture include high sales representative turnover, resentment and rivalries among the reps, poor employee attitudes towards management, and a general lack of interest in camaraderie between workers.
Here are 9 ways to build a positive sales culture.
For many fast-growing companies who suddenly have a need for salespeople, it’s tempting to hire anyone with the qualifications. Many organizations do this with the thought of churning through salespeople until they find those who can produce. However, settling for someone who is simply adequate but not the best fit can actually kill your sales culture. Take your time and create an “anatomy of the perfect sales person” for your product and target customer.
Make a checklist of characteristics that a salesperson will need to have in order to create a cohesive sales organization and be able to communicate your company vision to potential customers. For some sales organizations, teamwork is a top characteristic that salespeople need in order to create the right culture within the organization. Armed with this as a hiring parameter, HR may look for recent grads who were collegiate athletes that know how to work as a team to achieve goals. As a leadership team, work through defining your sales culture and the characteristics your salespeople would need to embody to work within that culture.
Monitor daily activity
A nurse or doctor wouldn’t merely glance at you and give you a diagnosis. They would run some tests, analyze your situation, explain to you what is going on, and suggest a treatment plan. It’s vital you do the same for your sales team.
Having a deep understanding of the sales pipeline all the way through closing deals gives sales leaders the data to make adjustments that lead to increased productivity and ultimately happier teams. Technology that simplifies customer relationship management and workflow automation can streamline mundane tasks. This gives sales organizations the freedom to listen to their customers’ needs, creating a responsive sales culture.
Acknowledge both successes and failures
It’s crucial to celebrate when your team hits a sales goal they were working hard to achieve. This will help build a strong sales team that’s willing to go the extra mile to achieve goals. Talking both positively and constructively about failures reps experience is essential, too. While it’s a good idea to take the team to celebrate a great month or quarter, it’s also imperative to address issues if your sales team didn’t quite meet their goal. Don’t berate the team if sales aren’t as high as you hoped, but talk through any challenges the team is facing to improve sales results the next month. Creating a culture of learning, understanding, and growing can help encourage a positive sales culture.
Drum up some healthy competition
It’s a smart plan to stir up some competition among your sales representatives in a way that is fun. Make sure you eliminate and avoid negative behavior and encourage your reps to cheer one another on. Create sales contests that compel the sales reps to work diligently and ensure the stakes are not too high – you don’t want to cause them to feel resentment. It’s natural for reps to compete to see who sells the most, but it’s also smart to emphasize to focus on the team as a whole, all working towards a common goal, too.
Drive activity over results
Sales are a number game and that isn’t going to change. Whoever sees the greatest number of qualified prospects in the least amount of time has the best chance of winning. Salespeople cannot control who buys and who doesn’t. This makes it essential to encourage your team to increase their activity, knowing that results will increase as a consequence. This doesn’t mean quality should lack in either the sales message or follow through.
Keeping activity high while putting a repeatable process in place that focuses on the quality of the sales message are key to long-term success of the team. Organizations can accomplish this by using automated marketing solutions that message prospects differently based on behavior. This way the sales person knows what the prospect was interested in before making the sales pitch.
Salespeople are often the highest income earners in your business – and they should be. Salespeople have a difficult role and unique challenges because they battle rejection on a daily basis. If your goal is for them to produce, then you have to promote how honorable it is to be a sales rep for your company. Put the importance of their position on a pedestal, and highlight how pivotal it is to the success of your business. A great way to do this is to gamify the sales team making them motivated to compete and publicly reward their successes.
Learn to recognize your team
Recognize the leaders – and in a public way. A fast way to get results is to create an incentive plan that drives activity. Bonuses and prizes are often tied to production, but affordable incentives can result in an immediate spike in activity. Remember to maintain a high-energy environment. Sales can crush even the biggest of egos, which is why positivity is necessary to keep your employees persevering in the face of rejection. Keep things light with friendly competitions, public acknowledge your top salespeople and share tips that lead to success.
Master the process of training your salespeople
It is the job of your business to give your salespeople the training and tools essential for success in their position. Positive sales cultures have systems that help their salespeople learn and achieve their goals. This is crucial for new employees, but it’s also important to have on-going advantage sales training for your entire sales team. Observe reps on phone calls and offer ideas as they plan how to approach prospects. Training courses by third parties and seminars are good, too, but the most important thing is to get your sales team to collaborate to share ideas and best practices
Offer continuous learning
Another thing that makes a great sales team is one that allows reps to continue to better their skills. Remaining stagnant won’t help the team improve, but education in the workplace matters and ongoing learning for future success is crucial. As a manager, it’s your job to foster an environment that promotes learning, continuous training, and coaching for reps. Set aside time each week for every sales rep and hold sessions for training your team to develop sales skills. Growth opportunities not only allow reps to make improvements related to their career skills, they also decrease the likelihood they will leave for a new position at another company.
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