As we begin to emerge from the pandemic-induced twilight zone of the past year, now is the perfect time to evaluate the weaknesses and strengths in your sales culture. Just as your engine is what powers your car, the sales and marketing efforts are what power the revenue growth of your business.
Working with clients, we notice two distinct types of sales organizations:
- Sales teams that are hitting on all cylinders and the rest of the departments are struggling to keep up.
- Sales teams that are not hitting on all cylinders ─ there are stress factors that need to be addressed.
This three-part blog was created by studying those high-functioning sales teams vs. those that are struggling. Regardless of your industry, banking, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, transportation, or telecommunications, many companies are still grappling with the magnitude of the impact the pandemic has had on their company. The reality is for many companies to survive and prosper, their sales efforts must improve!
Just because your company has SalesForce does not mean you have a “sales culture.” Likewise, sales training alone isn’t going to boost sales long term. A true sales culture is a balance of many factors and variables the composite of which forms your “sales culture.”
My goal with this blog is to provide an “A-Z Soup to Nuts” comprehensive detail of the variables that come into play for evaluation if you intend to tune up your sales culture. I want to make one crucial point, there is no one “perfect sales culture.” Sales cultures come in many shapes and sizes, so don’t think that your sales culture needs to possess every variable discussed in this blog to be effective. Every company must find the right balance of variables that when combined create the ideal sales culture for their company and their market. The goal of a sales culture must be to balance employee motivation and production with sales and service behaviors that consistently create distinctive customer experiences.
With that statement as your litmus test, let’s dive in and take a closer look at the spectrum of variables that create a sales culture.
Overall Company Culture:
- What is your company’s overall posture on employee performance?
- How is performance defined in your organization and more importantly how is it measured?
- Are the five key roles of each position clearly articulated?
- Does each employee have annual and quarterly goals?
If sales performance is not where you want it, the first component to evaluate is what is your company’s overall culture as it relates to employee performance. The performance appraisal process is key to defining your overall culture and your sales culture.
In many organizations, the performance appraisal process is perfunctory. Completed once a year, managers give little constructive feedback, and the raise is tied to some type of modest cost-of- living increase. Those typically are not the types of cultures that inspire high performance.
Crucial to assess with a sober reality is what level of employee performance is your company willing to accept without consequences? Markets and the availability of suitable candidates can have considerable influence on the tolerance levels of companies to accept varying levels of employee performance. How often are employees are terminated for sustained periods of poor performance? The key point here is you are not going to build a high-performance sales culture inside of an organization that does not demand high performance from all employees.
Core Values: Intricately linked to point #1, do your core values point to an expectation of high standards, high performance, continuous growth, accountability, goal attainment, and/or striving to be an industry leader?
Core values are just a set of essential characteristics that define who you are at the core and what you want from the culture of your organization. Mission and vision statements are not to be confused with core values.
This may seem obvious, but the mission and vision statements are often multiple sentences that paint a picture of what a company strives to become. Core values are short statements of two to three words linked to attitudes and behaviors. The following are examples of core values:
- Humbly confident
- Grow or die.
- Help first.
- Do the right thing.
- Do what you say.
Core values influence a wide array of key business functions from recruiting, hiring, marketing, and sales to name just a few. Once clearly defined and articulated, the trick is to stay laser-focused using your core values to drive strategy and decision-making throughout the company.
Keep an eye out next week for Part 2 of Sales Culture Tune-up A to Z. In Part 2, I’ll be discussing performance management, incentive compensation, developing a clear marketing strategy and plan, sales training and sales coaching.
Have a great rest of your week,