Create Your Own Sales Culture
For the last five years I have been working with other companies to help them improve their sales results. We always talk about a “sales culture”. So I would like to share my observations with you about what makes a great sales culture.
First, and most important, the company is customer focused and sales driven. I was in one company the other day and every administrative employee had a sign on their desk; “Sales makes Salaries”. That’s right, the focus of the entire organization was on increasing revenue.
After all without new sales most companies cannot exist. New sales mean growth. New sales are necessary to replace lost customers. New sales are necessary to keep great employees. Great employees do not stay with companies that are not growing and providing new opportunities.
I am always shocked by companies I visit where operations, accounting and administrative employees act like their day is being interrupted by a call or request from a sales person.
Second, a great sales culture includes great sales people. Not self-centered sales people but ones who realize they are part of a team and their job is to find long term profitable customers. Sales people who believe constant improvement is possible and are committed to improving day by day.
Third, great sales cultures have a bias for action. General Eisenhower said, “Ready, shoot, aim”. The idea is clear, great sales cultures do not wait for all the lights to be on green before they leave on a trip. I believe it is like Steve Jobs said, “Sell it and then we will build it”. It is this bias for action that beats the competition, keeps enthusiasm high and stretches everyone involved. Take one thing away from this observation. Every time someone on the sales team says, “I or we are waiting on…” you lost ground to the competition. Great sales cultures avoid this at all costs.
Fourth, great sales cultures weed the garden. I have found many companies that will not weed the garden. The “anybody in the territory is better than nobody” does not encourage the flowers to grow or produce the pride needed to inspire great performances. No great team in business or sports was ever built without a commitment to find better players and upgrade the current player’s skills.
Fifth, there is a commitment to the customer. One company I worked with fined their sales people $10 every time they caught them saying “they”. It is we or our. Customers and prospects sense this commitment. They are tuned into thinly veiled insincerity. Most of us have had a BS meter since we were 14 so does your prospect or customer. I hate hearing sales people say how dumb or messed up their prospects and customers are. It is evident to the prospect, more evident to the customer. Seventy percent of attrition in American business is due to the human factor in dealing with their current provider, not price or features. They did not like who they were dealing with.
Finally, great sales cultures are actively driven. They realize that the more people you see the more you sell. This means they embrace values like hard work (more than 40 hours per week), persistence, positive thinking, etc. They embrace a philosophy for their sales people of no excuses today.
If you have read this as a sales person, a CEO, a CFO or any other position in your company ask yourself both personally and for your company, are you customer driven and sales focused? If the answer is yes, congratulations! If the answer is no, start doing something about it.