Are You Ready to Build a Winning Sales Culture?
Winning Sales Culture
Ask any sales leader who they want on their team and you will hear terms like A-players, winners, top talent, and high performers. This may well be what they need to meet their sales targets, but do most sales leaders have what it takes to build a winning sales culture?
Our organizational alignment research found that sales culture (how work gets done) accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams in terms of revenue, margin, and customer loyalty. To build a high-performance sales team you need the the discipline, the perseverance, and the sales leadership qualities to make it happen.
Key Attributes of a Winning Sales Culture
Let’s look closely at what is needed to leap that chasm from under-performing to high-performing and also at what needs to be left behind. A sales leader needs to be:
When it comes to sales leadership, sales leaders need to be crystal clear about goals, success metrics, roles, and processes. In fact, strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales leaders. And without strategic sales clarity, you cannot build a winning sales culture that aligns your sales team to where you are headed.
Consistent and Fair
Sales performance should be measured accurately, consistently, frequently, and fairly. Feedback should be given often and praise or constructive criticism given honestly. To earn the trust a leader needs to be effective, your team members need to know where they stand, what the performance expectations are and how they will be assessed.
A Believer in and a Practitioner of Continuous Learning
Provide a targeted development program for your sales reps. A first step could be solution selling training followed by skilled coaching and ongoing reinforcement based upon the critical few sales scenarios and skills that matter most to your sales strategy. Even the most seasoned and successful salesperson can get better.
Set the example by asking for best practices and major obstacles at your sales meetings. A culture of sharing tips and collaborating on ways to win will strengthen your team and boost results.
A Communicator Who Can Inspire
The best leaders know how to inspire their followers to greater effort and performance. They do this by building a shared vision of success so that others can understand and commit to it. And it’s not just about the dollars. It’s about serving target customers in a way that makes sense for both the buyer and the seller.
The best sales leaders can communicate the “what,” show the “how” and inspire the “why.” You want your team to build relationships for the long-term that are based on integrity, trust, and the belief that the customer’s best interests are what matter most.
Honest and Straightforward
And here’s the rub – the point at which many sales leaders are not ready to REALLY commit to a winning sales culture. There is nothing to be gained, and everything to lose, if you are not transparent with your team. This is not about protecting people’s feelings. It is about being transparent so everyone knows who is winning and who is losing.
Everyone should know where they stand. Review performance as a team. There may be reasons why some targets have not been reached. A change in the competitive landscape, a product glitch, a shift in the role of a major supporter or, of course, incompetence.
It is your job to figure out the cause of under-performance and fix it. Granted, the fix may be painful. You have to let under-performers who do not improve go in a timely manner. Keeping them on will only demotivate your higher performers. They don’t want to work alongside mediocre sales folks. You promised a winning sales culture. If you don’t hold reps’ feet to the fire of accountability, you will lose those high performers you “said” you wanted to attract and retain.
The Bottom Line
Be sure you are fully prepared to do what it takes to move your sales culture from average and misaligned to high performing and aligned with your sales strategy. You need to create the vision, determine just what it will take for a salesperson to excel, adopt a winning sales strategy, and then wean out low performers as you hire more A-players. The upside can be huge.
To learn more about creating a winning sales culture, download The Keys to Creating a High Performance Sales Culture