Are You Ready to Build a 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 truly high-performing team…the discipline, the perseverance and the leadership qualities?
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:
- Consistent and fair.
Performance should be measured accurately, consistently, frequently and fairly. Feedback should be given often and praise orhttp:// 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 fudge the numbers. This is not about saving someone’s feelings. It is about being transparent so everyone knows who is winning and who is losing. Review the numbers 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 underperformance and fix it.Granted, the fix may be painful. You have to let underperformers who do not improve go in a timely manner. Keeping them on will only de-motivate your higher performing and newly hired top talent. They don’t want to work alongside mediocre sales folks. You promised a winning 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.
Our advice? Be sure you are fully prepared to do what it takes to move your sales culture from OK to high performing. You need to create the vision, determine just what it will take for a salesperson to excel, adopt a winning strategy and then wean out low performers as you hire more A-players. The upside can be huge.