How To Build A Winning Sales Culture

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Pivot to a success-oriented sales culture

Ask a sales manager or leader if they have worked with a successful sales team, and they will say yes. But ask them if they have been able to sustain this high-performance sales culture, and the answer may be different.

As a manager and role model, you are responsible for developing a winning sales culture that sets everyone up for success and creates a rock-solid business foundation. It requires planning and nurturing. The foundation you build will provide your employees, customer, and business with outstanding long-term rewards.

Working in a sales role is not only an important job. It is demanding and stressful too. Your sales team spends almost every moment working towards positively impacting the company’s bottom line. Without high functioning salespeople, a business cannot thrive.

A winning sales culture

A winning sales culture needs to be sales representative-focused to ensure its success. Send the message that your company holds a salesperson in high regard. They are respected. Then make sure to reward and reinforce each representative’s activity. 

Once you have developed and implemented this winning sales culture, what rewards will you and the sales team reap? First, you will attract the best talent with the best mindset. Employees will consistently over-achieve their goals and exhibit high morale and energy. They are fully engaged in their job and are willing to share their knowledge and skills with newer or less skilled colleagues. Everyone works together.  In a word, they are 100% present. 

Consider what this culture will do for your existing customers and new prospects. Your sales team will build better relationships. They will be trusted and respected in less time. All of this means that you will create loyal employees and customers. It is a win-win situation.

Did you know that there are three steps you can take right now to re-align your team and move toward a winning sales culture?

Outline clear goals and expectations

Imagine having to put together a complicated piece of equipment without any instructions. Chances are, you won’t be too pleased with the situation. You may complete the job but, you may feel like giving up. 

A job without instructions, clear goals and expectations leaves an employee feeling uncertain, unsafe, and insecure. They are losing momentum, confidence, and sales before you know it. Establishing and measuring goals and expectations helps ensure everyone will focus on and achieve tasks within a timeframe. It will also set a foundation for trust and psychological safety.

We set goals for ourselves every day. They are the reason why we get out of bed in the morning. Goal setting is the best way to set yourself up for success. If anyone struggles with goal or expectation setting, think about this. Getting washed and dressed every morning is a goal. Paying bills on time is a goal and an expectation. Everyone has experience with setting goals and expectations.

George T. Doran first developed the S.M.A.R.T. goals principle around 1981. This concept is still popular today because it works. The acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Let’s take a look at this basic S.M.A.R.T. goal example.

Goal Example: I Want to Grow My Business
  • Specific: I will get 3 non-prescribing physicians to prescribe our medication within the next 30 days.
  • Measurable: Measure success by the number of new prescriptions each physician writes as indicated in our database.
  • Attainable: Meet with each physician and discuss what type of patient falls into the perfect niche for this product. Ask for their commitment to prescribe and set up follow-up appointments within 2 weeks. Visit pharmacists in each physician’s medical building to review features and benefits of this medication. Offer to set up lunch and learn for staff and invite physicians, medical staff and pharmacy staff.
  • Relevant: Adding additional clients will allow my business to grow and increase my revenue.
  • Time-Based: I will have three new prescribing physicians within one month.

Perhaps you would like to lead by example and set up your own S.M.A.R.T. goal.  Take a minute today and establish a time to meet with your team. Discuss and help them set one or two S.M.A.R.T. goals.  Make sure to set up check-in dates to offer support and guidance as you move toward that winning sales culture.

How To Build A Winning Sales Culture

Prioritise upskilling your salespeople 

Being faced with the responsibility of finding and hiring the perfect salesperson can be a double-edged sword. You will have the opportunity to hire someone you believe is a great fit. But you will also need to train them. Knowing the criteria to look for in a candidate will significantly improve the chances of finding someone who will perform, flourish, and succeed.  

If you are working with an existing sales team, providing various ongoing learning opportunities will show your dedication to their development. Your team will feel valued, and this will result in greater productivity. 

Determine valuable skills and characteristics

Creating a list of required skills needed for the job will help you uncover the training areas each of your sales representatives may need. If you wonder where to begin, think about your top salesperson’s best skills. Did they have prior sales experience? Does the job require specific technological knowledge? You may even want to ask your entire sales team what they believe are the top skills needed for the job.

Creating a list of critical characteristics needed for the job is of equal value. Is it essential to have humble confidence or be a great listener? Do they need to be a great team player or have a passion and aptitude for learning? Do you want someone who is an early riser and self-motivated?

Now that you have a solid sense of what training and upskilling is necessary, you will want to set up regular opportunities for all of this to happen. Here is some good news. Ongoing training does not have to take up massive amounts of time. Of course, onboarding training should take time, but upskilling can occur in various formats. Lunch and learns, video calls, watching online videos followed up with a quiz can be beneficial without taking people away from their daily tasks for long. Having a subject specialist host a workshop can also provide an excellent opportunity for your team to improve their abilities.

Taking the time to have a crystal-clear picture of the skills and characteristics required for the job will minimise your stress and maximize your efforts towards training and upskilling a winning sales team.

Build a diverse team of salespeople for a winning sales culture

In 2017 the Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) teamed up with Suncorp and Novartis to create a bi-annual survey. This survey investigates how inclusive the Australian workforce is and how it is changing and improving. There is some good news here. Australian workplace efforts to support and improve diversity and inclusion are increasing.

Building workplace diversity is not a new topic. But what is new is that more companies choose to look through the lens of diversity and inclusion with every decision they make. Here’s why.

Diversity has a strong positive impact on the workplace. A diverse team of people allows for a unique and varied set of characteristics and differences to affect what takes place in an organization. These characteristics can increase the number of creative ideas and cognitive approaches available when communicating with various people and solving unfamiliar problems.

Having a diverse team can also significantly increase trust and employee engagement in a company. Research conducted by the University of Georgia, Dublin City University and the University of California, Berkeley, ‘explored the relationship between diversity practices, inclusion, trust, and employee engagement at work’. This study included 4,597 respondents. This research found a statistically significant increase in employee engagement at work for all employees when diversity practices were in place.

A diverse and engaged sales team is a happy team. Because your team is happy, they are likely to stay with the company. Employee retention saves money, time, and morale. Increased hard work will result in increased profitability. Relationships with customers will strengthen. So, it makes sense to look through the lens of diversity when building and sustaining a winning sales culture.

RK is the CEO & Co-Founder of Resonate.

RK is Resonate’s chief strategist, thought leader, and IT industry veteran. Our clients depend on RK to advise on their business strategy, channel strategy, and sales strategy. 

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