Simply put, sales culture is what most sales reps do most of the time. The culture of a sales team comes down to the shared values and practices of all the members of the team. While it is true that the behaviours of employees create the sales culture and that it is often a subconscious thing, it is also true that management can put elements in place to encourage preferred behaviours. These preferred behaviours in turn create the ideal sales culture.
You cannot build a sturdy house without a solid foundation and you cannot create a great sales culture without good sales reps. Bad apples can spoil the morale of the entire sales team and eventually bring those around them down. Know what type of people you want in your team and make sure you hire only according to that type. It might take longer to get together a team you are satisfied with but it will be well worth it in the end. As many startups profess: “Hire slowly, fire quickly”.
One of the qualities of a great sales rep is the need to improve and grow all the time. A sales culture that creates frequent training opportunities of excellent quality should therefore be a priority. Having a consistent training program in place can help to retain current sales reps and prevent them from becoming stagnant in their positions. Training programs also encourage and motivate sales reps to apply for openings within your sales team.
A competitive environment shouldn’t equal one person getting ahead at the expense of others. Healthy competition within a sales culture is where people use the achievements of others to encourage themselves to do better. Also, sales reps in a healthy competitive environment always maintain a team player attitude.
Competition doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a game, but this totally depends on the type of personalities in your sales team. Some people like to physically see their achievements and to be acknowledged for their effort in front of others. Others prefer the mental competition between co-workers. Find out what type of competitive environment motivates your team and then implement that.
Sales is a rapidly-changing environment and sales reps who get stuck in a certain process usually get left behind. Having agility means being able to see changes in the sales environment and adapting to it. If a sales team sticks with one way of doing things all the time simply because it works well, it can be detrimental as it may be prevent them from discovering a process that works even better.
Being agile can also help you gain the best sales talent. If sales reps see that your environment is modern and flexible, and not stuck with outdated sales processes, they are more likely to gravitate towards you. Another benefit of an agile sales culture is the possibility of discovering things that will save you both time and money. Frequently exploring new processes can help you identify inefficient ones and indicate when it’s time for a change.
The right tools
If a mechanic doesn’t have the correct tools to fix a car, all his knowledge can’t be put into practice. The same goes for sales reps – a productive sales culture can only be effectively put into action if the sales reps have the correct tools at their disposal. These tools can include everything from the most relevant and up-to-date information about products to training and technology such as the use of electronic ordering apps like Onsight. It is also important to get input from the sales reps themselves as they are the people with the on-hand experience and know which tools are useful in their fields.
Every sales rep in a team has their own individual goals (such as improving personal performance), but the team cannot move forward if there isn’t a shared vision. This shared vision doesn’t necessarily have to be concerned with numbers only. A shared vision needs to also provide an emotional drive behind the sell. Why is there a need to sell? What is the purpose? What emotional reward does the sale provide?