How to Align Sales Culture with Sales Strategy

How to Align Sales Culture with Sales Strategy
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Do You Know How to Align Sales Culture with Sales Strategy?
When you align sales culture with sales strategy, you outperform your peers.  Our organizational alignment research found that aligning sales culture and strategy accounts for 71% of the difference between high and low performing companies.  Aligned organizations grow revenue 58% faster, are 72% more profitable, and satisfy customers 3.2 times greater than companies who lack sales cohesion and alignment.

Sales Effort Does Not Equal Sales Alignment
Most organizations focus a great deal of energy on making sure that their sales reps are working as hard as they can to meet revenue and margin targets. Sales leaders measure all kinds of sales activities. There is certainly no shortage of data.

CRMs can provide a wealth of information about past, current, and potential customers, deal sizes, frequency of customer contacts, and names and roles in customer organizations.  But sales activity information alone is of little value unless it is used properly to achieve understood and common sales objective.

Align Sales Culture with Sales Strategy to Get Lift
We maintain that unless you can align the overall organizational culture and the culture of your sales team (HOW and why things get done) with the business and sales strategies (WHAT you are trying to accomplish), your sales people and everyone that they need to work with and through may not be putting their efforts in the right direction with the right clients for the right reasons. Your sales efforts may be efficient, but not effective.

Sales Alignment Creates Sales Optimization
The goal should be sales optimization. Decisions should be made that chart the course toward proven sales behaviors that drive the right deals, with the right customers, in the right ways.  For the most productive sales culture, you need to allocate all sales related resources to where the greatest opportunities for profitable revenue growth reside.

Three Capabilities to Align Sales Culture with Sales Strategy
Here are three capabilities you must build into your sales culture so you are aligned with business priorities and set up to optimize business results:

  1. Hold Frequent Performance Conversations Focused on the Sales Activities that Matter Most
    Sales managers need to set aside ample time to observe and coach sales team members. Our research shows that effective sales coaching makes a 4-to-1 difference in terms of sales performance. A performance review once a year is of little value compared to behavioral tweaks on a regular basis that are aligned with the overall sales strategy.

    These one-on-one meetings are your opportunity to help your sales reps spend their time where they will be most productive. This means helping sales reps to continuously prioritize clients, clarify value propositions, deliver highly relevant and customer-centric solutions and overcome internal and external obstacles to winning deals and growing strategic sales accounts

  2. Update Your Sales Strategy to Reflect Market Realities
    In far too many companies, the sales strategy is woefully behind current company and marketplace realities. A sound sales strategy helps sales reps make decisions that keep them on track to win in a way that makes sense. However, adjustments may need to be made to stay in tune with internal pressures and externally driven buying patterns, selling cycles, and competitive shifts.

    An optimized sales strategy creates deep agreement and alignment about:

    — the critical few big bets that will drive profitable growth
    — what specifically differentiates you from the competition in the eyes of target clients
    — how sales success (and failure) will be measured at the company, team, and individual levels

    Then the sales team can agree upon the best sales processes and methodologies< to be used to achieve their goals, the key sales barriers that stand in their way, and the vital few actions to take to meet key objectives.

  3. Select the Right Target Customers.
    You should have an ideal target customer profile — one that represents your ideal buying partner in terms of size, maturity, need, and ability to buy. Too many sales people waste time on clients who don’t fit what they have to offer compared to the competition.

    Find clients who most appreciate what you have to offer and be smart about not exceeding your cost-to-serve or value-to-serve limits.  Remember, not all clients or opportunities are of equal value.  Treat prospects and deals accordingly.

The Bottom Line
If you want to build a high performing sales culture encourage the critical few winning behaviors that matter most, align with the organization’s business strategy and cultural norms, and focus on ideal target customers who most value what you bring to the table.

To learn more about how to align sales culture with sales strategy, download How to Optimize Your Sales Force in the Face of Increased Performance Pressure

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