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 shows you can grow 58% faster, be 72% more profitable and satisfy customers 3.2 times greater when you have 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. In fact there is no shortage of data.

CRMs provide a wealth of information about such sales concerns as:

  • Current and potential customers
  • Past, current and potential deal sizes
  • Frequency of customer contacts
  • Names and roles in customer organizations

But sales activity information alone is of little value unless it is used properly to achieve a common sales objective.

Align Sales Culture with Sales Strategy to Get Lift
We maintain that unless you can align the culture of your sales team (how and why things get done) with the sales strategy (what you are trying to accomplish), your sales people may not be putting their efforts in the right direction with the right clients. Your sales team 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
  • For the right reasons

For the most productive sales culture, you need to allocate resources where the greatest opportunity for profitable growth resides.

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, Informal Performance Conversations Focused on the Sales Activities that Matter Most
Sales managers need to set aside time to observe and coach sales team members. Our research shows that effective sales coaching makes a 4-to-1 difference in terms of 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:

  • Prioritizing clients
  • Clarifying your unique value proposition
  • Improving customer interactions
  • Providing value with every customer contact
  • Helping to overcome obstacles
  • Ensuring the customer’s situation is well understood
  • Delivering highly relevant and customer-centric solutions

2. Update Your Sales Strategy to Reflect Reality
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 externally driven buying patterns, selling cycles and competitive shifts.

smart sales strategy creates agreement and alignment about:

  • Who your target clients are where you should win the majority of the time
  • What differentiates you from the competition in the eyes of those target clients
  • How success (and failure) will be measured at the company, team and individual levels
  • What sales processes and methodologies will be used to achieve your goals
  • Which sales barriers stand in your way
  • What actions you will take to meet your 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 don’t exceed your cost-to-serve or value-to-serve limits.

The Bottom Line
Build a high performing sales culture by encouraging the critical few winning behaviors, aligning with the organization’s strategy, and by sticking with ideal target customers.

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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