Does a sales driven culture matter?
The Definition of Sales Culture
Much has been written lately about the importance of a strong culture in driving success. Think of a sales driven culture simply as how and why sales-related things really get done… the way sales people think, behave and act. According to a recent report from the Harvard Business School, culture can account for up to half of the differential in performance between organizations in the same industry.
Sales Culture Accounts for 40% of the Difference
We agree that a sales driven culture can make the difference between thriving and just surviving. Our organizational alignment research found that culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high- and low-performing sales teams in the areas of revenue growth, margin, customer satisfaction, customer retention, sales leadership effectiveness and engagement levels of sales reps.
New Thinking About Sales Cultures
What is new in culture-oriented thinking is the idea that basing an entire company upon a sales driven culture can give an organization a significant competitive edge. The philosophy behind this approach is that no matter how superior your products or services may be, if you can’t convince someone to buy them in a way that makes sense for them and their unique situation, your business will fail.
Businesses Fall by the Wayside All the Time
Just think of that gift shop on Main Street that you counted on for the perfect gift every time. Apparently, though, you were very much in the minority. The store front was drab so went unnoticed; there was no advertising campaign so no draw for new customers; and the retail clerks were somewhat unwelcoming to those who happened to walk in.
The merchandise was first-class but sales were too few for the store to survive.
Four Steps to Create a Sales Driven Culture
If you are ready to think of your company as first, last and always a sales organization, here is how you can go about embracing a sales driven culture.
1. Revamp Your Mission to be Sales-focused
Embody your new focus in your mission statement so that there is no doubt about why you are in business and how you intend to operate. Make sure your entire work force understands you plan to grow profits by acquiring new customers, serving those customers for increased profitability and building long-term customer loyalty by helping them to succeed.
2. Personally Communicate and Reinforce the New Sales Mission
Do not rely on others to spread the word. It is your responsibility as a leader to reinforce the message at every turn. Too many companies publish their mission once and then assume it will become embedded in the culture.
Step up to the challenge of ensuring that each and every worker supports the mission to help your customers to succeed in the way they think and the way they behave.
3. Create Alignment with Sales
Sales is all about profitable and consistent growth. At times this can create problems for other departments. The sales team, eager to close a deal, can make promises of delivery that tax manufacturing or promises of product tweaks that put pressure on the design team.
Keep the focus on what you all have agreed will help the organization succeed…acquisition of new customers, development of current customers, and retention of profitable customers…and work to mediate internal conflicts. Agree upon what sales needs to get and from whom. Then agree upon what the sales function needs to provide to each and every department so that everyone is set up to perform at their peak.
4. Focus on Building a High Performance Sales Culture
Build a high performing sales environment by setting clear and achievable performance expectations, establishing fair and transparent metrics, holding team members accountable, rewarding high performers and coaching or changing struggling performers.
The Bottom Line
When the sales force succeeds, the organization as a whole is more likely to flourish. If you accept this, take the leap toward founding your entire organization’s culture on the way a high performing sales team operates.
What to learn more about what it takes to create a sales driven culture? Download Sales Culture Lessons – What is the Right Amount of Sales Performance Pressure?
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