Creating a winning sales culture should not be that big a deal
Transforming an underperforming sales team into a well-oiled sales machine doesn’t happen by luck.
Yet many companies try to grow sales by simply putting more pressure on the sales team, reminding them of their increasing quotas and adding up how much they’re behind.
Companies invest a lot of time and money into better products or more marketing, which doesn’t hurt, but only further masks your true underlying sales problem.
When you add to this the general poor standard of on boarding, the cost associated & time it takes to recruit getting the culture right from the off is by far the most cost effective & productive option.
Here are 10 key actions that I have experienced that will get your company on its way to creating a winning sales culture:
Follow your salespeople
The first thing I do when I take on work for a client is nothing but listening and watch the Sales Professionals & Sales processes in operation. I do this because in my view when it comes to why they aren’t producing, salespeople can rarely tell you but, they can show you.
Monitor daily activity
A mechanic wouldn’t look at your car and just tell you what was wrong with it; he’d check the engine & the electrics or hook it up to a machine to get readings. You have to do the same thing for your sales team. I advocate setting Sales Expectations these would be six to eight daily revenue producing activities that every Sales Professional is measured against. Whatever you choose is fine, but the data is essential for monitoring because numbers never lie.
Drive activity more than results
Sales is and always will be a numbers game. Whoever sees the most qualified amount of prospects in the shortest time has the best chance of winning. Salespeople have little control over who buys and who doesn’t, so spend more time pushing them to increase activity and results will increase as a byproduct.
Loose the bad apples
My experience tells me that the average sales manager knows whether or not a person is going to make it, yet it typically takes six to nine months to let that person go. Bad attitudes, low work ethic and people who undermine leadership are a virus to your sales team. The longer you let them stay around, the more it is costing your company and the more they are infecting those around them.
Start recognising your top leaders & sales professionals more publicly. One of the fastest ways I get results for clients is by helping them create an incentive plan for driving activity. You can come up with fun affordable incentives that create an immediate spike in activity. Top producing sales professionals are a different breed and it’s amazing how far they’ll go to get a £50 iTunes card or get their name called in a team meeting.
Create a purpose
Selling is emotional. Selling takes energy. And many salespeople need to be sold on the greater good of what they’re doing. They need to understand that they are contributing to a bigger picture. You can even have them come up with their own purpose by just capturing their responses in a group setting to the questions “What do we believe in and why are we here?” Salespeople need vision and it’s the job of leadership to help that vision come alive.
Elevate the sales professional
Sales professionals are amazing. They are often among the highest income earners in your company & they should be. They battle doubt and rejection every single day. If you want them to produce you need to promote how important sales professionals are in your company. In your talk and actions, elevate the importance of the sales function to the other departments in your company.
Invest in sales training
It’s your company’s job to give your sales professionals the tools and training they need to succeed in their position. Sales cultures have well-defined systems to help their salespeople grow, learn and achieve. This is especially important for new hires but you also need to have some way to deliver on-going advanced sales training ideas for your entire sales team. If you don’t think this is important, then determine how much it costs you on average to hire someone and multiply that by the number of salespeople who didn’t make it last year; you’ll quickly see it’s worth the investment.
Create more accountability
Most good sales professionals crave and welcome regular accountability. Spending regular one-on-one time with your people not only gives you a chance to mentor and train with them; it shows that what they do is important and that you care about their success. It also means you can create a bit of healthy tension as you push for results.
Create sales scripts
Most salespeople are far less technically proficient at selling than they think. They are reticent to call on new business because they aren’t good at it and they don’t know what to say. While they will complain about being forced to say word-for-word scripts, you must have them available and they must work. A sales team without sales scripts is like a business without a business plan, it lacks focus and is inconsistent.
Going after these activities will have a significant positive impact on your sales culture & create more successful sales outcomes.
But maybe your still not sure how or where to start?