You’re probably familiar with Peter Drucker’s famous statement: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Time and again this statement proves to be true. A company culture can offer a powerful competitive advantage and make a difference, especially in times of uncertainty or change.
You also probably already know you shouldn't market your products solely based on price. If that happens, your competitor will also lower their price, and you’ll become vulnerable.
In the same vein, you shouldn’t attract people to work in your organization solely based on salary, because if another company offers them more money, well – they will head for the door.
So, what can set you apart? What can help you keep the talent? Among other things, it’s your company’s culture!
When everyone is aligned with the company’s values and feel as a part of something important, results follow and people go an extra mile to achieve what they believe in.
But when it comes to sales culture, where do you get started? What’s the difference between a good sales culture and a great sales culture?
In our webcast “How to supercharge your sales strategy: 7 ways to build a winning sales culture”, Camilla Bommen – Managing Director at SuperOffice Norge, and Sindre Håland – CEO and Founder at SalesScreen, shared actionable advice on how to create a winning sales culture based on their experience.
Here are a few key highlights, but we urge you to watch the whole webcast for in-depth discussions and examples.
⏩ You can find the link to the video recording of the webcast at the end of this article.
Culture is a shared gut instinct
Let’s start from the beginning. What is a sales culture?
Even though it may seem like an intangible concept, here is how Camilla Bommen explained it:
“Culture is a shared gut instinct. It's a shared perception of what's the right thing to do, how we should treat customers, and how we should treat each other”.
A sales culture is based on processes.
It is not something that happens overnight, and it takes a lot of work, especially from leaders. You need to have a foundation of processes that transform into routines, attitudes, and then becomes embedded in the way you work.
And when you work in sales, the customer on the other end of the telephone line or computer screen, will know if the person they are talking to is motivated, or if it is just someone who’s only doing something what needs to be done.
But how do you create a sales culture? Here are the four practical tips to get you started:
1. Hire and develop your team
There’s no culture without people.
That’s why attracting and hiring the right people, as well as continuously developing them, is where you start. For leaders, this means making sure that people have everything they need to succeed on their own.
Sindre Håland stressed the importance of autonomy in creating a winning sales culture. However, it is only possible for people to feel autonomous, if they have all the training on the processes they need to succeed.
A leader needs to support the new hires to get them up and running, which means going through all the steps and getting them up to date on:
- What’s the first thing you should do in your day?
- What’s the presentation for the first meeting?
- How do you summarize what needs to be sent the customer?
To have self-performing and autonomous salespeople, they must have a clear understanding of how you do things in your organization.
2. Set realistic goals and motivate people
Next, you need to set realistic goals to make sure people feel challenged, but not frustrated.
Sindre pointed out that people are competitive by nature, so it is good to fire up the competitive side of salespeople, to push them to new heights. It is important, though, to make sure you’re setting realistic goals for your team, otherwise instead of feeling challenged and motivated, people will feel frustrated.
And when it comes to motivation, you need to celebrate wins and recognize improvements.
To illustrate motivational methods, Sindre suggested to think about the main currencies that sales teams value the most. First, it’s obviously – money and things. But that’s not all. Salespeople also love having fun, getting a boost in their self-esteem, and appreciate public recognition of personal efforts – often called a “social capital”.
So, celebrate all the wins – big or small. Not only the biggest deal of the year, but all the wins that happen along the way; for example, a new record in cold calls on a particular week.
This is how Sindre explained the importance of motivation:
“People should be elevated; they should get that self-esteem boost and some social capital. It helps them level up and propel towards their goals.”
3. Explain how to achieve sales goals
Salespeople need to understand where the organization is going, and how their goals are aligned with the “big picture”.
That’s why you need to have a strategy and get your team on board be defining clear goals and values, and showing how to attain them.
There are different ways to do this:
- Introduce rituals, such as a Monday meeting where the leader and the team go through goals and motivate each other. •
- Initiate brainstorming exercises on how to achieve your organization’s goals, so that everyone in the team not only understands where they’re going, but also gets a say on how to get there. •
- Use the OKR (objectives and key results) method, where you start with setting company goals and business objectives, and move down to individual goals.
By getting people on board and showing how their work impacts the entire company, you’ll naturally motivate your team. And they, in turn, will get that sense of belonging and making a difference.
Explaining why they need to do things and how – helps people work together as a team.
4. Have a sales process documented and implemented
A winning sales culture depends also on how well we create and support key business processes.
To get that “shared gut feeling”, you must have a common ground to stand on and help people get up to speed. For that, you need processes and practices outlined and backed by data.
You need to explain the steps and make sure everyone is walking in the same direction.
As a sales leader, you can also use the insights generated by the team and make it a learning experience.
The balance between giving people autonomy and making sure they are working within the best practices is something that needs to be aligned and regularly realigned with the team as your organization grows.
Your CRM solution should reflect your sales culture
- A sales culture is made of processes,
- You should give people the tools they need to succeed,
- Celebrating wins is important,
- People need autonomy, but should also follow the best practices.
But where should you start working on those? The answer is – your CRM solution!
In other words – your CRM should reflect your sales culture!
It’s the place where you make information available to everyone. It’s where you get everyone on the same page. It’s where you can track activities, outline your sales processes, and get insights that’ll help you optimize and improve your sales culture.
Here are the seven practical tips that were discussed in our webcast, and that you can use right away to motivate your team and improve their performance with the help of a CRM system.
- Collaborate and share info
- Define the right activities
- Sales process: document and implement it
- Pipeline management is key
- Set sales targets and goals
- Sales KPIs and dashboards
- Export data or integrate other systems
Hope you’ll use some of these learnings in your sales strategy and create a fun, inclusive, and – most importantly – a winning sales culture!