Culture is the infrastructure of a profitable sales team within successful companies. You probably have spent several hours with your executive board to develop your company culture, and it is a comfortable one, but what if it isn’t as strong or effective as you think. If you spend your time being proactive, focusing on the things you can have an effect on, preparing and planning, then you will create a successful, prosperous sales culture.
What does it mean to be a culture creator?
Culture is defined as a set of values and beliefs that permeate throughout an organization. It usually emanates from a single person, the leader of the team. The sales managers beliefs, values, and attitude have a significant impact on the success or failure of team members.
Cultures are based on employees’ understanding what the managers expectations are, and the different correlation between the sales manager expectations and successful or unsuccessful outcomes.
You are the sales manager because you have the leadership necessary to develop your team’s environment. You have a major impact, whether or not you are conscious of it, on your team’s success. Although some things are out of your control, such as product quality, delivery times, or natural disasters, the key to success is how you proactively plan and implement organizational goals.
Why should you spend any time building a sales culture?
A strong company culture doesn’t happen overnight. Cultures begin with the first interactions a manager has with the employees, whether it is:
- the first speech to the team
- the initial conversation with a few sales personnel
We have to fully understand the power of culture before we can begin to cultivate our own.
“The Pygmalion Effect”
As detailed by the Harvard Business Review:
“The Pygmalion Effect is the behavior by which managers influence their employees. From a business perspective, a manager’s expectations for an employee directly affect the employee’s performance. Employees who are expected to do well actually do well. And those who are expected to fail tend to fail. Messages sent by managers whether conscious or subconscious, verbal or nonverbal have a direct impact on employee behavior.”
Your sales team’s performance is often a direct reflection of your own behavior or expectations. You can positively influence your team by interacting personally with all the individuals regularly and remembering that actions speak louder than words.
Lead by example.
A successful sales culture will lead to higher performance, greater profitability, and a happy team. Without the right culture, you could experience high turnover, static or decreasing performance, and significantly lower profitability.
Doesn’t a successful sales culture just happen without your intervention?
Most sales managers would choose to think so. And they’d be wrong.
There are companies you would never work for and companies you would love to work for. Most of your knowledge of these companies is based on your perception of their culture. There’s a good chance your subordinates are content with their work environment, but now, take a minute to analyze your habits and how they affect the environment, how often you’re consciously trying to improve it, and the importance you’ve assigned to doing it right.
Developing your sales culture starts with these two steps:
Step 1: Mind Your Habits
Realize that what you do on a daily basis helps you forecast tomorrow’s needs. You can help a salesperson with a sales call, order issues, account reviews, but to focus on the future you need to create a vision for the future:
- If you are a entry level sales manager you need to be thinking 3 to 6 months ahead.
- As a mid-level manager, 6 to 9 months ahead.
- As a senior manager or executive, 9 to 18 months ahead.
How can you do this effectively? Thinking proactively about your culture, and asking yourself, what are the keys to success for my company, customers, and team? What currently defines your sales culture? What do people say about it now and how would you rather they view it? Do you remember the best boss you ever had, what was the culture of that sales team?
Step 2: Take a Step Back & Analyze it
Assess your current company culture from all points of view, from senior management through entry level. Look at the current environment from the perspective of all other functions in an organization.
Sales is a unique function. It’s an organization’s only revenue generating function Because of this, it allows some benefits not usually available to the rest of the organization. These include:
- More little travel
- Expense management
- More flexible hours.
Because of these perks, the sales culture can be skewed in comparison to the rest of the organization; a good sales team will always be working toward organizational goals, not just their own.
There is no better time to take a thirty- thousand foot look down onto your sales team’s culture. Find areas of opportunity with your current culture, make changes, create new goals, new tactics, new objections. Cultivate a prosperous, effective, and purposeful culture. Don’t forget, this is sales, have some fun!