A strong sales culture supports collaboration, fosters trust and develops a high-performing sales team.
Who’s responsible for creating a high performance sales culture? Well, everybody – but as a sales leader, it’s your job to create and nurture an environment that enables your team to succeed. This doesn’t happen by accident, so it’s important to be deliberate in shaping it. Building a sales culture plan can help.
Some organizations have a plan that's laden with too many words, pages and documents. Mapping your sales culture plan on a single page will help you stay focused on the key levers to pull as a leader. We use our practical one-page template at DoubleDigit Sales, and we share this template with our clients, too.
You’ll want to ensure these key pieces are a part of your actionable plan:
- Your role in the plan
- Key metrics
- Management disciplines
- Rewards and recognition
- Systems, tools and CRM
- Recruiting, onboarding and development
Your Role in Driving the Culture
The first step in creating a sales culture plan is establishing where your sales culture is now, where you want it to be and your role in that change. Create a headline that succinctly describes your role by completing these statements: “I must… So that…”
For example, “I must execute a consistent sales management approach and set tone and direction for my team so that we focus on selling the right products to the right clients at the right time.”
What a Successful Sales Culture Looks Like in Metrics
It may seem that culture is too nebulous of a concept to measure, but as the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don't measure. Establish what a successful culture will look like for your organization, and then identify key metrics that will demonstrate that success.
You can’t manage what you don't measure. Establish what a successful culture looks like for your organization, and then identify key metrics that will demonstrate that success.
Are salespeople hitting their targets, for instance? Or are they struggling to meet quota? Does your sales organization have a high turnover rate? What about employee engagement – have you done any surveys or polls to measure how engaged your sales reps are? Ask your team if they can connect their work to the organization’s business goals. Do they feel that they have opportunities to learn and grow? The answers to these questions signal the effectiveness of your sales culture.
As you decide on key metrics, ask yourself: “What business results, pipeline, activities and focus help me to achieve my desired sales culture?”
These sample key metrics help to measure progress and success.
Management Disciplines to Change the Culture
If you’ve determined that your sales culture needs improvement, then there are steps you can follow to improve it. First, do some internal research and find out where the culture is working.
Are some reps performing much better than others? What are they doing differently? How are you, as their leader, managing
You can directly improve your sales culture through your management disciplines. Hold regular one-on-one meetings with each sales rep, provide coaching and guidance where needed, and lead engaging sales team meetings that add value. Ask yourself: “What should I be doing more of, less of or more consistently?”
Rewards and Recognition to Motivate Your Team
Don’t underestimate the power of rewarding and recognizing your sales reps. Plan recurring recognition opportunities (such as salesperson of the month), as well as spontaneous recognition to keep things interesting.
When you think about the best ways to motivate your team, consider individual preferences around public and private recognition and the choice of reward. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Keep in mind the behaviors and outcomes you want to reinforce as you plan your strategy.
Systems, Tools and CRM for Sales Productivity
Take a look at your systems and processes. Do team members hold each other accountable? Are they using your CRM effectively? Are you getting the data you need, when you need it? Are your individual and team goals achievable and impactful?
Ask yourself: “How are our systems and tools helping us be successful? What data do I need at my fingertips to effectively lead the team to success?"
Engage with your sales reps to uncover what is working and where there might be pitfalls – make the answers to these questions part of your one-page plan.
Recruiting, Onboarding and Development
Talent acquisition, management and development are key to building a strong sales culture. As a sales leader, you are responsible for recruiting, onboarding, developing and coaching your team members. Human resources and learning and development departments may support you in those tasks, but ultimately, your people are your responsibility.
As a sales leader, you are responsible for recruiting, onboarding, developing and coaching your team members.
A great sales team starts with recruiting the right talent profile. Not every culture will fit every individual, so make sure you’re hiring for culture fit, skills and experience. Then, when you onboard your new team members, help them understand the culture they’re joining. After onboarding, employees need ongoing development, management and coaching.
Finish your one-page sales culture plan by mapping out where each sales rep needs further development and your plan to support them. For example, if one of your sales reps needs to balance expanding existing accounts and searching for new logos, you can plan to help them by providing consistent pipeline reviews and activity management.
Reward and recognize success to reinforce successful skills and behaviors. Engage your team members; ask for their input and buy-in along the way to strengthen your culture.
At the end of the day, not every person will fit with your culture, and that’s OK. Making sure you have the right people – and that you’re supporting them in the right way – is the key to creating a winning sales culture.