Building a stellar sales culture

A strong culture is essential in a high-performance sales team. Here are four things you need to think about as you grow your business.

Your sales team’s culture is its personality. It affects how teams work and play. It’s what keeps teams pushing on when the going gets tough. That’s why, as a leader, you need to make sure you deliberately create a culture, rather than letting one create itself.

You also need to make sure the culture you create is positive, with buy-in from the whole team. When you get it right, you raise your salespeople’s performance and boost retention. Plus, the workplace is a much more fun place to be.

When you think about your sales culture, here are four things you need to consider:

1 — Leadership

Culture starts with the leader. The leader sets the tone for all the other points we’re going to talk about. If you are going to create a stellar sales culture, you have to live it.

The leader must have a vision for the culture they want to create, then share it with their team. They must take the initiative, setting an example for the rest of the team to replicate. If the leader doesn’t live the culture, you can expect anyone else to.

How can leaders create a stellar sales culture where everybody wants to perform?

  • Feedback, feedback, feedback — the best sales talent needs to learn and develop, or they will go somewhere else where they will.
  • Don’t micromanage — give your people the freedom to use their skills.
  • Focus on output rather than activity management.
  • Create a progression path, where you reward hard work and high performance.
  • Get the right tech — give your salespeople the tools to perform.

You must also set an example in the way you take care of your customers. A culture or business that doesn’t look after its customers and treat them as the number one priority will not last long.

2 — Hiring

To ensure your culture firstly stays in place and secondly grows and develops, you must make sure new salespeople you hire fit into it. Ideally, you want people who will enhance your culture and make it even more positive. So, hire for culture fit as well as skill. Bringing someone in who doesn’t fit the culture and gel with the team can completely derail it, however great at their job they may be.

Understand what makes someone a success in your sales team. Look at the rest of your team and see what qualities they have. Then, look for people who complement those traits.

But, you don’t want to hire people who are all the same (age, gender, background etc.) as you need diversity of thought. Look for people who are, for example, confident, bold and humorous. You’ll find those people coming from all walks of life.

3 — Communication

Communication should be a priority throughout your organisation.

As you build your culture, you should be over-communicating, being deliberate about how you show the team the way you lead. Communicate your vision and mission. Tell them your goals for the company.

Make sure there are clear lines of communication between your sales and marketing teams. Sales and marketing go together like cheese on a pizza. Sure, you can keep them separate, but they work better together. The sales team cannot soar if they don’t have a strong marketing function backing them.

Finally, be clear in communicating the goals for your sales team. Ensure everyone is aware of the metrics you measure. Bringing in data makes it much easier for the team to understand why their targets are where they are.

4 — Team spirit

Hopefully, you will want your sales team to be a fun place to work, where everyone enjoys each other’s company and wants to perform for the good of the team. (This is what most leaders do, but by no means all!)

How can a leader create a cohesive sales team?

  • Foster a spirit of friendly competition — Salespeople are by their nature competitive. They see competition with their colleagues as a reason to work harder. Find a way to harness this, while keeping it fun and fair at all times.
  • Reward success — Show that you recognise high performance with incentives for your team. However, don’t just reward revenue generation. Make sure everyone gets a look-in, not only your closers.
  • Get your team to socialise outside of work — team activity days and nights out celebrate performance and build cohesion. When your salespeople get to know each other better out of work, they support each other better in work.

Over to you

When you’re creating a culture for your sales organisation, bear these four things in mind and your culture will develop into something stellar.

Now, we want to know what you think. What do you see as essential in a high-performance sales culture?

Let the Sales Confidence community know with a comment below.