A role in sales is a high-stress position in any industry. Each day, salespeople face shifting targets, rejection, and in-house competition, all of which can quickly lead to burnout and lackluster results. That’s why having the best sales culture is very important.
Many companies simply expect their salespeople to deal with these stressors as part of the role, rather than working on creating a positive, thriving sales environment to help them maximize results.
If you’re in the process of building a sales team, building a solid sales team underpinned by a positive sales culture will become the foundation of your business. Here are some strategies you can implement to ensure you foster the best corporate culture for sales, as well as some common mistakes to avoid in the process.
Benefits Of Fostering A Thriving Sales Culture
It may seem obvious that you should be focusing on building your sales culture. But several objective benefits are often overlooked:
Low Rep Turnover
Regularly losing salespeople is a red flag for any growing brand. Salespeople want to work in a positive environment where they are appreciated, so having to constantly employ new reps shows your sales culture could be toxic.
Having a keen focus on nurturing your sales culture will reduce turnover and ensure your sales team feels appreciated in their roles. This saves on the expense of training new employees and ensures you have experienced salespeople who are dedicated to growing in their roles.
Reaching goals faster and more effectively
A thriving sales culture allows your sales team to focus on a common vision. This gives a clear direction that keeps reps motivated and helps you reach sales goals much more quickly and efficiently.
More consistent sales
A positive sales culture makes reps feel valued in their roles. This often leads to employees going above and beyond their basic roles, leading to more consistent, higher sales.
A healthier environment
A sales culture that focuses solely on monetary targets is a toxic one. This high-pressure, competitive environment can quickly lead to burn out in your sales team and will quickly lead to higher turnover of staff.
A healthy sales culture gives employees an environment to thrive. By focusing on healthy competition, team goals, and personal development, you’ll have a productive space that staff are happy to work in.
Mistakes To Avoid When Building Your Sales Team
There are many pitfalls on the path to building a successful sales team that many businesses inadvertently fall into:
1. Using your ‘gut instincts’
Hiring salespeople with you ‘gut instincts’ is an outdated concept that is steeped in bias. In reality, different sales roles have different contexts and appreciating the uniqueness of your sales culture can establish hiring criteria and help you choose candidates based on those criteria. As this process develops, you will then be able to learn from mistakes and improve the hiring process.
2. Combining sales and marketing
Because the buying journey will inevitably start online, marrying sales and marketing can be key, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t totally separate concepts with differing roles. Marketing can and should provide leads for sales to chase up, but don’t expect your salesforce to be marketing experts and vice versa.
3. Focusing on forecasting
Managers should spend their time managing and coaching their team to foster effective sales and to maximize performance. Any manager spending too long on forecasting and ignoring their team runs the risk of falling into the pitfalls of aiming for pointless metrics.
4. Using fear-based motivation
A fear-based micromanaged environment is not conducive to good work. This is often a complaint of those sales reps looking to move on. It does not motivate and eventually only leads to resentment. You are part of your sales team and by motivating using daily metrics rather than the fear of failure or being fired, you will foster a better atmosphere.
5. Using outdated lead generation
Many people screen cold callers and simply won’t answer the door – these are outdated methods of lead generation that no longer work. Buying power is now dictated by the internet so it should be utilized, especially in the form of social media and google searches.
How to Build the Best Sales Culture
Now we know the fatal mistakes to avoid, let’s look at the right way to build a thriving sales culture.
1. Encourage friendly competition
While most salespeople thrive on competition, keeping this in check can be vital. When competition turns cutthroat, leads and important information start to be withheld.
Giving the team an external rival can be a good way to foster helpful competition. Another good tool is encouraging your team to beat their own records with incentives or compensation.
2. Avoid micromanaging
No one likes to be micromanaged. Trusting the team and coaching those who need help will lead to reps feeling happier and more in control of their targets.
3. Communicate openly and often
Listen to the team, provide guidance and support, and show you care for your team above and beyond their sales metrics. This fosters a communicative environment where team members can come to you with issues, knowing that you have their interests in mind.
4. Promote accountability
Holding team members accountable should be framed as a positive part of your sales culture. Seeing poor performance go unpunished leads to negligence. On the other hand, high performers going unrecognized gives no incentive to do well.
Defining expectations, having set standards, and using tools such as performance plans can help to promote healthy accountability within the team.
5. Encourage employee health
There are many ways to promote employee health; encouraging mental health days can be very effective in high-stress roles particularly. Likewise, promoting healthy eating and lifestyle choices encourages your sales team to look after themselves and avoid burnout. Lifestyle screening is another useful tool that provides simple clinical tests that give the employee a picture of their health each year.
Build Your Sales Team the Right Way
Putting the work into building and fostering a successful sales team does require more planning and deliberate strategy. But this pays off with a thriving sales team who generate better leads, make more consistent sales, and have a singular shared goal to work towards. And at the end of the day, what business doesn’t want more consistent sales?