Building a winning sales culture is so much more than just hitting numbers every month. Today, much like in any profession, it’s about building relationships: both within the sales team and with clients. A truly positive sales culture allows everyone on your sales team, from the frontline sales reps to your sales leadership, to thrive and exceed expectations.
So how can you build a winning and successful sales culture for your business?
Why Your Sales Culture is Important
The culture of your sales team, and of your whole business, is the foundation of your company. It’s more common than it should be for sales teams to foster a culture of stress and underperformance. Sales is hard work and competitive, after all, and it’s not easy to create a winning mindset on your team.
But a negative sales culture can lower team morale and increase your turnover rate. When sales reps feel they have little to no control over their work lives, targets are missed and your business ultimately suffers.
It’s one of the critical roles of sales leadership to foster a winning and positive culture. That means clearly defining your goals, your values, and your mission. It’s imperative to hire the right people if you want to create a high-performing team that supports each other, through failures and successes.
How Can You Create a Winning Sales Culture Now?
So how can you create this winning sales culture for your own team? Here are some strategies for a positive work experience to set your team up for success.
Hire the Right People
Creating a winning sales culture starts by choosing the right people for your sales team. Your team’s performance, and your company as a whole, are only as good as your people. That’s why it’s critical during the hiring process to check not just for sales skills but also for cultural fit.
When you’re hiring a new sales team member, looking at their resume and recommendations is very important. But you should also think about what they bring to the team as a whole.
- Are they collaborative or competitive?
- Do they value just winning, or are they concerned with winning the right way?
- Do they seem committed to ethical and supportive behavior?
Hiring people who most likely show these positive qualities will help you build a culture of success and support.
Train the Right Way
Once you’ve hired the right person, how are you training them to succeed? The amount of training needed will vary, of course, by role and experience. But sales training from day one, especially in the common goals of the company, helps ensure every sales rep is ready to succeed right away.
Getting all your sales reps on the same page helps build a strong culture. That means standardizing the sales process so reps are set up for success from their first day. Sharing best practices and processes also helps make sure the whole team has the tools to do their jobs well. An internal sales playbook can help here, as well as a standard onboarding process.
The same goes for learning and development as it does for initial training practices. If sales team members know there are opportunities for advancement, they will be more motivated to reach personal and team targets for success. This is also a large part of a winning sales culture.
Set Expectations Clearly
One key way to support your sales team members is to set expectations clearly from the beginning. If your employees don’t know what success looks like, or what targets they’re supposed to be hitting, they can easily feel lost and unsupported – and this is bad for morale.
Giving feedback regularly is part of this as well. That means sales reps always know how they’re doing – are they on the road to success, or is poor performance an issue they need to correct? Most times, they won’t know unless you tell them. So make a commitment to sharing clear goals and giving ongoing feedback.
Setting challenging goals can be engaging for teams – it gives your sales reps something meaningful to work towards. But make sure those goals are achievable for your reps, or you’ll just be setting them up to be discouraged.
Sales is a competitive field – there’s no doubt about that, and that’s a good thing. Competition is healthy when it encourages striving to be your best.
But when competition interferes with collaboration, it can drag your team’s morale down. If you’re holding contests, ensure they regularly have your team working as a whole, not individually all the time.
In addition, come up with ways to encourage knowledge sharing during team meetings instead of hoarding, like instituting an innovation bonus for sharing new ideas and findings.
Fail Fast and Smart
Failure happens in sales all the time. A promising prospect doesn’t make a purchase, leads don’t work out, the economy or external events affect your close rate. Even the highest-performing organizations close less than half of their prospects. Getting comfortable with failure means you can filter out prospects who are unlikely to close before you spend a lot of your rep’s time trying to sell to them. Failing fast is good when you have to fail sometimes – and in sales, you do.
Having a reasonable acceptance of failure also means you’re encouraging your sales team to take smart risks. Failure sometimes is ok, even good – but you should also help your team understand what led to the failure and how to learn from it to make them more successful in the future.
In other words, never waste a failure – they’re often a teaching moment and can be vital in your training and development process for your team.
Accountability Goes Both Ways
Holding your sales reps accountable can be uncomfortable at first. But accountability in sales is critical not only to your success, but to the overall morale of the team. If you’re letting team members fail, and you’re not telling them they’re failing, they often feel like they’re being left to struggle on their own. This will lead to higher turnover rates and create a negative culture for your whole team.
But it’s also important for sales managers and leaders to be accountable to their teams. Mistakes and failures happen – it’s a part of doing business. If you’re not owning up to any mistakes, your team won’t feel like they’re able to trust you fully. And this is damaging for team morale and your relationship with your employees. Mutual accountability is important for a winning sales culture.
When your whole team operates in an environment of honesty and trust, they feel supported and secure. Keep your word when you make a promise to your team. Sales reps need to know they can trust their sales leaders and managers to act honestly and to be advocates for them when needed. If they don’t trust the people in charge of them, your culture can turn toxic quickly.
Inspiring trust also comes from trusting others. Avoid micromanaging – trust your employees to act like the professional adults they are, and act accordingly. If you’re not able to trust your team to do their jobs without constant supervision, the initial hiring process is the problem, and micromanagement is not the answer. Great sales teams are built with people who need coaching and mentoring, not management.
This is an easier part of creating a winning sales culture – you also get to recognize and celebrate wins when they happen. This isn’t just because it makes people feel good, though that is important too. It’s also so your sales reps know you’re seeing their hard work, and they feel recognized for performing well.
Celebrating wins can take several forms, as you could:
- hold a team celebration if you’ve achieved a goal together
- offer targeted bonuses for high performers at the end of the quarter
- give team member “shout outs” for jobs well done in your regular sales meetings
It’s all about feeling appropriately recognized and valued for the work your sales team does every day. Doing so builds positive relationships within teams for a winning sales culture. These relationships are the foundation of your business, so let team members know their hard work is seen and appreciated.
360 Consulting Can Help with a Winning Sales Culture
360 Consulting provides the tools to power sales organizations like yours, from sales coaches to a close look at your sales process. To build a winning sales culture that helps you exceed your goals and build your business, bring in the experts. Schedule your free consultation to find out how we help sales teams work together to break sales records.