There are eight cornerstones for developing and maintaining a successful sales culture.
The following is an overview of each attribute:
Right Focus: It all starts with knowing your purpose in the marketplace. No company can be all things to all people, but with the right focus, it can be all things to all important people. Companies with the right focus know what problems they solve, which competitors they do well against, their real value proposition, and focus their sales teams on accounts that are the best fit for their solutions.
Right Team: Best-in-class firms have a profile of the people they want for their sales team. This becomes more than an exercise of reviewing résumés. While résumés show how well applicants performed in previous employment, they are not always predictors of how well they will do within your company. Therefore, these sales organizations assess salespeople’s DNA as well to ensure they are a fit for the organization.
Right Motivation: The right sales team needs to be given the right motivation. This requires sales management to analyze the messages the compensation plan send to the salespeople. How does your incentive plan reinforce/enforce that you want reps to build strong customer relationships? The same holds true for generating new orders, new customers, etc.
Right Prospects: Best-in-class sales organizations ensure that sales and marketing are aligned with the specific prospects to pursue. An analysis has identified the stakeholders to engage, and both sales and marketing have access to accurate data and insights on the prospects.
Right Planning: Strategic account planning is not a buzzword—it is the foundation of the sell cycle. Sales teams at best-in-class firms know that proper planning is the key to their success.
Right Support: Support within best-in-class firms comes in a variety of forms. These sales organizations assess the training needs of their sales force and invest in effective development programs. They know the CRM tools reps need and make them available. They ensure that the rest of the enterprise (finance, legal, product development, customer support, etc.) have what they need from sales and build strong internal relationships to deliver support services.
Right Execution: Planning the work is one thing; best-in-class firms ensure the reps work the plan. Sales managers are not in place to be super-salespeople, swooping in at the last minute to save the day and close the deal. Instead, they are coaches and mentors who continuously monitor how reps need help with specific deals. If a deal is going to be lost, they ensure it’s lost as soon as possible, allowing time to do the right things with the right prospects.
Right Evolution: Best-in-class sales organizations realize that optimizing how they sell is never done. They understand that the sales strategies that work today may not work tomorrow. Changes in the economy, political environment, competitive landscape, etc., may necessitate.
We encourage you to reflect on how many of these attributes are engrained in your sales culture. If all eight are present, that's fantastic! Yet, it's likely there are a few noticeably absent - and that's ok. We recommend you use this information as the basis for brainstorming and goal planning to identify and prioritize your organization’s shortfalls with regards to these key attributes. It's a worthy effort as our bench-marking has shown the combination of these two can help turn how you sell into a sustainable competitive edge in your respective marketplace.
Let us know your thoughts!