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What Makes a Strong Sales Culture?

When trying to determine whether an organization has a strong sales culture, it’s important to understand what that means and what to look for. 

Typically, the best sales companies to work for do the following:

Prioritize culture.

Building a sales culture starts with commitment from leadership. Executive teams that consistently represent your company’s core values are going to establish a stronger culture. Leadership should be aligned with their teams, and everyone should have a clear understanding of the overall company vision and culture. Further, clear, cohesive communication through all levels of leadership will be important to ensure the sales culture grows as the organization grows.  

Share a common vision.

Salespeople who value good culture are often looking for a bigger reason (more than just money) to come in and work hard every day. Having a clear vision, and a sales strategy that supports that vision, ensures everyone is working toward the same goal and encourages representatives to work together. This can help keep everyone motivated, even if times get hard. 

Promote goals and incentives.

The strongest sales organizations encourage employees to set goals tied to generating leads and closing deals. Then, they appropriately reward them when they meet or exceed those goals. These high-performing employees should also be recognized and rewarded for exemplifying leadership, teamwork and strong decision-making. Companies that successfully implement this type of structure typically have a significant advantage over the competition. 

Prioritize trust.

Sales cultures that prioritize trust and respect help prevent the type of competitive structure that can quickly become toxic. To help establish and maintain trust, it’s important for sales leadership to take feedback seriously. A great manager listens to their team and takes action when appropriate. It’s also important for managers to prove to their team that they trust them, which means they should avoid micromanagement unless someone is specifically struggling and needs additional attention.

Appropriately adjust sales team growth. 

A potential downfall for sales organizations is not knowing what the right size salesforce is for their needs. As a sales organization changes over time, they need to size their teams accordingly. When they hit growth, their team will need to grow. When they decline, they may need to slow down hiring. A company that is thoughtful about the growth of their sales team is also more likely to prioritize individual employee growth through things like coaching, career development and support. 

Take care of existing customers.

An effective sales organization makes the customer a key part of its business by encouraging sales leaders to develop and maintain long-term relationships with each client. One of the main goals of a successful sales organization is to ensure every client is cared for and has what they need to justify their investment. Having someone focused on client retention can help achieve that goal. 

Encourage friendly competition.

Sales teams often thrive on competition, but it’s important to maintain a balance. If the competition turns aggressive, representatives may stop collaborating, which could mean withholding useful information and good ideas from one another. Having a strong sales culture often means directing competitive energy toward more productive outlets, like sales contests and incentives. It’s also important to be innovative with new contest ideas so the same people aren’t continuously winning, which often ends up having the opposite effect.

Focus on retention.

Constant turnover is a red flag for both candidates and current employees, is bad for morale and becomes expensive, as it takes both time and money to regularly find and train replacements. Successful sales organizations should be thoughtful about choosing representatives who fit in and will positively contribute to the existing sales culture to join their teams. 

Further, reps should have plenty of ongoing support from day one and throughout their entire career. Having a structured training and coaching routine is important, as is regularly checking in with the sales teams to ensure they are getting the ongoing training they need. Also, a defined career path for your sales teams will help with retention, as it ensures everyone knows what to expect, and individuals can build their skill sets accordingly to work toward that promotion. 

Encourage innovative, new ideas without fear of failure.

Salespeople should be encouraged to try new things and share the results with their teams, even if what they try isn’t wildly successful. Being able to try new things without fear of failure may or may not lead to success, but it’s still valuable, as it will help everyone on the team learn and improve.

Maintain accountability.

Accountability is important in a successful sales culture. Expectations should be clearly defined, and every individual should know what they’re expected to accomplish, from the number of calls they’re expected to make each day to the number of deals they need to close each month. If someone isn’t meeting expectations, it needs to be addressed in a timely manner. Waiting to see if they will improve isn’t effective, so it’s better for leadership to step in, find out what’s going on and do what they can to help solve the issue. This helps establish accountability at every level, for leadership, the employee and the team. 

Recognize accomplishments on an individual level.

While a strong sales culture involves a team-focused mentality, recognizing and rewarding individuals is good for team morale and serves as healthy motivation. Celebrating success when someone reaches a big goal or has an impactful idea makes reps feel valued and appreciated and encourages the entire team to strive for more.

Interested in joining a company with a strong sales culture? Check out Shamrock’s open positions and apply today!