Ever walked into a business and looked around at all the energy-draining in the place, and then wanted to know “Who died?” This is what you just did: You walked into a culture disaster. Culture is a critical factor in business success. Most organizations struggle to grasp this concept. It is even harder to build a sales culture. You need to get everyone involved, from the janitor up to the CEO.
What is sales culture? To answer this question, let’s examine two stories.
Not a Sales Culture:
Jack is the V.P. Jack is the V.P. of sales and works at Culture Catastrophe. He wakes up at 9:17 every morning and tells his staff to get in at 8:00. Jack is confined to his office and only leaves for frequent trips to the cafeteria and subsequent trips to the toilet. Jack’s salespeople are constantly working with operations to get their orders processed. Functions don’t really care about getting them done. Sally, in operations, continually reminds her coworkers that she only has to process X amount of orders per day. She also pressures them to do more as the company expects more. Sally misses deadlines all the time and frustrates customers and sales. Jack tells Jack that Jack cannot do anything because Operations V.P. Jack’s team tells him that Jack can do nothing because the Operations V.P. is always protecting her team. Jack is done by 4:00 and packs up, and heads home. His sales team follows suit, and everyone is puzzled as to why sales have stagnated.
True Sales Culture:
Mike is the V.P. Mike is the V.P. of sales and an integral component of Culture Nirvana. He wakes up at 7:30 every morning and tells his sales team to arrive at 8:00. It’s funny how the whole sales team shows up at 7:30. They have already gone through their emails and are ready for the next step: selling. There are usually three salespeople in the office at a time. They are busy with customer appointments. They are integral to the sales process and ensure that orders are processed on time. They also bring the sales team sales opportunities that they discover while working with customers during the order process. Mike is loved by the sales team because he helps them close sales and clears hurdles. Mike doesn’t usually leave until 6:15, but he creates a culture that is accountable and respects everyone. Everyone can come and go as they wish as long as they hit their numbers. Culture Nirvana’s revenues continue to rise year after year.
Although these may sound like fairytales, they are actually being lived out every day in thousands of businesses. A well-integrated sales culture is the difference between success and failure. In many cases, this can lead to businesses growing from what we refer to as a “thready pulse.” This is an excellent pulse, barely perceptible in medical terms. You could also die anytime.
Create a sales culture within your company that emphasizes the importance of sales and generates new sales. You must have:
It was a time-consuming task to train each employee about what the company offers.
Keep the whole organization focused on the prize when it is time to reach revenue targets.
All employees should be held responsible for any sale
Instill a positive atmosphere that says, “It’s us against all the world, and it’s going to win together.”
These may seem glib, but they’re not. These are powerful drivers, and you’ll see the sales culture take root. Be aware, however, that culture flows from the top (CEO/Leader) and through the whole organization. To get employees excited, you must be a strong leader. Get up and start selling.