Building an effective sales culture will set your team apart - and your close ratio will show it.

As the manager of a sales team what is the biggest thing you can do to drive success? The answer may be to build a culture of success. Why? You can only be physically present with the members of your team for a small amount of time. The culture you create is always present.

Create a great culture is like a farmer nurturing the soil for a successful crop. Without proper cultivation, fertilizer, and watering, plants will struggle to grow. Create good soil and plants will thrive.

“Culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game.”
– Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Former CEO of IBM

Here are a few thoughts on enhancing your sales culture:

Create a Culture That Rewards the Activities That Drive Success

Most sales cultures reward results. President’s Club spots go to reps that exceed quota. Of course we want to reward outstanding results. But what if we shifted our focus to reward behaviors that drive results? What if we didn’t just celebrate the things that come out of the bottom of the funnel? What if we celebrated the top-of-funnel activities:

  • Percent of plan for prospecting activity
  • Number of visits to current clients
  • Most social connections inside the client base

Sure, you should have a plaque and a parking spot for the Rep of the Month based on sales achievement. But what if you also had a plaque and a parking spot for Rep of the Month based on prospecting activity?

Create a Culture That Measures What Matters

We all measure sales results. That’s great. The problem is that according to Forbes research, only 57% of sales reps hit quota! That means we need to measure the leading indicators. In sales, leading indicators are prospecting activity:

  • Prospecting Sequences Launched
  • Prospecting calls made
  • Number of social connections in target accounts

Implement a system that measures these activities in real time as they happen. Put the results on a dashboard for all to see. Simply asking reps to fill out call reports doesn’t cut it. Measure then hold reps accountable. Reward good effort. Coach mediocre results. Fire bad attitudes.

Create a Culture That Encourages Learning

According to the authors of Insight Selling, buyers want sales reps that can offer valuable insights, not just product information. Let’s face it, if someone wants product information all they need to do is hit Google. Instead, reps need to deliver insights.

Bringing insights to buyers requires learning. Sales professionals need to not only know their product, they need to understand their prospects’ businesses.

Do you encourage and reward learning? What books are your sales reps reading? Have them lead a sales meeting and share what they learned. Do you provide training in the business issues vertical markets face? What would it mean if your reps had more business acumen and could drive better business conversations?

Create a Culture That Encourages Giving Back

Larry Levine, author of Selling From the Heart, says that instead of the acronym ABC – Always Be Closing – sales reps should use the acronym ABH – Always Be Helping. (Click here to read the full article.)

We want more servant-led selling. Creating a culture of helping begins with encouraging reps to get involved in the community. Not only will they begin to foster the heart of service, they’ll also meet people that will eventually become clients. As a sales manager, I encourage you to lead in this area by getting involved in a local non-profit.

I’m sure there are many other things that can be done to create a great sales culture. What are you doing? I’d love to talk about it.

Feel free to comment below or reach out for a conversation.