“Results-oriented.” “Competitive.” “Sales wolves.”
Keywords like these are used by CEOs and sales managers to describe the vision they have of their sales team. In reality, catchwords like “results-oriented” only get you so far. What does a results-oriented sales team actually look like? And how does the B2B sales culture of your company encourage a sales team that is truly capable of “winning”?
After all, B2B sales culture is one of the great intangibles of a sales organization. It is quietly responsible for countless wins and lost deals. As a sales manager, you are responsible for setting the tone that will, in the end, determine whether or not your team makes the bottom line. Despite the myth that people work better under pressure, you might find that giving your salespeople the space to grow means that you can cultivate a successful, visionary team that will stay with you for the long haul.
Here are five simple steps to get on your way to creating a culture where your salespeople will be able to thrive and – most importantly – meet their goals:
Before a doctor diagnoses what’s ailing a patient, he or she listens: listens to what the patient has to say, monitors the patient’s heartbeat, checks on blood pressure. Emulate a doctor when you are diagnosing what is going on with your current sales culture, and what you’d like to change. Listen and watch your sales team. What are they saying? What works and what does not? In addition to observing, asking your people questions about how they felt during a sale – whether it came through or didn’t – will provide you with valuable insight into their thinking process. Beyond performance, observe their level of satisfaction with their career, their surroundings, the support they receive from the company – all of it. Take it in.
Lucky for me, there’s not a colleague of mine here at Insource Leads that isn’t positive and a pleasure to work with. But I have also seen at other organizations the stifling effect a negative personality can have on his or her peers. It’s contagious – just as contagious as a positive disposition. Too often, salespeople linger on a team even when they have bad attitudes, poor work ethic, or simply are not cutting the mustard (largely due to bad attitude). Moving on sooner rather than later will help you cultivate the culture your sales team needs.
People work better on a team when they believe they are united by a common cause that is bigger than themselves. What is your team about? It can’t just be about sales: it’s about making a meaningful contribution to your world, giving people a product or service that will improve their lives. When the goal becomes bigger than the company or the product, magical things start to happen.
What are you doing to make sure that your people are as successful as they can be? How are you supporting your sales team in the field? There are two ends of the spectrum here: the organization that gives their sales reps a phone book and a telephone and says “Get to work” and the organization that provides sales support, marketing leads, and all of the tools needed to supercharge their team. If you hold up your part of the bargain, your sales team will be that much more likely to hold up theirs.
Recognize when your salespeople succeed. Some people are motivated by tangible incentives, but most of us also appreciate the opportunity to be recognized – it’s primal. Sometimes, it’s not about the $50 gift certificate spiff as much as it is about being recognized as an achiever, someone that others can come to for advice and help. Create a workplace where people know that their accomplishments will be seen, and your top earners will stick around.
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