The sales culture at your company determines your organizational success. Especially true when it comes to mastering the art of modern sales and driving the sales team to engage with today’s modern buyer.
Elements of a successful sales culture include how productive sales professionals are, how much they sell, how long they’re retained as employees, and how engaged they are with the overall mission of the sales organization.
In this article, you’ll learn what a healthy sales culture is and give you specific strategies to use to build a powerful and collaborative sales culture within your organization, based on our years of generating great sales results, here at Vengreso.
What is Sales Culture?
Sales culture has to do with the sales mindset, attitude, and behaviors of an organization that will affect everything from the relationship between team members, to how your sellers view the organization’s commitment to their individual success, to the interactions with prospects and customers.
At Vengreso, we have a term to describe the people that contribute to Vengreso’s success. A Vengresonian is a person who focuses on the end-customer experience and happy customers. It’s someone that blazes a trail to guide others. And, a Vengresonian is no stranger to going above and beyond to help not just their sales mates, but also to ensure that our customers have the best experience with our company, products and solutions. Now, doesn’t that sound a bit like great sales culture?
How to Create a Winning Sales Culture Within Your Organization
In order to build a successful winning sales culture, it all starts with the tone you set during the hiring and onboarding process. I literally mean day one of arrival. When new team members join the company within the first few hours of arrival we are hosting their virtual receiving line (VRL). Everyone in the company is invited to attend this very special culture event. This VRL is all about them.
We start with a virtual high-five and a welcome greeting from myself as the CEO of the company, I then introduce the new hire to the entire company. We then want to know who they are, where they are from, and one thing nobody knows about them even if someone was looking at any or all of their social profiles. Finally, we take the time to have two Vengresonians offer words of wisdom, usually a newbie and an old-timer.
Not only does this help a new sales member get acquainted with our organization, but it indoctrinates them into our sales culture almost immediately. During this VRL, our goal is to make the seller or associate feel like they have just joined their family.
Take a peek into one of our VRLs in this short video and how we welcome team members:A results-driven #sales culture won't manifest itself overnight. Learn 5 unique elements we strive to embody at Vengreso that you can use as a blueprint at your business. #DigitalSales #B2BSalesClick To Tweet
Sales culture also extends to how you train and promote your staff. It’s important to create career paths or promotion journeys for each sales rep to understand the potential progression that their career can take.
Here, at Vengreso, we inform our MDMs and BDRs that they should expect to be in the role from 6-18 months before being promoted. Although this timeline can vary depending on the individual and how long it takes to produce consistent outbound results – at least it gives them a trajectory of success for their career.
In a recent February 2022 survey, we found that, on average, SDRs stay in their role for 9-14 months before being promoted. Of course, promotions should always be supported by providing proper training to ensure they can succeed at the next level. But, creating a culture of learning and performance is a great way to keep your sales teams constantly improving and primed for excelling at higher levels.
Who Is Responsible For Promoting Sales Culture In An Organization?
Establishing a sales culture that is rooted in collaboration, positive communication, and in your sales coaching takes work. In many cases, the sales culture is often shaped by how the sales executive team leads.
If leadership is harsh, critical, and judgmental, this sets the tone for how sales representatives and sales leaders may interact with each other as well. However, if senior management fosters open communication, feedback, and idea sharing, this will inevitably create a very different tone for the sales organization.
The key with this is that although the sales culture is set by the top of the org chart, it is the responsibility of all employees to contribute positively to maintaining a good sales culture. This is where fit is so critically important.
When hiring, it can be tempting to go after sales skills, especially for senior-level positions. However, it is equally, if not more important, to also consider how a new hires personality may contribute (positively or negatively) to your company’s sales force culture. Especially true if you’re doing remote sales hiring.
What Makes a Successful Sales Culture and Team?
Would you know a successful sales team, if you saw one? Most likely you would! Successful sales teams are able to both hit the quantifiable metrics assigned to them, while also fostering a sense of collaboration (and not unhealthy competition).
In addition, studies have found that 75% of people say they perform better in a team when there is a shared mission and open lines of communication. This then empowers sales organizations to be able to generate greater buy-in, better ideas, enhanced information sharing, and an overall higher sense of work fulfillment. All of these things are vital to enhance the long-term performance of sales teams.
When your sales managers, sales leaders, and sales reps all feel supported, heard, and valued this will inevitably create deeper connections between teams and departments that will further enhance how your teams interact with prospects and customers, your modern buyer.
To lock in the success of your sales team starts with determining the sales culture you want and the shared vision you want to strive to achieve.
As we’ve mentioned, the vision of your sales culture is most often set at the top of your sales organization. However, the most effective companies are those that include their sales teams and sales professionals in the culture building process.
As a sales leader, it is important to share your sales vision with your teams, to both get their input and to generate buy-in for them to foster the sales culture you want to create.
It’s also essential that your sales behaviors match the sales culture you want to achieve. For example, if you want your sales reps to work together to collaboratively engage with prospects or coach each up other, then you’d want to implement more group rewards and incentives that would encourage a collective approach.
If, instead, you reward individual sales performance, then this would go against the collaborative ‘deal sharing’ environment you wanted to create – leading to a potentially toxic sales culture.
The key here is to communicate your sales culture vision at all levels within your organization – and as often as possible. But, keep in mind that bringing your sales vision into reality will require you to align your sales vision with your sales actions and your sales structures or systems.
Here, at Vengreso, we revisit your sales culture vision during our beginning-of-the-year annual event, but also frequently in our weekly and monthly department meetings, across all functions (even outside of the sales and marketing team).
In a recent survey, we found that less than a quarter of sales professionals grew up wanting to be in sales. As an industry, sales professionals come from so many different educational and work backgrounds. This is why providing quality sales training and building positive sales cultures are key to making sure everyone feels supported and empowered to perform at their best.
It is by nurturing your sales team’s individual and collective strengths and through sales coaching, training and mentorship programs that you can help your sales teams master modern sales techniques to enhance their lead prospecting and sales conversations.
5 Winning Sales Culture Ideas that Drive Sales Success
So, the natural question becomes: How do you improve an organization’s sales culture? Here are five unique elements we strive to embody at Vengreso that you can use as a blueprint at your business to build a winning company culture.
1. Guide Your Clients – Sales reps will go further when they make the customer the hero instead of the solution they’re selling. Teaching every sales person to connect with clients and lead them on a path to find the answer to their problem or question is an important part of the prospecting process. Don’t just shove your product down their throat because you know it’s what they need.
2. Celebrate Each Other – Many sales leaders struggle with answering the question: How do you motivate your sales teams? Celebrating wins is a great way to recognize your team when they hit quota.
As part of the sales leadership department, when you acknowledge the performance of your team, it helps them to stay focused and incentivized to continue to meet (if not even exceed) your departmental metrics and organizational sales goal.
When you promote people internally, this also creates healthy level competition, whereby your sales reps will want to do their best because they know that their work will not go unnoticed. In short, people value being appreciated, so giving awards similar to the ones distributed in the video above is a great sales motivator.
They don’t have to be all about sales representatives or sales enablement teams achieving quota either or other sales and marketing activities. Two of our awards in the video above were the Very Important Person Award (VIP Award) and the Grace Under Pressure Award (GUP Award). Create some awards of your own that work for your organization.
3. Share Your Plan – Let your team know where the company is heading and why everyone is essential to achieving those goals. It takes the humdrum repetition out of daily tasks, and people are often more motivated when they understand how their efforts contribute to a specific purpose. The point here is to go beyond the day-to-day sales activity and to connect a larger vision behind what they are doing.
4. Allow Freedom – Give your sales team the freedom to make the sales process their own. Yes, you’ll want to share your plan and objectives and provide guidance and training, but let each team member of your sales staff make the process their own. You never know, they may come up with a better way!
5. Have Fun! – Forbes reported that happy people are up to 20% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. Even though Vengreso is a virtual company, we are still able to have fun during our remote meetings. In the video above, you’ll hear everyone joking and chuckling amongst one another.
Some industries are a bit drier than others, but that doesn’t mean that people can’t have fun and enjoy positive sales cultures. Get excited about what you’re doing and your sales department will too.No. 5: Have fun! Some industries are a bit drier than others, but that doesn't mean that people can't have fun. Get excited about what you're doing and your #sales team will too. #B2BSales #DigitalSellingClick To Tweet
How Do You Promote Sales Culture in Your Organization?
We would love to hear your winning sales culture ideas on promoting it at your company, whether you are a sales manager or a salesperson. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
One way to add healthy competition within your sales organization is to reward people when they exude certain principles, behaviors, or pillars of your sales culture. In this way, your sales reps will want to be recognized and will in turn do the things that are aligned with promoting and maintaining your sales culture.
For some strong culture ideas, listen to this interview with Mike Volpe, CEO of Lola.com, in The Modern Selling Podcast.
Leverage Digital Sales to Improve Your Sales Culture
While creating a strong sales culture is an important aspect of a successful sales team, it is only one ingredient in the recipe for sales success. Many other elements are required, especially starting a digital sales transformation to connect with the modern buyer, and sales coaching .
Learn more about our 10 Steps to Launching a Digital Sales Program to find out how to develop some team member skills and ignite behavioral change and measurable outcomes at your sales organization. Digital selling should be an integral part of your sales strategy, along with continuous learning.
And be sure to check out our sales manager tips for leading in a virtual world!
Top Performers Need to Help Build a Strong Company Culture
A stellar employee leaves your company for another job. Perhaps they were lured by a recruiter offering an enticing salary and impressive perks, or maybe they just wanted to try something new… later, they’re knocking on your door again. Turns out the grass wasn’t greener on the other side.” – Harvard Business Review 2021
Top sales performers need not be impatient with their own progress. The worst thing you can do for yourself and your career is cut your training short by not building “your personal story” that you can sell along with your resume. Sellers need to recognize what they contribute individually to the sales culture.
For example, in my 18 years in corporate sales, I could say the following:
I managed over $300M a year in revenue, spent 15 of my 18 years in the 100% club and above, I was best of the best or the number 1 seller or leader in 5 of those 15 years, I was almost fired three times, but given three opportunities to change before being fired, & I closed a $36M, $40M and $50M deal.
Over the last 6 years, I performed a 7-way company roll-up, helped build the largest digital #sales prospecting training company in the world, reached the status of “influencer”, appointed as the first male ever to the National Association of Women Sales Professionals (NAWSP) advisory board, created a 50% female / make #management team, moved the needle to shape our company culture to be 75% minority represented w 55% of Latino descent.
Do I say all of this to get a hand clap 👏? No.
It’s meant to show you, in your career, you must not manage it like you manage underwear.
If your story sucks before going to your last role, and you can’t nail what leaders want to hear based on performance in your current role… then don’t think about leaving your job just yet. Right now, employers are desperate for people, and will hire anyone with two legs. This is the type of head hunting behavior which creates a HIGH degree of churn and burn.
Just because you’re offered another role somewhere else doesn’t mean you are ready for it… if your story sucks, or you don’t even have one as you’ve entered a new role then take the time to build it. As your current mentor and or leader if they believe you are ready for the next step. If they say no, LISTEN.
Then ask your leadership to help drive your story with you and to develop your #talent. It’s only fair to build a solid company culture that you ask this (especially if they said “no” to taking the next step).
This section of the sales culture article was inspired by two things: the great exodus happening and the great boomerang the market is seeing as reported by Harvard Business Review.
Here at Vengreso we are implementing a new program called “My Story.”
Associates have the choice of receiving executive coaching. If they want it, we will coach them in three areas:
- Develop a plan to make and achieve their story
- How to turn their plan into a story
- How to tell their story.
Impatience with your progress doesn’t mean your boss, the organization, the industry, or anything else is failing you. It means you are failing yourself because you had no sales plan. A plan to make plan or a plan to grow your career that too is part of building a healthy sales culture as well.
If you’re wondering how long you should stay in your current role before you expect change, well my answer I tell all of my reps is “that is up to you.” The harder and smarter you work the more you will shine. Over 223 responded to our Vengreso research.
When asked “How long should you wait before leaving a role/company if you’re not promoted (assume all is good within your current org/boss)?”
More than 87% felt you should wait at least 12 months before expecting a job change.