A great sales culture is one where the atmosphere, environment, and overall attitude is positive, high energy, and results-driven. Sales leaders build great cultures by making sure goals align with overall company mission and its revenue targets while also promoting a sense of open communication, collaboration, healthy competition, and fun.
Below are the 10 steps needed to create great sales cultures.
1. Use Existing Company Culture as Your Foundation
The first thing you need to do is start by analyzing your company culture. For instance, if your organization has established core values or themes like openness and collaboration, you’ll want to bring these elements into your sales culture. Starting with your existing company culture also matters because you want to make sure the sales team is aligned with the company at large.
Here’s how you can identify themes and core values within your company culture:
- Review your company’s vision and mission: A company’s vision and mission statement usually include core values and themes found in its culture.
- Contemplate and write down themes and values you see every day: If your company doesn’t have core values or themes in writing, do some reflection and contemplate the values you see in action every day.
- Talk to senior management: Company executives will usually a keen sense of their company’s culture and core values. Speak to them and get their perspectives.
- Talk to and observe your sales team: Your sales team will also be a wealth of information about their perception of company culture. They will also more often than not embody it, which is why you should observe their behavior.
Once you’ve isolated key elements and core values of your company culture, use these themes and values as pillars or cornerstones in building your sales culture. After you’ve established your pillars or foundations, align your team and company goals. This is key so that the sales team is on the same page as the rest of the company from a revenue generation perspective.
2. Align Your Team Goals With Company Goals
Once you’ve gotten a good grasp on your overall company culture and you’ve extracted key themes or values you can use in creating the basis of your sales culture, you must ensure that your sales team goals align with company goals. This matters because your sales team plays a crucial role in hitting revenue targets. For instance, if company revenue goals are to generate $20 million, work with leaders to allocate the percentage coming from sales.
After you’ve worked with senior leadership on the percentage that sales will contribute to the overall company revenue goal, you will then need to create sales goals for each team member. You will do this by dividing the expected revenue to be generated by a salesperson, or if your team members are divided by product or territory, you’ll assign goals based on your sales forecast or sales management strategy for particular product lines or territories.
3. Communicate Goals & Expectations Clearly
Once sales goals and expectations are set, they need to be understood fully and adopted enthusiastically by your sales team. Having a set of clear expectations and buy-in from your team is one of the key components of a great sales-driven culture and can be done in a variety of ways.
For instance, group meetings can stir excitement about sales goals. These meetings can also be an opportunity to show how team goals contribute to the overall company goals and, ultimately, its mission. However, you’ll also want to have individual meetings to address any questions or concerns that may arise. In addition to meetings, you should communicate often in a variety of formats to ensure your team understands their goals and buys in.
Examples of communication channels other than meetings include:
- Email: Great for teams and companies that primarily use email.
- Intranet site: These types of sites are great for office-based teams used to going to a central hub for information.
- Collaboration site: Great for remote teams and companies; for example, Slack or Basecamp.
- Personalized video: A unique way of personalizing a message that captures a sales leader or company leader’s personality.
- Voicemail: An impactful way to use voice to communicate and celebrate sales goals with the team.
- Text messages: Great for communicating with highly mobile sales teams.
The communication channels you choose should align with your company and sales culture and be supported by sales operations. If you have a highly mobile sales team that is always using their phones, team or individual text messages could work for reminders, celebrations, or encouragement related to sales goals. If you have an inside sales team that only works in the office, a company intranet site may be a good idea. For completely remote teams, tools like Slack may be good options.
4. Meet Regularly
An important element in building a great sales culture is meeting regularly. This is important because the road to crushing sales goals is a hard one, and regular meetings are important for sustaining motivation throughout the year. Meetings should take place in a variety of settings and formats to add variety and fun. They should be consistent and held at the same time so that the team looks forward to them.
Below are the types of regular meetings you can have with your sales team:
- Daily team huddles (in person): These meetings happen every day where the sales manager reminds the team of daily or monthly goals. It’s also a great way to energize the team before they begin their day or at the end of a tough day.
- Weekly team meetings (in person): Weekly in-person team meetings give sales teams the chance to reflect and discuss how their week went if it’s held at the end of the week or what they will focus on and achieve if it’s held at the beginning of the week.
- Team video conferences: If teams are remote, video conferences can build and maintain sales culture by allowing the team to communicate with each other virtually.
- Team audio-based conference calls: Audio-based conference calls are also great for connecting when teams are remote. Using audio-only is an opportunity for sales leaders to use the power of their voices to motivate and inspire the sales team, which helps reinforce positive sales culture.
Regular meetings help reinforce sales culture because they serve as opportunities to remind the team of company and sales team values. They also serve as a space to keep sales goals and expectations front and center. Regular meetings are also terrific ways to motivate and inspire the team to perform at their highest level and to celebrate team members achieving their goals.
5. Celebrate Wins & Losses
An important aspect of building a great sales culture is celebrating wins and reflecting on losses. Because many sales cycles are long and complex, it is crucial to celebrate successes at every stage in the sales cycle to maintain forward momentum. This keeps up the excitement and sense of adventure on the team. It’s also important to reflect on losses, discuss them, learn from them, move on, and win the next time.
Pro tip: Sales reports, like those found in CRMs, make it easy to see wins and losses at a glance. Pipedrive, for example, includes sales reports that show opportunities, wins, and losses. The ability to pull these reports quickly helps you celebrate wins and losses right away. Sign up for a free trial to see if these tools will work for you and your team.
6. Reward Collaboration
To ensure collaboration, reward team members who work together. If one sales rep helps another close a deal or move it along, offer a bonus to both collaborators. Also, if appropriate, partner with other departments in the company to foster company-wide collaboration. For instance, if sales and marketing are compensated for working together on a proposal for a large account, both teams will be motivated with a financial incentive to make sure the deal closes.
Collaboration helps build great sales cultures. When sales teams are sharing their expertise and working together to achieve a common goal, the sales culture is strengthened. A great way to foster collaboration is to find ways to for the team to work together. If they’re able to work together on a huge deal, that will offer an incentive to collaborate. If they must work separately on their deals, you can split them into teams responsible for hitting a revenue goal.
Pro tip: A great way to reward collaboration is to create a campaign with a clearly defined theme, specific goals, and prizes. Next, you’ll want to have your communication tools like flyers professionally designed or prizes like gift cards designed to reflect your collaboration theme. Using a service like Fiverr is a fast and affordable way to have these elements created.
7. Foster Healthy Competition
Nearly all sales professionals are competitive and thrive on healthy competition. Creating a sense of competition on the team gets salespeople to perform at a higher level than if there wasn’t a competition, and if they will get recognized or gain a monetary reward, they will increase their levels of sales performance. It also helps build a high-performance sales culture by creating a challenge that your sales team can aspire to.
Below are a few ways to foster healthy competition on your sales team:
- Hold individual sales contests: These contests inspire people to perform individual sales functions at a higher level.
- Create team-based sales contests: Team-based sales competitions support the spirit of collaboration.
- Sponsor annual sales contests: Annual sales contests give the sales team a huge prize or financial incentive to look forward to at the end of the year.
- Design activity-based sales contests: These types of sales contests reward sales activities and behaviors you want to increase and inspire a sense of competition in the process.
“We provide limited-edition company swag, including high-quality T-shirts and plush fleeces— it gets cold in Delaware. Workers who go above and beyond in the office also receive vouchers based on their particular interests. For instance, bookworms will be able to treat themselves to some new books, and a gourmet will be able to enjoy a meal with their significant other at a local restaurant—all on the firm.”
—Samuel Johns, Human Resources Specialist & Career Advisor, ResumeGenius
However, it’s essential to keep an eye on competition efforts because sometimes it can become unhealthy and jeopardize your sales culture. Contests should be easy to track while being difficult to game. Also, look out for team members who may become overly aggressive or who may sacrifice collaboration efforts for individual wins. The key is to get to know what motivates your team and find the right balance that will add to the sales culture you want to create.
Pro tip: The best sales contests are those that motivate teams to perform at a higher level, but don’t create an administrative nightmare to manage, which is why CRM data is often the best way to track results along the way. If you’re looking for other ideas for sales contests, check out our article that offers sales contest ideas and other tips from the pros.
8. Support Professional Development
Frequently in sales-based organizations, continuing education and professional development fall by the wayside. To build a strong sales culture, encourage professional development. This helps keep sales reps’ skills and their ability to win against their competitors sharp. It also tells them that you care about their future as sales professionals, and you want them to succeed.
The type of professional development you should invest in are sales and product-specific training that is likely to yield a positive return on investment (ROI). You are taking your sales reps away from sales for a period of time, which is causing you to forego sales they could have been making. If you’re going to do this, make sure the training brings you a positive return so it will be worth it to take them away from their sales activities for a short time only to sell more of your offerings.
If you’re looking for sales programs for your team, read our article on sales training programs. It will give you some providers that have high-quality sales training programs worth investing your team’s time and your money in for them to attend.
9. Reward Daily Positive Actions
You must acknowledge and reward positive actions daily. For example, if a key component to your sales process is adding at least 20 new prospects to the pipeline, reward the actions it takes to do this, like making a certain number of cold calls and setting a certain number of appointments daily. When these actions are rewarded, your team will focus on them, which means their taking actions to keep their pipelines full.
The types of rewards you can offer for daily positive actions could be earning so many points for these actions that are redeemable for prizes. Other types of rewards include recognition on a leaderboard, public praise in meetings, coffee, or snacks that the winners enjoy.
Pro tip: A CRM like Pipedrive has tools to remind your team of the important sales activities they need to perform for the day. For instance, if you want your sales team to call prospects in a certain pipeline stage every day, you or they can add this as an activity reminder so that they don’t forget.
10. Have Fun
This is probably one of the most important factors in creating a great sales culture. Sales jobs are hard enough, and if sales reps are not in a sales culture where they’re having fun, they’re in jeopardy of going somewhere else with a more fun sales culture. Having a sense of fun gives sales reps something to look forward to when they go to work every day.
There are a ton of things you can do to make the culture more fun including having fun sales contests like overcoming the most objections or having a table of board games in the workspace for when your team wants to take a break. You can also plan to team outings that get the team together out of the office and foster personal relationships.
How Sales-driven Cultures Work
Great sales cultures work by uplifting the attitudes of everyone on the sales team. Its foundation is its company’s overall culture aligned with company revenue goals. It feeds an environment that inspires salespeople to perform at their best, be competitive, and have fun. Companies with the best sales cultures often have reputations within their industries for being excellent places to build sales careers.
They also work by establishing clear revenue and sales goals that give their sales teams a sales target to pursue and achieve. Sales cultures with clear revenue goals use tools to keep these goals top of mind track actual performance against the desired state. You’ll find tools like Pipedrive at the heart of great sales cultures because its reporting features and task reminders help keep sales teams focused on what they need to do to achieve their goals.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does a successful sales culture look like?
A successful sales culture looks like a culture that creates a highly engaged, high-performing team that meets or exceeds its revenue goals and creates an atmosphere where salespeople want to work with each other and with the company.
What are the benefits of a great sales culture?
Some of the benefits of a great sales culture include collaborating with high-performing salespeople, achieving or exceeding sales goals, and a sense of fun and team spirit.
Why do I need to build a great sales culture proactively?
Great sales cultures aren’t created by accident. Sales leaders and business owners must plan and build a great sales culture that reflects the overall mission of the company and has a sense of high performance.
Bottom Line – Great Sales Cultures
Great sales cultures are built by first starting with the overall company culture and making sure that revenue goals are aligned with sales goals. It’s also built-in clear communication of expectations, a sense of healthy competition, collaboration, and fun. If you’re trying to build a thriving sales culture, use these steps as a blueprint to proactively create a high-performing sales culture that’s right for your business.
Once you’ve mapped out your sales culture, use a CRM to make sure your team and sales culture remain as driven on day 1,000 as it did on day one. A CRM like Pipedrive keeps everyone focused on the goals that matter most while also ensuring important sales activities are carried out each day. Give the 14-day free trial a chance to see if it’s right for your business.