How to Build a Sales-Driven Culture
When CEOs hear the word “culture,” most think about internal metrics such as productivity, morale, communication, teamwork and performance. As important as these metrics are, none on their own can go toe-to-toe with the metric of improving sales. For the growth-minded manufacturer, building a sales-driven culture is, was, and always will be the priority of the day. After all, without sales, a company wouldn’t exist.
In one of my earlier blogs, Culture has nothing to do with touchy-feely stuff, I stressed that culture must be strategic and deliberate, and that it has nothing to do with the ping-pong table in the break room. Sure, building a culture of continuous improvement, operational excellence and leadership is critical, however, the undercurrent of a successful culture must be one that keeps sales at the forefront as a reminder to everyone their jobs wouldn’t exist without sales.
There are a number of tactics you could deploy to integrate a sales-driven culture within your organization:
- Keep everyone informed when sales are made, and also when customers leave. When a sales is made, through a town hall meeting, a newsletter or through company meetings, tell the story of how the sale was made – how long the sales cycle was, what work went into making the sale, what other companies were being considered and what led the customer to the decision to buy. Everyone, including those in production need to understand how challenging sales are to make, and how each sale benefits the company. (For most manufacturers, if a salesperson doesn’t make a sale, s/he doesn’t get a paycheck.) You’ll also need to let everyone know when customers leave, and why. No, this has nothing to do with finger-pointing – it has everything to do with using the loss as a learning experience. As one CEO said to me, Losing a customer is an expensive education, so it’s important that we learn as much as we can!
- If your environment allows for it, schedule times for non-salespeople (even those on the production floor) to be a fly on the wall and listen in on salespeople talking to customers and prospects on the phone. After each call, have the salesperson explain how the prospect was found, what stage of the sales process s/he is in, how long the courting process is taking, and how important the sale would be to the company.
- Keep in mind that the root of motivation for many people lies in knowing how their contribution to the company and its products benefits end-users. Make it a point to communicate this to everyone at your company, no matter what their title or position as it’s also a great way to strengthen relationships and reinforce the relevance and meaning of their work.
- Introduce the concept and significance of the post-sales phase of the sales cycle. Once a sale is made, the product must deliver as expected, be worry-free outside of typical maintenance, and customer issues or problems must be handled quickly and professionally. Nothing will impede sales faster than earning a negative reputation. And, if problems become too frequent, service and warranty costs erode profitability as well as the ability to make future sales to existing customers.
Once your culture is driven by a sales point of view, people at all levels will ideally develop a deeper understanding of how critical sales is to the success of your organization.
For more information on initiating a sales-driven culture, contact us today!