Ten tips for developing a successful sales culture

incentive SchemeExcellence is a habit. To have a successful sales team you need to have a culture that encourages success. Unfortunately too many businesses try to grow sales by piling the pressure on their sales team.

If the right culture isn’t in place it’s not surprising that as a result sales teams can become experts at ‘gaming’ the system, for example hitting call targets but not thinking about what they are saying on the call or whether it is a qualified lead.

Here are some tips on how to develop a successful sales culture so your team can deliver added value to your customers, and sales for your organisation.

1. Drive activity more than results

Sales people can’t control who will buy and when, but if you get your sales team to focus on those activities that drive sales and keep your company front of mind then when the customer is ready to buy they will think of your sales person.


2. Use scripts for new business calls

Your sales team might not like them but make sure that you have sales scripts available for your sales team, or at least a comprehensive training programme. If you have a team member who struggles to find the right words to say on new business calls, having scripts to hand can help them develop confidence so that in time they won’t need them.


3. Celebrate success

One of the best ways to achieve sales is with an incentive programme. However, make sure your incentives focus on the right metrics and not just the numbers. Non-cash rewards are more motivating than cash, and there’s plenty of options to choose from including prepaid cards, merchandise and travel.


4. Boost esteem

improving employees' self-esteemSales teams are often the highest earners in an organisation, but they are also faced with a lot of rejection. Show your sales team how much you value them through recognition and rewards, and demonstrate to other departments in the company how important the sales function is to the business. Make being a sales person within your organisation a high-status role.

5. Sell the company mission

Teams and individuals perform better when they understand what they are trying to achieve and why. Share the company vision and mission with your team, and show them how their role contributes to the company’s objectives.


6. Instil accountability

Accountability is a great way to ensure your sales team is focusing on what they need to do to achieve a sale, but it needs to be frequent and it needs to be the right sort of accountability. That means your benchmarks need to focus on activities that drive success, rather than going through the motions.


7. Encourage healthy competition

staff competitionA little bit of healthy competition is a good thing and will encourage your sales team to strive for greater success. When developing your competition make sure that everyone in your team has a fair and equal chance of winning. And remember, competitions don’t have to be about the individual, you can create leagues for teams as well.


8. Build customer alignment in your organisation

Rather than your sales executives trying to be all things to all people, empower them to pull in people as necessary, for example, a customer service representative or product specialist. Building customer alignment between your sales, customer service and product team creates a customer-centric sale process that can deliver repeat business.


9. Build initiatives together

Rather than enforce initiatives that drive sales onto your pipeline, consider involving your team in developing them. Not only will this approach prevent you from launching initiatives that don’t meet your team’s needs, but your salespeople will be more willing to participate and engage in a programme in which they’ve had a say.


10. Be adaptable

The status quo, while comfortable, can lead to falling sales. Empower your sales team to change and experiment with ways of doing things, and to bring new ideas to you. It will create a culture of continual improvement and creativity that motivates and boosts morale.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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