There are many reasons to create a positive sales culture. Employee retention, better teamwork, customer satisfaction, and of course, more profitable and predictable revenue. Enormous ups and downs in the sales cycle wreaks havoc on the operation, so a steady predictable sales flow is crucial to the bottom line. Here’s how to tell if you have a good sales culture.
The Right Attitude
In a strong organization, the salespeople feel respected and appreciated. I’ve worked with companies where the salespeople were perceived as second-class citizens who begged and lied to earn a living.
Strong cultures have a clear process for all aspects of sales. Salespeople are accountable and follow through on commitments. They are nurtured, trained, and coached. A good manager will check in on new people daily and the seasoned reps weekly to see how things are going. In a strong organization, different employees go on a sales call from time to time. When a manager, production staff, or designer is interested in accompanying the salesperson on an appointment, it sends a message and reinforces the culture.
Sales appointments, prospecting, referrals, sales meetings, and goal setting should all have a positive connotation. Don’t confuse a sales appointment with marketing or mistake referrals for references. Don’t confuse a prospect with a customer! They are very different, and companies with a strong sales culture recognize this.
Strong cultures have a clear process for all aspects of sales.
Everyone Is Involved
All departments should work to support sales, and sales should return the favor. In a strong sales culture, production religiously puts out jobsite signs and meets the neighbors. Production managers embrace the opportunity to upsell by asking, “Mr. Client, as long as we’re here, does it make sense to ... ?” When selling is a company-wide responsibility, salespeople don’t feel isolated.
What to Do If You Don’t Have One
Culture change starts at the top. Appreciation of salespeople and lead generation is not a quick-fix project. When working with a company, I typically start by creating or documenting procedures for every aspect of the customer experience. It’s impossible to hold people accountable or scale without documented procedures that everyone follows. The most important processes to document include the attributes of an ideal customer, the conditions to disqualify a project or prospect, privileges for previous customers, routines for staying in touch with past clients, and a map showing all the steps the homeowner must be led through from first phone call to final payment. There must be enough detail so the salesperson doesn’t resent any decisions that must be made when dealing with prospects. There’s nothing more demotivating than to have what they thought was a good prospect be turned away by the boss for criteria the salesperson wasn’t aware of. I once had a boss that asked me the same 10 questions whenever I returned from a sales appointment. It didn’t take me long to figure out how to keep him happy. And the information I got into the habit of obtaining helped me sell better. Predictability and demonstrating appreciation of your sales team will do wonders for your sales culture.