Sales culture – put the horse before the cart

Developing a sales culture

Developing a sales culture

Traditionally when talking 
about sales best practices, most of the emphasis has been placed on individual sales rep and
 sales management skill sets. But the more we have studied high 
performing sales teams, the more we have come to realize that the
 cart has often been placed before the horse. Perhaps sales teams
 would be even more successful if greater emphasis were initially directed towards creating a culture that drives individual excellence.

Here are four ideas we have found that help create a culture of sales excellence.

  • Rewarding creative attempts as well as results. Today sales reps must function in very disruptive buying environments. To succeed they must try out different ideas for doing old things and new ideas for doing new things. This requires risk. Sometimes they will get it right; sometimes they won’t.  So the sales leadership needs to create a culture where taking a well-planned risk is rewarded.
  • Helping salespeople learn vs. telling them what to do. When it comes to establishing a culture of support one of the biggest traps for Sales Managers is coaching to their favorite plays – that is suggesting what they did in a similar situation. First, that was then and this is now. Second, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses, so your sales rep may not be able to pull off that play that was so successful for you and they may be able to plan and execute a play you could not.
  • Encouraging team efforts. Customer expectations are changing. Today customers are looking for sales reps to be trusted advisors vs. product facilitators. In many cases the sales rep alone cannot reasonably supply all the desired expertise – hence the emergence of the team sale vs. the lone-wolf model. But effective sales teams do not just spring up on their own; they require a culture where team efforts are encouraged, trained, and rewarded.
  • Profiling successful models.  One of things we know about any organizational environment is that bad news tends to document itself – not always the case with good news.  When someone or some team does something that is in line with the desired culture, make sure those actions are documented for awareness and reference.

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©2016 Sales Momentum® LLC


About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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3 Responses to Sales culture – put the horse before the cart

  1. Great insights! Love the suggestions, so valuable for a great sales culture.

  2. Thanks for the tips. I really liked that you pointed out rewarding creativity. I feel this helps a sales rep use their own mind, and (depending on what they came up with) it shows that they have been listening to the training. Thanks again.
    Richard Benchimol
    Leads Indeed

  3. Richard Ruff says:

    Richard – thanks for comment – creativity seems particularly important in today’s markets because clients want the rep to be a trusted advisor.

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