Culture eats strategy for breakfast so says, Peter Drucker. His idea wasn’t that strategy wasn’t important, but rather culture is a more consistent platform to build success upon.
If we take that quote and insert ‘sales’ into it, does it still ring true?
Does sales culture eat sales strategy for breakfast???
Well, it really depends on the sales culture that is being formed and built- at least in the short term.
Many companies today would say they have a thriving sales strategy. They can look at the statistics of quarter over quarter and year over year growth in sales figures. But does that automatically mean they have a thriving sales culture?
Sales as a profession is hard. We are told no more than we are told yes. Rejection is nearly an everyday occurrence and the victories we win are short-lived when we realize that we need to produce that result again next week or next month.
Do you feel inspired and motivated yet??
Another factor that impacts a company’s sales culture is that of competition. Who’s on top of the leaderboard (competition with others) and where am I month-to-date and year-to-date with my quota (competition with self) and when is my next one-to-one with my manager.
All of these factors can lead to a negative sales culture. Too much competition, an approach too focused on numbers, and pushing deals along for short-term gain at the expense of long-term relationships all pull the sales culture down.
In these situations, a good sales strategy will actually win out in the short-term (6-18 months).
Top performers will carry the statistics (strategy) for a while, but then, as the numbers are harder to attain, the sales culture will be negatively impacted and that’s when we see more drama and conflict as well as more turnover.
So what’s the solution?? I don’t think it’s a matter of pitting culture vs strategy but rather, making sure they each compliment each other. Build a sales culture that is collaborative as well as demanding and put into place sales strategies that are focused on trust-building with clients and prospective clients AND everyone in the company- sales, admin, and support.
This will not be easy for many companies. To build trust with clients and prospects the company first has to build trust with and within their sales teams. This can take on many forms:
- Moving away from antiquated numbers only metrics and focus on activities that build relationships
- Forming collaborative relationships both inside and outside the company among sales professionals.
- Provide the sales teams training on not just products and services but also on relationship building and conversational techniques that foster and gain trust.
- Focus attention on their current client base and treat them like new clients- it’s always more expensive to gain new clients. If you don’t treat your clients like they’re valuable, someone else will.
- Move away from a ‘win the deal at all cost’ mentality and realize that sometimes to win in the long-term is to not close in the short-term.
This might sound daunting, but the best time to start is now. If the last 24 months has taught us anything it’s that anything can happen. To be ready for the unexpected, we have to be willing to embrace the hard choices. Start small- pick one thing and make the change. Talk to your sales reps- they are living this reality everyday and are the ones who will be impacted by your sales culture now.
Not sure where to start with a sales culture change? How about a complimentary virtual sales meeting with a Selling From The Heart Certified Coach? We’ll give your team fresh and actionable steps they can take to see immediate results.
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Originally published on Bill McCormick’s LinkedIn.