So often we spend billions of dollars in this country on sales training and sales management programs when in fact one of the most fundamental things affect our ability to sell. It's our culture. Yes, I know many people write about culture but do we really think about culture as a strategic tool when selling to enable our sales teams to be successful? For example, if two employees were sitting in cubicles right next to each other but do not work well together or even get along for that matter how comfortable will they really be making phone calls within earshot of one another?
What if management only focuses on numbers and does not care about people and have publicly stated that coaching is not a part of what they do?
What if we have one or two people on the sales team who simply think they know what it all and don't need sales training or coaching and in fact have stated due to their experience they know what they're doing, but their numbers are unbelievably low?
All of these things affect how people feel ;therefore, when calling and interacting with customers if we do not feel good about where we work are we ultimately going to feel good about representing that company? Our contention is a flat no!
On the other hand what if a culture had teammates that worked well together and supported one another no matter what the numbers were? What if the culture had a highly engaged sales management staff who brought people into their offices and acknowledged the good things that sales people did? What if the culture possessed veterans who lead by example and offered themselves up to go first and role-play in practice sessions? Honestly, if the second scenario of a culture were reality wouldn't all of the sales people feel better about where they were working and what products and services they were representing from the company? Of course they would!
This begs the question then how do we go about creating the culture? First, we must have management who are highly engaged and focused on the development of staff and not just the numbers. Second, we must have staff that are truly engaged in personal and professional development no matter what the company offers in terms of training. This includes reading books or attending seminars on their own as a brief example. Third, a culture can be measured in many many ways as they can serve as indicators to where people feel comfortable performing. One of the best examples of this is what Google does by allowing employees to spend 20% of their time building new products without management approval. This has been one of the key elements that allowed the company to grow tremendously.
At one of our client sites the president of the organization and the vice president of sales have approved sales people going through sales coaching training before they were even managers. This served the company extremely well as these people have served as peer-base coaches when other people have struggled especially towards the end of the fiscal year. The results were fantastic.
If we focus on our culture and understand what makes people happy in terms of where they work and what they represent our sales teams will be wildly more successful.
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