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How to build a winning sales culture

Mark Banfield, Autotask's senior VP International, provides five proven strategies that will help you strengthen sales culture in your organisation

Strengthening your sales culture is crucial to long-term sustainability and business growth. Today’s fast-paced business environment requires salespeople who know how to consistently deliver a great experience that reinforces a customer-first mindset. Successful global brands recognise that the first step toward achieving a winning sales culture is building the right foundation. Offering a product or service is simply not enough—customers want to know that any company they partner with will help them maximise their investment.

With that, and given the high degree of competition in today’s IT provider market, creating a winning sales culture has become more important than ever. Here are five proven strategies to help achieve this:

Hire the same type of successful sales people 

Define the attributes most important to your sales strategy and prioritise them. For example, work ethic and willingness to be coached could be the most critical, followed by passion, adaptability to change and propensity to be highly prepared. Weight these attributes and score each candidate based on your defined criteria. During interviews, have all interviewers test for these core skills and rank potential candidates according to their fit to your desired attributes. Don’t compromise on candidates who don’t fit the profile you define. This will help you consistently hire the right salespeople to work within your culture and get the job done for your customers. 

Train them the same way

An all-in, boot-camp environment is best for initial sales training. Create a core curriculum and follow it, with frequent tests (presentations and role playing) followed by feedback. Not all will pass, but those who do should be lauded and celebrated.

Implement a consistent sales process

Your process is your own but likely includes research, prospecting, qualifying, demonstrating and closing. What’s important is that everyone follows the same process and is tracked (i.e.,using your CRM system). This ensures you can identify problems and intervene through intensive coaching (e.g., why do most of Steve’s deals never make it out of the research stage?).

Develop teams and team leaders

Teams of five to six people are best, nestled into larger teams spearheaded by the ultimate player coach, an experienced rep to help with major negotiations and a mentor who rides with reps to provide real-time coaching in the field. This team approach can allow you to scale the sales team and ensure every rep gets the attention required.

Create a motivational environment

Communication is the most important aspect of motivating sales people, so weekly team meetings are essential. Other motivators include goal setting (self-set and shared objectives) and monthly and annual awards. Link your sales reps everyday tasks to a bigger team goal; everyone wants to be part of something bigger.

One final consideration: preparation. Salespeople are thought of as charismatic and hard working, but time management is actually a salesperson’s greatest strength. The US Marine Corps says it best with its 5 P’s: “prior planning prevents poor performance.”

The preparation that must occur before a successful sales call is not to be overlooked. Top salespeople make this a priority. They also carefully document the calls and they execute the necessary follow-up to move a sales call to the next stage. And the best salespeople carefully track their own progress in terms of prospects, weekly and monthly opportunities and year-to-date numbers. They carefully plan each week based on what activities will get those numbers where they need to be—basing each day’s tasks on what needs to be accomplished by the end of the week.

The above-mentioned strategies along with highly prepared salespeople can prove to be essential as IT service providers look to survive and thrive in today’s highly competitive environment.



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