3 Top Characteristics of a Healthy Sales Culture
If your sales team hasn’t been performing at its full potential, you may want to consider evaluating your sales culture. Sales culture refers to the overall attitude and “vibe” that your sales team is projecting, and it characterizes not only the way your teammates work with one another but also the enthusiasm and passion they bring to their daily sales tasks. While some sales cultures are healthy and lead to highly productive and successful teams, other sales cultures are toxic and can dampen team morale.
What are some characteristics of a healthy sales culture? In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common ones so you can better assess your own sales team and decide how to adjust and refine your culture moving forward.
1. Your team members are always ready to learn and improve
Even the top sales professionals in the world can always be better and do better.
If your team members are resistant to training and ongoing learning, then you must ask yourself, “Why do they possess such a negative attitude? How can I make them excited to learn?” The most successful and productive people in the world know there’s always room for improvement. Moving forward, you should consider hiring only the salespeople who love learning and who welcome the opportunity to grow.
Top performers need to feel like they are rewarded for their efforts and expertise. If they are being kept from advancing in the company because they are “needed where they are” or their position becomes stagnant for another reason, this can be a huge contributing factor to dampen morale.
Top performing sales associates are unofficial leaders, and other team members look up to them because of their results and longevity. Since they are such key players, if they are unsatisfied with how they’re being treated, that negative mindset toward the company is likely to seep into the rest of the team also.
So how do you keep your key top performers happy? Certainly, you can offer a higher commission or a bonus for reaching a goal. You can also reward and recognize them in front of their peers. This can be a weekly/monthly catered lunch in honor of the top performer, a quarterly ceremony with awards and gift cards, or something as simple as a shout-out email to praise a job well done. Some companies have had great success with things like paid Fridays off or flight vouchers to help motivate their teams.
Promotions are also an effective form of reward. No one wants to feel like they have to stay stagnant. If promotion to a traditional role isn’t possible, consider creating a mid-level management role with a modest salary increase and additional responsibilities, such as using their expertise to train staff.
2. A healthy sales culture lives and dies on communication
As a sales team, are you moving forward together with specific goals and milestones in mind? If not, each team member may be lacking direction and motivation.
With a solid sales strategy and some focus, your team will know exactly what it needs to achieve on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If and when market conditions change, your sales team should be able to pivot together without missing a beat. If you don’t have a sales strategy, it’s time to create one —and ensure that it’s aligned with your overall business strategy.
A sales strategy allows all team members to feel like they’re on the same page. It also gives them the opportunity to grow as professionals because they can compare notes about how successful they were when executing the same strategy.
A set strategy provides direction and lets them know that the company is providing guidance instead of just goals and expectations to reach “on their own.”
3. Your team feels comfortable with open and honest feedback
A salesperson can improve by listening to critical feedback and making the necessary changes to improve. At the same time, a sales leader must feel comfortable providing that feedback in an honest yet tactful way. If your sales team feels like it’s keeping secrets or avoiding major issues, then it may be time to address the elephant in the room and encourage a culture of openness.
This can be done by asking for feedback on management. You can create an anonymous employee survey and assess their feelings on management techniques. Once the management level has been completed, employees will feel more comfortable evaluating themselves or other employees. Keeping responses anonymous will help to focus on areas of growth and mitigate “office drama.”
If your sales team has already let office politics and feedback affect them negatively, consider hiring a consultant to come in and observe the team. Give the consultant a clear idea of the criteria you would like employees to be evaluated on and time to speak with each employee to get their own feedback about their job. This will allow employees to feel heard and validated. This is also helpful for feedback because the sales team knows it’s an outside, objective individual who is not biased in any way and is more likely to listen to the feedback provided.
Now that you know some of the characteristics of a healthy sales team, how would you rate your own team’s performance? What are some positive aspects of your sales culture, and what can you improve?