Dave Kurlan wrote an article a while back about 10 Rules for Building a Sales Culture —a highly recommended read from the best in sales force development. I’ve worked with him for years and he is always dead-on in his advice for building a company in which business development is the central pre-occupation. Frankly, this is the kind of culture every company should strive to become.
In addition to his golden rules of building a sales culture, I’d like to add what I believe are the 4 strategic planning tools necessary to build a sales culture.
1. Published Company Goals
The goals of the company should be published in more places than just the annual business plan. Specific and measurable goals should be provide for the sales team and each producer. Without hitting people over the head with it every day, company leadership should use any opportunity to remind people of the overall goals and highlight when anyone has done their part to contribute to these goals through an employee recognition program.
2. Position Profiles
We recommend detailed job descriptions for every position, which include key experience, skill sets and, most importantly, success metrics. Before a new employee is even made an offer, they should understand exactly how their new position impacts the bottom line and how they can contribute to it by meeting their individual goals. Having this clear blueprint for how they impact new business development will set them working in the right direction and contributing to sales—directly and indirectly.
3. Individual and Company Evaluations
A culture of sales is born from a culture that is obsessed with measurement and evaluation. Everyone from the top down should receive an evaluation, at least annually but quarterly is best. The company as a whole should be evaluated and the results published to all employees. When a goal or milestone is not met, everyone will be affected and want to work that much harder to hit the goal next time. Be careful to set realistic goals that are challenging but still attainable.
4. Focused Training and Development Programs
Reinforce the company goals by giving your people the tools they need to support the sales effort. Touching on subjects like how to ask for referrals, how to reconnect with “dormant” clients, and how to ensure customer satisfaction are great training topics that can help people think and act on supporting sales. In addition, each department or discipline should have a specialized training and development track that teaches how sales support translates to their work area.
Are you seeing sales support from all corners of your company? What is your biggest challenge in getting people on board with a sales culture?
Howard Shore is an executive leadership coach who works with companies that need sales force development and business management coaching. Based in Miami, Florida, Howard’s firm, Activate Group, Inc. provides strategic planning tools and coaching to businesses across the country. To learn more about sales force development through AGI, please visit activategroupinc.com, contact Howard at (305) 722-7216 or email him.