This is the time of the year that almost every organization spends numerous planning hours looking at their YTD sales achievements and the success of their sales strategy.  Was our strategy effective, could we have executed it better, what tweaks need to be made to ensure our 2013 sales strategy is spot on?

While it is important to continually assess how and where your sell, selling methodology and strategy cannot be truly successful unless your entire organization’s culture is focused on helping the sales team sell.

Without the key ingredient of a strong selling culture, even the best sales strategies may still fail.  Yet while many executive teams believe that their “ sales culture” resides solely down the hall in the sales bullpen, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Sales culture literally starts in the boardroom. It’s customary for one or more of the senior leadership team to be board members too. These senior leaders must build their organizations around both the needs of their clients and their need to deliver superior financial results to their owners and shareholders.

Savvy senior leaders understand that to attract and retain the right kinds of clients their entire organization is one big selling and customer service unit.

Here are a few areas to focus on when trying to improve company sales culture.

  • Beyond the top levels, every employee must understand their role in the selling process and the impact their performance has on the ability to win and retain business.
  • Additionally, the sales team only has so many hours a month to be in front of their prospects.  Internal processes that take away client face time need to be reviewed and streamlined where possible.   For example, if your sales people are losing time working new contacts through the internal approval process or working with the finance team to correct an invalid invoice this is taking valuable time away from the selling process.
  • Challenge every functional team to suggest two things that can be changed to streamline their department’s ability to provide superior customer experience by improving the speed and quality of support to sales.
  • A final are to drive sales culture is to make sure that variable compensation programs are driving the right behaviors such as shorter sales proposal cycles, improved client billing accuracy, more expediency on customer service issues, faster shipping, etc.  Metrics are important here so find a way to develop a baseline from which to measure your successes.

Take the time to query your team on what they can do to be part of an improved sales culture at your firm. Some of their suggestions may be simple but a few are guaranteed to surprise you.  Building a company that is totally focused on winning new business and keeping customers for life takes a total team commitment.