A sales culture is like a sales team’s personality; shaped by reps’ daily actions and attitudes. Changing something so intangible like sales culture may seem impossible, however, anything can be changed with direction and persistence. In this blog, we’ll look at what sales cultures actually are, and a great place to start making changes: how your team communicates remotely.
Starting small: cultivating your sales culture by changing how reps communicate remotely
What does ‘sales culture’ mean?
A sales culture is created by the attitudes, behaviors, and routines a sales team executes each day. As Mike Stokes puts it,
“...culture's always an interesting thing…I feel that you can, it's very hard to put your finger on it sometimes, but you can feel it when you walk into an office. Do people come up to you immediately and offer to help, is there laughter going on? Is there noise or is it the opposite?”
Since sales culture is intangible and can’t be measured, it’s easier to see it as a personality, and like any personality, it can have positive and negative traits.
What does a good sales culture look like?
Signs you’ve got a positive sales culture:
- Reps are engaged in their work, and managers are regularly checking how reps are feeling
- All sales decisions and rep actions are guided with customer data
- Reps are getting at least 1hr of 1-on-1 time with their manager per week
- Reps are happy to give each other feedback and help one another out
- Communication flows freely: there are no emotional barriers to communication
Negative sales culture signs:
- Reps are hesitant to reach out and communicate among each other
- Managers aren’t giving their reps coaching
- Feedback isn’t being given often
- Wins aren’t being celebrated
- Reps aren’t engaged in their work
- Sales data isn’t being used to guide behavior or decisions
If you can pin down negative traits in your team’s sales culture, the next step is to start changing behaviors. Attitudes are notoriously difficult to change: behaviors less so.
Reps aren’t engaged with their work? Sit down and have a stay interview.
Sales data isn’t being used properly? Show the team which figures they should be using to guide their actions and where to find them.
Reps aren’t communicating, wins aren’t being shared, and feedback not being given? Use technology to your advantage and start building habits.
Making sales culture change: starting with how the team communicates
When you’ve got reps out on the road, you won't have much facetime with them during the week. Use that time to improve how the team communicates remotely. To make those changes, you’ll need to know which behaviors to expect when a team is communicating well, and have a sales-specific comms tool set up to facilitate that behavior.
Behaviors associated with sales teams who communicate well remotely:
- Wins and sticking points are regularly shared with the team
- Reps are encouraging their peers and offering their advice
- Managers regularly respond with feedback
- No-one is getting ignored
- Messages aren’t being reacted to with judgment
- Questions are being asked
- Everyone takes part in conversations
- Information isn’t being withheld: if a win is shared, the ‘how I won’ is shared too
Using a sales-specific comms tool:
While Slack, Teams, and WhatsApp are great comms tools in their own right, they all share a drawback - they aren’t sales specific. Using a sales performance app, users can access sales data insights and communicate with their team in one place: giving reps and managers a space to interact without stepping away from the data.
However, you can’t start improving remote communication behavior unless you’re using your new sales-specific comms tool properly.
Tips for using a sales-specific comms tool effectively:
- Lead by example. Make efforts each day to check in with individual reps and the wider team
- Ask reps questions and invite responses from other team members
- Ask your best reps to explain their wins to less experienced reps: get the information out there
- If a rep shares something, engage with it and give validation: don’t ignore them
- Check in at least once per day to see if new info has been added
- Get creative with your responses and don’t limit yourself to text: use audio, video, and pictures too
Cultivating a good sales culture is about changing your sales team’s behavior one step at a time. By starting small and adjusting how the team communicates remotely, you’ll be able to build the processes needed to make larger behavior changes in future.
Want to learn more about a sales-specific comms tool which can reshape the way your sales team engages with their work? Click here to check out our Posts 2.0 liveshow and hear from top Numerik users on how Posts can be used to boost morale in a sales team.