One of the top priorities of any Sales VP – other than increasing sales and growing revenue, of course – is to create a high-performance sales culture within their organization. Yet, many struggle to do so, largely due to simply not knowing what a high-performance sales culture looks like. If you find yourself in this boat, don’t fret! The first step toward achieving a winning sales culture is recognizing what traits to emphasize, implement and monitor as part of your sales management strategy.
Here are 7 characteristics that companies with high performance sales cultures all have.
1. A data-driven mindset
The best way to manage sales today is to do so by the numbers. This means that the Sales VP has to track the right sales performance metrics in order to keep abreast of his or her sales team and sales operations. More than just monitoring the right sales metrics, however, is deriving actionable insights from this data. Looking at sales pipeline metrics, sales funnel stage conversion rates and lead trajectories are all helpful, as long as the Sales VP finds specific areas of improvement as revealed by the data analysis.
2. Constant improvement through sales coaching
Companies with the best sales cultures tend not to rest on their laurels; one good quarter is not a reason to celebrate, but rather a motivator on how to make the next quarter even better. A key asset in this regard is regular sales coaching. The sales manager should study sales performance metrics to identify specific areas of weakness in the sales process of their entire team or an individual rep. They should then use that information to shore up these weak areas and constantly improve on the previous period’s bookings number.
3. Agility and flexibility
You’ll never catch an agile sales manager working within a high-performance sales culture say, “But that’s the way we’ve always done it!” That’s because the status quo is not the standard to which these sales managers hold themselves to. Agile sales managers are able to quickly pivot and embrace change when it is necessary. They understand the value of measuring everything and if the data suggests that the sales process needs to change, and change quickly, they will not hesitate to do so.
4. Transparency across all levels
High performance sales organizations have nothing to hide. They are proud of their accomplishments at all levels across all departments and will publicly and transparently display their inner workings, even if the performance is less-than-stellar – after all, neither sales reps nor anyone else in the company should have unrealistic ‘happy ears’. Using a sales leaderboard that displays the monthly bookings of all your reps is a good start toward creating this type of transparency. A nightly email that details the previous day’s activities of each rep is also great at infusing transparency – your underperforming reps will not be able to let their lagging efforts slide under the radar.
5. Healthy competition
A sales leaderboard is not only critical for transparency purposes, but can also be a tremendous asset in creating a culture of healthy competition. You want your sales reps to never be satisfied with their performances and to always push each other to be better the next month or next quarter. With a sales leaderboard listing the top 5 sales reps, by bookings, other reps will be ever-more motivated to step their game up and break into this top 5 ranking. The second- or third-best rep will want to finish ahead of the first-ranked rep and ‘win the competition.’ This type of healthy competition can lift all boats on your team.
6. Low rep turnover
A company that experiences substantial rep turnover consistently will operates in a herky-jerky and jarring manner, without being able to gain a good rhythm. They will constantly have to train new employees and deal with the 3-month process of fully onboarding them to a completely productive rep. That type of disruption is not conducive to the sales process, where the team knows what it’s supposed to do on a day-to-day basis and can do so without interruption.
7. A common vision
Finally, the one thing all employees – from the Sales VP down to each individual rep – share in common within a high-performance sales culture is a common vision, keeping their collective eyes on the shared prize. These organizations are clear about what they are trying to achieve and will emphasize this vision to every employee. It is critical to get full employee buy-in so that each rep is working not just to hit his number or improve her performance but to accomplish the end-goal that every employee is working toward.
Does your organization display these high performance sales culture traits? What other characteristics do you think are critical at the best sales cultures? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!