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Improving Your Sales Process Means Changing Your Sales Culture

December 30, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor


What separates companies with powerhouse sales departments from companies that continually lag behind their selling goals? Is it the hiring process? Sales training? Sales managers? Essentially, experts say, it’s a combination of all these things, known as a company’s “sales culture.” A good sales culture becomes the beating heart of any organization, and this strong framework can weather any changes, such as new personnel or new product or service launches.


According to Mark Frey, COO of Cambridge Global Payments writing for The Globe and Mail, a great sales culture is built on three primary pillars: intelligent compensation systems, team-based selling and coaching rather than activity management. The latter, a critical element that relies on a great sales manager, should be about more than simply evaluating pipelines and measuring activities, according to Frey.

“While sales success will always be a function of both the activity and the efficacy of those activities, it is critical to focus on the quality of the interactions your teams are having with customers at each step of the process,” he wrote. “Effective sales people are developed over time with thoughtful coaching and guidance. Each time you sit down with a sales person to review their sales pipeline, the focus of the conversation should be on where they are achieving success in delivering value to customers, contrasted with where they are finding bottlenecks in their process.”

Too many sales departments are run competitively and antagonistically, which may produce short-term results, but in the long run will never build an effective sales culture. Sales managers should follow the principles of employee engagement and review performance often, while keeping the tone constructive and encouraging rather than punitive, according to Frey.

“By determining what action or inaction is causing potential customers to fall off, you identify a coaching opportunity to deliver skills or strategies that will make that sales rep more effective,” wrote Frey. “Concentrating your management efforts on coaching rather than measuring activities will allow you to build a more effective, productive team.”

One effective way to achieve the right results is to map the customer touchpoints and determine how salespeople are engaging with customers. At each step of the way, good sales managers can help sales personnel find ways to improve these interactions. Viewing selling as a team activity rather than dog-eat-dog competitive environment can help. Since no one can master every task in a busy selling environment, the team-based approach makes sense, though it relies heavily on the skills of the sales manager.

“Teams that employ individuals with complementary skill sets and differing personality traits will deliver an enhanced customer experience, increasing both client acquisition and long-term client retention,” wrote Frey. “A team approach allows each individual to focus on where they deliver the most value, whether it be through technical expertise or timely and efficient service delivery.”

If your sales culture is weak or ineffective, better hiring and training practices can certainly help. But by revamping the company sales culture – a practice that starts with changing attitudes among sales managers – you can build a selling foundation that yields better results year after year. 




Edited by Kyle Piscioniere



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