Every business sells something, and no matter your product or service, companies over a certain size will likely have a dedicated sales team whose function is to finalize deals, either by reaching new customers or increasing revenue from existing ones.
Whether your sales tactics focus on a single avenue of trade or you’re operating a coordinated omnichannel retail strategy, organized around online and offline outlets, an effective sales model starts with a healthy sales culture.
From entry-level sales professionals to business development directors, understanding what a healthy company culture looks like and how to go about achieving one should be a priority. Follow these six tips for happier customers and staff and long-term sales success.
1. Prioritize Customer Satisfaction
It’s perhaps unavoidable that sales will rely on quantitative targets as a measure of success. A business that doesn’t turn a profit is unviable, and the burden of ensuring a company’s profitability often rests squarely on the shoulders of its sales department.
Nevertheless, an emphasis on maximizing numbers should never be allowed to overshadow the ultimate goal of happy customers. The best salespeople know customer satisfaction is key. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing you’ve sold someone something that will really benefit them while generating revenue for your company and perhaps commission for yourself.
Anyone working in sales should know how to big up their product, but it’s also true that they should know how to write an apology letter if what they sold doesn’t meet the mark.
2. Don’t Lose Sight of the Bigger Picture
A tight-knit sales team that works together to ensure a consistent sales pipeline and revenue stream is an asset to any company. But when in-team camaraderie becomes insularity or cliquey-ness, it’s a sign your overall company culture is off.
Mission statements aren’t just wall-hangings or empty public relations gestures but should help your staff to understand their role within overarching company objectives. Sales departments tend to imagine their goals in quantifiable, monetary terms, but these are completely intractable from the more qualitative, value-oriented objectives of aftersales or customer support teams.
Marketing, accounting, and product or service development staff will also have different ways of thinking about what their purpose within a business is, and a sales team that doesn’t have an understanding of these is likely to focus on meeting sales targets without appreciating your organization’s goals holistically. In the worst cases, single-mindedness can lead to friction between departments and an uncomfortable work environment.
3. Align Sales and Brand Communication Strategies
Meeting sales targets is an important part of what makes a business successful. But in the long run, most companies want to cultivate a recognizable brand to achieve longevity and sustainable, reliable income.
For good reason, many brand communication plan examples place sales strategy at their heart. How a company goes about selling its product is key to how customers perceive the business as a whole, and sales tactics that are seen as out of line with your core values can be disastrous for publicity.
The right communication strategy can complement a flexible approach to sales that mobilizes multiple different channels of communication. Modern sales techniques incorporate a variety of media, both digital and traditional, and this should be taken into account when considering your plans for consistent brand messaging across all communications.
4. Hire Based on Culture and Values
Despite the huge advances in the automation of sales and marketing, which have been driven by digital technology, happy and capable employees are still the main determining factor in a business’s success.
Ensure your sales culture fosters satisfied and hard-working staff by building a team that shares your company’s vision. Social and ethical considerations should be a starting point when hiring, not an afterthought. No amount of experience or prowess will ameliorate the dangerous situation of finding your sales team with members who feel like they don’t belong.
Building a strong sense of belonging and shared purpose is the initiative of good leadership and a job that’s made so much easier if team members get along organically. An understanding of personality types and colleague bonding is essential for whoever makes hiring decisions and should ensure new hires are a good fit.
5. Have a Friendly Sales Team
While a little friendly competition can encourage hard work and boost morale, it’s important to strike a balance between competitiveness and mutual support. No matter how large your team, strong professional relationships are the foundation of a happy sales environment.
The social side of professional life is as important as the objectively goal-oriented elements of business, and good leaders go the extra mile to ensure their team can properly come together. Just make sure to organize inclusive social activities that everyone will enjoy.
Friendliness is not just a matter of in-team bonding either. Maintaining good relationships with colleagues from other departments helps salespeople understand the business as a whole.
An open door, whether physical or metaphorical, signals to other departments that sales is not a closed-off or disinterested aspect of a business but is integral to the smooth functioning of the company.
6. Build Long-Term Relationships
The best sales culture is one in which staff feel like they are providing a genuinely valued service to their customers. Customer retention is good for business because repeat customers provide a predictable, sustainable revenue stream.
But it’s also a great way to motivate your sales team, who will feel more personally invested in projects if they’re provided with the opportunity to build real, long-term relationships.
No one wants to feel disposable, so it’s also important to invest in staff so they feel valued and are likely to remain with your organization for longer. A high staff turnover puts off recruits and means you don’t see the return on the time and energy you spend on training. Contrapuntally, employees that stick around are valuable assets for any company.
Why not start applying these six top tips today to improve the sales culture in your company?