Every organization I work with has a goal or an initiative to turn their organizations into a “sales culture” but very few actually know how to make that happen. And as a result, often ends up on the wish list of greatest intentions that never seems to take shape.
Are you struggling with the same mandate?
Have no fears, here are simple tasks you can take immediate to get your organization moving in the right direction. But I do have a disclaimer here… the older your organization, the more difficult and the more time will be needed to see an impact. Older organizations are rooted in “how we have always done it” and “legacy thinking”. But, it is not hopeless cause, for you, more change management principles need to be applied coupled with strong HR systems.
•It Starts at the Top
Yes, as the leader people are going to follow your lead. They are going to mirror your behaviors, opinions and parrot your statements in other meetings. If the mandate is a priority, you need to live and breathe it everyday and in every message and meeting you conduct. If you have a new strategic plan – connect it to the sales culture; if you have a new operational efficiency – connect it to the customer experience and sales culture. A sales culture exists to serve its customers. It is living with high energy, innovation and a commitment to excellence. This needs to be seen throughout your organization and it starts with you and your leadership teams.
•Define Roles and Responsibilities
An area that will have the most impact is defining the roles and responsibilities of the people within your organization. Defining how their role is part of the larger vision and how they can contribute to the overall outcomes and goals of the organization. In more seasoned companies, this will take some time to unravel some of the legacy processes, but what will happen is morale will improve, energy will be created and the customer experience will improve and more deals will come your way.
•Educate, Train and Empower
It isn’t enough to simply define roles and responsibilities; you need to train your staff on how you want them to act. What do you want them to do differently now that you’re a sales culture and you need to reinforce it many times. People learn in a variety of ways: By seeing, by listening and by doing. Create multiple touch points that reinforce what you train and educate your staff on why you are making changes. What are the benefits, how will it impact them. Lastly, empower your team to act on your behalf. Give them the guidelines so they know what is expected. For example, The Ritz Carlton gives each employee the ability to spend up to $ 2,000 to enhance a guest’s experience. They are empowered to make decisions around what would make this guest happy.
•Inspect what You Expect
Just like anything new that you roll out. You need ongoing feedback. You need to understand what is working and what isn’t and make necessary corrections. So basically, inspect what you expect your people to do. Provide constructive feedback and use each opportunity for a “coaching moment” on how they could have done something slightly different to get a better result. If you approach this negatively and scream or make demands, you will undo all the work and effort you took to create a sales culture. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Have patience and monitor your employee’s actions and correct where necessary.
•Build out a shared incentive structure
A strong sales culture share in the rewards. Build out an incentive structure that aligns the goals and behaviors of each department and position so everyone partakes in the win. It could be a bonus program, a commission structure or simply a company paid lunch. Whatever incentive looks like for you organization and motivates your employees to do the best job possible, is the system you want to consider.
Lastly, celebrate the wins! Even the small ones. Give the organization a taste of what winning looks like and how it make everyone feel and the benefits it brings. Celebrate, communicate and share in the joy of your success – as a team.