Sales Culture Is More Than the Sales Team

I am just back from some Sales Culture Keynotes, and I had an interesting conversation with one client that really got me thinking. As this particular CEO was making a very kind introduction of me in front of the entire company, he made the following statement: “…we are going to hear today how sales culture is all about the sales team.” Hmmmmm….

For the past 5 years, I have been defining and shaping the conversation about sales culture, and the comment that this particular CEO made is what I want to talk about with you now. Creating a sales culture does not solely rest on the sales team’s shoulders – and it does not necessarily even begin there. Surprised by the second statement? Read on.

Building a sales culture is not just about the sales team. I have said many times that building a successful sales team is all about the entire company embracing a mindset that “everyone’s in sales.” A BIG message with a lot to think about? Yes, it is, and there is more. The principles of a sales culture are for the entire company to “get” and embrace – and for everyone to see that it’s not just something the sales team “does.” Let me share four of my eight basic principles of a sales culture that involve everyone.

  1. “No one wakes up and decides to be overhead.” I made this comment in a keynote, and I was amazed at the wonderful reaction it received. I firmly believe that members of an organization all want to contribute what they know, and that when they do, more sales happen.
  2. Everyone has a “line of sight to revenue.” I teach in my workshops that what everyone does counts! Everything that everyone does every day has a systemic effect on whether the client says “yes” or “no.” That effort or task they are doing may not be seen right away, and it may not be immediately obvious, but when the client says “yes,” it is always because many people’s skills and talents were brought to bear on the sales campaign.
  3. “Don’t do anything differently; think differently about what you do.” This is perhaps my favorite sales culture teaching. I want everyone to embrace that when you do what you do (and you do it well), it makes the sales campaign smoother and more connected. Keep doing what you do, and think about “How does this impact the client?” Your expertise will help make sales happen.
  4. “Everyone’s in Sales.” When I suggest that we are “all in sales,” people often nod and think “Not me” or “Yes, but what does that really mean”? Fair comment and question, and here is what this means: It means that you have a skill and expertise, and that skill combined with all of the other skills in your organization make for a successful sales campaign! Yes, you are “selling” when the work you do helps the customer make a positive decision for your product or service. Whether you are in HR, Finance, Legal, or IT, you make a contribution every day to the client being able to buy your company’s products. Sales in not “someone else’s job”; it is the collective opportunity.

So there you have it! Sales is not just about the sales team – it is very much about the entire organization understanding how their roles are necessary to the company’s long-term success! Everyone is in sales simply by just doing what he or she does and seeing how it plays a part in making great things happen.

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