Building a sales culture won’t happen by accident. Here’s how to do it:
1. Create a shared vision and commitment to driving this vision.
This is more than simply coming up with some words that represent what you think your business is and should be.
Your Board, Executive and Senior Management need to drive this vision as a consistent and clear message and as the raison d’aitre of your business. Unless this vision is communicated and modelled consistently by all senior people, the vision of your sales culture will die before it gets off the ground.
2. Communicate the vision to all teams and get their buy-in.
The vision should be delivered by your Executive to the business in a clear, concise and easily understood manner.
The most effective way to do this is for them to deliver the vision to their direct reports, who in turn adapt the vision for their own circumstances, but retaining its core meaning. Managers at each level cascade the vision to their teams through the business, getting buy-in from all of their people in the process.
3. Manage the application of the vision in the business
This is the ‘How to’ in terms of driving the vision through your business and making it a way of life at the front line. It’s where things generally start to fall apart!
Bringing your vision to life requires managers, at all levels, to follow specific, predetermined activities and behaviours that will build the sales culture in line with your vision.
These activities and behaviours, or sales and service management practices, will be devised initially by your Executive. They will be based around best practice and process relating to specific sales and service leadership competencies and in line with your vision.
Managers at all levels, including the Executive, will role model these management practices which will result in clear and consistent messages being delivered throughout your business.
These management practices can be termed a ‘sales & service management system’ and can be summarised as:
“A set of clearly defined, measurable practices that managers at all levels commit to carrying out on a regular, disciplined, skilled and enthusiastic basis and without fail.”
4. Develop the skills of the Executive in application of the skills and behaviours required by the management system.
5. Develop the skills of managers at all levels in application of the skills and behaviours required by the management system.
6. Communicate the philosophy and content of the management system to all staff.
Ensure the practical application of these skills and behaviours. Line Managers to hold managers at all levels accountable for completing the practices on a regular, consistent basis and without fail.
7. Develop the skills of all managers in professional sales and service and sales referral practices.
For managers at all levels to drive the required culture they will need to know what good looks like in terms of high performing sales and service practices.
8. Develop the skills of all staff in sales and service practices.
This is essential to building your sales culture if you are to be successful in creating the culture you seek. The onus is on each manager to coach and provide feedback to their team members.
9. Work with managers in practical application of the management system.
Again the Executive must become drivers of the sales and service culture and in bringing your vision to life.
By ‘coaching your coaches’ and holding them accountable for completing the required activities, they will ensure that your vision becomes a way of life.
10. Mentor, develop, coach, shadow and support managers and staff at all levels.
Completion of these activities on an ongoing basis as a way of life will ensure that your focus on sales & service becomes part of your culture rather than a passing fad.
Having arrived at your desired sales culture, the hardest part will be staying there!