Shaping the perfect sales culture involves more than analytics and skill development; it's about understanding your salespeople and what makes them tick. Sales culture refers to the attitudes, behaviours, and habits that your sales staff demonstrates at any given moment and place.
Your company's sales culture impacts how much your salespeople sell, how productive they are, and how long they stay with your business. A company's sales culture is crucial when sales and appointments are up and down. A thriving, positive sales culture may bring out the best in your team. The opposite is also true.
We'll walk you through sales culture, explaining what it is, why it's important, and how DISC can shape the perfect sales team culture.
What is Sales Culture?
Culture is a word we often hear regarding the workplace. We might say to others, 'have you heard about this business? Their culture is terrible.' So, what is sales culture? Sales culture is the frame of reference that members of a sales team have found beneficial for success in dealing with their environment. Sales culture incorporates the attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviours shared by a sales team. These factors can be positive or negative.
Culture is often difficult to define as it's generally unspoken and does not have a set of defined rules. However, it is possible to identify shared aspects and shape the culture. Sales culture structures one's perception of the team and is the framework defining how you operate.
Your organisation's culture dictates what you do and who, where, when, how, and why. Understanding sales culture is the first step towards determining how to define your own. Whether good or poor, sales culture is an all-encompassing factor that you establish, expand, and sustain through time by implementing specific rules and procedures. It is essentially the total of your sales team's attitudes, values, and behaviours.
Why is Sales Culture Important?
A winning sales culture brings together the people and keeps them aligned. When your sales culture is positive and clear, those in the team can get behind it with a common purpose and goal. On the flip side, when there is no sales culture, employees may feel less motivated and lack direction.
Sales culture is essential to set expectations for how the sales team should behave and work together. A winning sales culture ensures the team functions well. On the flip side, a toxic sales culture can create obstacles in decision making and disrupt collaboration and workflow. Understanding the sales team culture can also help you understand your salespeople's shared strengths, development areas, and team gaps. These insights ensure tasks are assigned accordingly and the right members are in place to tackle projects.
How DISC Can Shape the Perfect Sales Culture
Having the right tools to improve sales culture is the first step to creating a positive sales team culture. Tools such as DISC Assessments provide a picture of your culture in its current state. Using the findings from the sales team culture assessments, you can pinpoint the areas that harm the team and create actionable changes to shape the perfect sales culture.
The sales culture describes how the sales team thinks and acts. The sales management and the team itself influence sales culture. Management attempts to shape the team to behave in the desired manner, while the team strives to act in the way most natural. The following discusses some of the most significant features of various DISC sales team cultures.
Team Culture in a D Sales Team
- Encourages taking immediate action
- Motivated by internal competition (not always healthy!)
- Learns by doing and making mistakes
- Team members don't always trust each other
- Extremely flexible - rules or plans are just guidelines
Team Culture in an I Sales Team
- Significant amount of non-qualified ideas - some are actioned
- Everyone wants to shine and be awarded as the best sales professional
- Learning comes in time and is based on shared experiences
- The level of trust is high, although they do not always keep promises
- Very flexible; a better idea wins and takes over
Team Culture in an S Sales Team
- Must base all actions on a plan or a shared agreement
- Everyone works for the team; competition may decrease motivation
- Thorough learning before taking action - and afterwards
- Trust is very high with all vital information shared between members
- Attempts to be flexible but easily finds too many "but's "...
Team Culture in a C Sales Team
- Nobody takes action; everyone follows the process
- Competition could motivate if the rules were clear and fair
- Learning is about how to improve statistics
- Trust is never an issue - the process takes care of it
- Flexibility is a sign of weakness; you always do the best thing
A group of people building a specific culture within their team also demonstrate a particular type of behaviour in their daily work. When observing the behaviour, we can make assumptions about the team culture, such as the general values that are important to them. We can use that information to shape a culture aligning to their values and increase satisfaction and engagement.
Furthermore, the DISC assessments help sales managers understand the focus of the group and whether their salespeople generally prefer facts, logic over people, relationships, being active or working quickly. This focus may impact how you choose to deliver information to your team or address communication issues. Using the insights from the sales teams' DISC profiles, we can use these to shape the culture to maximise productivity and engagement.
What Does a Good Sales Culture Look Like?
Developing a sales culture that drives favourable outcomes for your organisation will take work at every level. Each facet and team needs to understand the nature of the culture they are participating in and agree with it. The sales culture needs to be universally accepted and beneficial for it to stick. A successful sales culture brings out the best in your salespeople. Below are some of the top characteristics of a good sales culture:
- Healthy competition
- Low rep turnover
- Defined sales process
- Quick problem identification
- Collaboration and knowledge sharing
- Trust and communication
- A shared vision and clear focus
- Continual learning and development
- Understanding of the teams Behavioural Styles to facilitate mutual understanding
- Fair compensation
- Open and honest feedback
What Does a Toxic Sales Culture Look Like?
A toxic culture will produce the polar opposite of everything beneficial in a successful sales culture. High turnover, distrust, individuality, low motivation, and other variables that lead to an unfavourable work environment are ingredients of a toxic sales culture. A toxic sales culture is challenging to change after it has been formed, as new employees are more inclined to integrate into the existing culture rather than work against it.
Often a toxic sales culture results from hiring the wrong people or incentivising the wrong behaviours. Gathering anonymous feedback via a 360 Assessment or HR Survey is a great way to understand whether a toxic employee is negatively affecting the culture or whether there are other factors at play.
How to Improve Sales Culture
Every successful business is built on a strong culture. It represents who you are, what you value, and what you want to achieve. It establishes the personality of your organisation and influences how you behave, work, and communicate. It is the responsibility of sales managers to foster a positive environment that keeps their salespeople motivated and engaged. This is critical not just for raising productivity but also for your company's profitability and survival.
Building and maintaining this culture is challenging, but the end result is well worth it. Here are some ideas for creating a sales culture that motivates, inspires, and encourages achievement.
- Hire for the Right Culture Fit
Many businesses recognise the significance of recruiting for cultural fit. According to research, workers who fit into the organisational culture have higher job satisfaction, employee engagement, and productivity. When analysing a candidate's job fit and soft skills, behavioural frameworks such as DISC might be useful to discover their distinct behavioural type. You will obtain vital insights into a candidate's behaviours, motivations and other characteristics. A DISC Assessment is also an effective way to determine the candidate's soft skills that can boost productivity and performance, improve workplace relationships, and supplement hard skills.
- Engage in Sales Assessments
Top sales teams exceed expectations and contribute to the company's success. When selecting future salespeople, hiring managers must ensure that new personnel will immediately bring value. Sales recruitment assessments give recruiting managers in-depth information on potential salespeople's critical competencies and optimum fit to a sales process. Using this information, hiring managers may identify strengths and possible areas where a new recruit may require more assistance. Sales assessment tools are an excellent approach to making non-biased judgments based on scientific evidence.
- Set Clear Goals, KPIs and Expectations
Salespeople seek reasons other than money to show up every day and work hard. Although a shared vision isn't required for success, it keeps salespeople engaged and inspires them to collaborate when times are rough. When people's values are out of sync, they strive towards individual goals with different intentions and results. Align your objectives, and ensure that everyone understands the purpose and values to the point that they become the values of the entire sales team. These principles will empower your salespeople and give the sales team a feeling of purpose.
- Encourage Learning and Development
Salespeople should always be learning new techniques and methods. Not only does customer behaviour evolve, but technology allows for new approaches while rendering old ones obsolete. Workplace education is essential, and chances for continual learning are critical to future success. Sales managers should create an atmosphere that encourages representatives to learn, get continual training, and receive sales coaching. Growth opportunities allow salespeople to develop their professional abilities and reduce the probability of sales reps leaving.
- Acknowledge Team and Individual Accomplishments
Acknowledging and rewarding even small accomplishments can help to foster a more favourable sales culture. Creating an incentive strategy that drives sales activity is a quick method to obtain results. Working in sales is a challenge when constantly faced with the possibility of rejection, which is why optimism is essential to keeping your people motivated. Keep things light with friendly competitions, publicly recognise your top salespeople, and share success tips stories. Celebrate all wins, big and small, and use both big and little celebrations to foster a happy, sales driven culture.
Speak to us to understand how you can implement DISC to shape your sales culture.