Thoughts on SAAS sales culture problems

In today’s world you can virtually measure everything — monthly revenue, call activity, cold email open/click rate, rep turnover rate etc. It seems like the only thing left unmeasurable is a company sales culture, which doesn’t mean it is not important. In fact, sales culture acts as a key player in everything stated above, from how much revenue your sales team brings to productivity metrics.

So what is sales culture?

Sales culture is a combination of inner company values, attitudes and habits that define your sales team.

What are the common elemets of successful sales team culture?

What are the common elements of successful sales team culture?Instant indication of a sales process problems and their correction

  1. Low sales representative turnover
  2. Friendly! competition
  3. Knowledge sharing
  4. Building team trust
  5. Neverending education

Instant indication of a sales process problems and their correction

In the digital world, the ability react instantly is vital.

Imagine this:

Your C-level execs decide to conquer the new market. The sales team needs to quickly sketch a customer profile, think of a new prospecting method, dig deep into the subject and learn the terminology so that the reps would seem trustworthy to new customer, figure out a common buying process for the industry, pick a couple of great candidates etc.

If the team is agile enough and able to quickly experiment, learn from mistakes and adjust accordingly this process will end up successfully.

You can refer to any agility tips and tricks you can find on a web and experiment with them. What works in my company are daily 10 minute stand-ups. Every team member has to answer the same simple questions

What have I completed yesterday? What will I complete today? What changes should I make to be more efficient?

The is one thing I would like to point out — The is no such thing as a sales failure as long as it is documented and shared in the company knowledge center. Those negative results will help everyone else in your company avoid them.

Lowering the sales rep turnover

Losing salespeople is terrible. Not only its bad to earn a reputation of a “rep centrifuge” but onboarding new ones is very expensive.

There isn’t too much to recommend here apart from being super careful when selecting the salespeople. Yes, I know it might seem eternal, but trust me it will pay off in the long run.

Don’t forget that salary isn’t the only reason why reps leave. A lack of coaching support from team leads might promote that as well.

Last but not least is don’t let the reps feel stuck on their position. Think about the promotional path of every rep, so they can move up the career ladder as soon as they reach a certain goal or skillset.

Boosting friendly competition

If you are like most of the sales guys, then the chances are that you shine under competition pressure are very high. The key here is to keep the competition at a friendly level and never let it fade to the bloodthirsty mode, which will inevitably lead to sales reps hiding new techniques and information from each other and trying to seize every single sale opportunity.

How to never let this happen? Simple — give them an external enemy, not only will it make them work together, but it will make them closer as a team. Trying to outsell your main competitors on the market is a great starting point.

Always measure their sales results and try to make them beat their own high scores month after month.

Don't forget to pair your newcomers with the time-tested reps. The later will act as mentors and will accelerate the steep learning curve and will give the newcomers a sense of care.

Gamification might help as well. Host monthly contest, but try to make up a new one each month, so that everyone would have a chance of winning.

Good examples are rewarding a winner of the "Shortest sales cycle" or "Most deals signed" etc.

Knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing in the most important point here.Your sales rep act as a team and pass tips and their honest thoughts on whats happening inside the company and don't create any roadblocks.

Long gone are the days of efficient water cooler conversations. You should dig for new ways to communicate inside your teams. Try creating a new Slack channel (or any other messaging platform) to discuss some new tricks that might help your team succeed.

Promote communicationand knowledge sharing. People come up with bad ideas mostly when they keep growing them inside their own heads.

Don't let gamification end. Create another contest for the best strategy to convert prospects that demo your product into a buying customer. If one of your reps comes up with an idea that can enhance the conversion rate up by 30% — then reward him/her with a monthly innovation money reward.

Building team trust

Listening to your team and looking forward to receiving feedback are two of the main responsibilities of a great sales team lead. Does the onboarding process make the newcomer reps uncomfortable? The team lead should constantly monitor the process and make adjustments. Do the reps need more freedom with their deals? The team lead provides that (of course, on a reasonable level). Even if a team lead can not deliver the above stated, but still shows the effort it will work as a trust gainer.

An important aspect of trust building is focusing on managing to deliver result and not micromanaging the office activities such as making the reps fill out the unnessescary reports or working strictly at the desk rather than in a place they feel most comfortable.

Last but not least — keep your word not for the large projects, but for little nuances as well. If the sales lead said that he/she will deliver the feedback by tomorrowmorning, then so it should be.

Neverending education

Not only buyers behaviors always evolving, but the new technologies make old behavior models become completely outdated. The problem with the current widely distributed educational programs is that its mostly about a companies array of products and services and very little of those are tailored to fit your specific industry.

Whether you have an in-company training coach or are going to hire a training company to remember, the program should be strictly focused around your product.

Creating a strong sales culture is hard, however, the result it will provide will be more than satisfying.

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