Culture building

Every company has a culture – an identity, climate, environment, atmosphere, way of life, traditions, and operating paradigms. It is built on attitudes, beliefs, and mores. Some company cultures are product focused; these companies are known for their innovation and commitment to excellence in

what they create. The product is the culture. Generally, they are held up as the industry standard. Some companies are service focused; everything they do takes on a service tone. These companies view themselves as relationship managers with customers. Some companies are known as logistics specialists; supply-chain management and operational efficiency are the lifeblood of their organization. Many companies are known as sales organizations; everyone in the company views themselves as salespeople. Their mantra is, “”Everyone sells something to someone.”” Other companies have a technical culture; they are known as “”techies.”” Techies are good at the technical side of the business, but they may not be as good at people issues.

Some organizations are paternalistic; others are entrepreneurial. Some are democratic; others are bureaucratic. Some companies have a family feel to them, even if they are publicly held. Some cultures are customer focused while others are seller focused. Some company cultures are employee friendly while others cater to management. Some company cultures are built around a curiosity about their potential while others look to the marketplace and competitors for performance benchmarks. Even “”no culture”” is a culture. It is called chaos. You have a culture. Is it the one you want? Will your culture get you to where you want to be?

Cultures attract certain kinds of people. Healthcare, education, business, military, government, manufacturing, religion, retail, sports, and the media draw people who prefer to work in that particular culture. The word that an organization is women-friendly, minority-friendly, or immigrant-friendly spreads fast in the inner circles of those interested in these opportunities.

Your culture affects every aspect of your sales management efforts. From the people you hire, to the sales objectives you set, to the training you design, to the compensation plan you establish, to the coaching you provide, your culture defines your efforts. That is good news. Culture adds purpose, discipline and form to your initiatives. If your company lacks an identifiable business culture, it manifests in employee confusion and frustration. If you lack a sales management infrastructure, you cannot blame your salespeople for a failure to perform. After all, they are following your lead.

For the sake of this article, let us assume you want to create a value added sales culture-this is your focus. As your sales force achieves its value added sales objectives, you accomplish your departmental objectives, and your company achieves its goals and accomplishes its mission. This is no accident. Organizational success is the natural outcome of individual and team success. To get the most from your sales force, you must begin with a vision.

A vision is a dream, a calling, a view of the future-what’s to come-governing values, purpose, what you stand for, what you stand against, direction, destiny, guiding principles, center, core, compass, what you live for and maybe what you die for. Effective planning begins with a vision of what is to become. That vision, translated into a mission, unifies a team and gives it the direction to succeed. Most companies fail because they begin their plan with goals instead of a vision and a mission. Here is how to get the M.O.S.T. from your sales team.

Mission–this is the why behind your goals. It is why your goals make sense. If your mission is to become known as the customer-friendly company in your industry, customer satisfaction and retention goals make sense. This is built on a vision that if you respect people and treat them well, you will dominate in the future because your industry is moving in a different, less friendly direction.

Objectives–these are what you want to achieve. Goals are proof that you are accomplishing your mission. They are the sign posts along your journey. If market dominance via customer-friendly service is the mission, a customer retention rate of 95 per cent is a worthy goal.

Strategies – these are what you must do to reach your customer retention goals. They may include re-writing sales objectives to reflect your efforts at defensive selling. They could include changing your compensation plan to reflect account retention and training your salespeople on defensive selling.

Tactics – these are the day-to-day tasks that your salespeople perform to execute your defensive selling strategy and reach your customer retention goals and accomplish your mission. It is how you must do what you must do.

Whew! That sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Not really. A lack of structure makes your task more challenging and frustrating.

This model adds discipline and form to your efforts. It provides direction and coordination. It takes the guess-work out of sales management and coaching. Everything you do from hiring, to setting objectives, to training, to compensating, to motivating, to coaching is directed with singleness-of-purpose. How simple can it get?

For example, if you want to build a value added sales force, begin with a vision of what it will look like. Translate that vision into a mission statement. Set objectives that signal you are on the right path. Develop strategies to direct your resources. Coach your salespeople on the tactical execution of your strategy. This is how to get the most from your salespeople.

To build a value added sales management infrastructure, attend to these six critical dynamics: recruiting and selection, setting objectives, training and development, compensation, motivation, and coaching. Let Value Added Selling be your core focus throughout this process. Staff for it. Set goals for it. Train for it. Pay for it. Motivate for it. Coach for it.

Every company has a culture–even no culture is a culture. Your company has a culture. Do you know what it is? An effective sales management infrastructure has six critical dynamics: recruiting, goal setting, training and development, compensation, motivation, and coaching. To get the M.O.S.T. â„¢ from your sales group, begin with a vision, translate it into a mission statement, establish objectives that support the mission, and design strategies and tactics to achieve your goals. Your salespeople should execute tactically what you design strategically.

Tom Reilly is a professional speaker and writer. This article is excerpted from his new book, Coaching For Sales Success: How to create the value added sales culture (Motivation Press, ISBN 0-944448-27-5). You may contact Tom at 636.537.3360 or visit his Web site,

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