Performance – Expectations must be set up front

"It’s not OK to be mediocre.”

That’s a sanitized version of something I hear at one of my clients all the time. It is their sales mantra. They are clear about the fact that all business success starts by having clients. If you’re a hospital, you need patients, if you’re a university, you need students, if you’re a ski resort you need skiers. No matter what business you are in, you need clients to sustain corporate life and to fuel growth. This all starts by having a highly effective selling team.

Set the right tone

From the interview process, to the on-boarding process, to managing the sales organization day to day, the message has to be clear. Consistent performance is expected. The sales manager must set the tone by being a positive role model. They themselves must be organized, disciplined, consistent and reliable with regards to performance.

From the time the interview process begins, the sales manager must be clear about what is expected from the sales team during each stage of their employment. In the beginning, the new sales producer will need to learn about your business, your industry, your product/ service offerings and your competitors.

The new sales producer also must be clear about the importance of and the need for administrative compliance; keeping the CRM system up to date, while properly completing all required paperwork and productivity reports is a necessity in creating a world-class sales organization, regardless of your size. And of course, there must be clarity with regards to the importance of hitting the activity goals especially early on when there is an absence of significant revenue production.

Reinforcement is the key ingredient

Building a winning sales culture does not end once the initial on-boarding process is over. It’s a journey that requires the sales manager to continually reinforce behavior and performance expectations. Over time, encouragement and reinforcement is essential to ensuring that winning habits and behaviors are built into everyday life.

It’s not always a fit

The reality is that many improvement initiatives fall short of our initial optimism, not because the on-boarding and management processes do not work. They fall short because the selling professional (manager or producer) either doesn’t understand the value of the process, or they lack the commitment and discipline required to achieve consistent selling success. As a sales producer, you may be at a company that may not be a fit for you. The company’s lack of commitment and/or discipline may be holding you back from reaching your full potential. On the other hand, there are plenty of examples of where the sales producer is not a fit for the company. Their personal commitment and, discipline is disabling the organizations ability to reach its full potential. 

An organization’s collective habits and behaviors are a clear reflection of their ability to succeed in sales. They reflect the organization’s values, capabilities, and confidence. In a successful sales culture, the focus is on understanding which habits and behaviors lead to the creation of selling success and client retention. And of course, your best sales managers are your best teachers. They will teach and reinforce the habits and behaviors that lead to selling success.


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