If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while you probably already know how to create a successful sales team. But how to you create a successful sales culture? Today on the funnel we talk directly to our sales managers about what it takes to build a successful sales culture, walking the same path, including the team, making it personal, and valuing their sales reps. As always if you have any questions please feel free to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and I’ll do my best to help in any way I can.
What we’re going to cover:
- Walk the same path.
- Include the team.
- It’s personal.
Walk the same path.
Here’s what happens:
“You get a job in sales, you start your career out learning how to be a salesperson, you’ve managed to have some level of success, you’ve gotten better at your job, you’re at the top of your game, and you decide to move into management. And history repeats itself.
We didn’t get a lot of training, a lot of support, a lot of help in becoming sales reps. A lot of what we learned we learned on our own, so we get to the management role and it’s the same thing. There’s no onboarding, there’s no management program, staff training, development, you just do what your manager did with you and then pulled out the things you liked or didn’t like.”
But why is that a problem?
“The issue I see is that oftentimes managers move into that role and they feel like to some degree they’ve arrived. The roles changed, they have sales manager meetings, a lot of administrative responsibilities, phone calls, emails, voicemails, text messages, events, whatever it is they get pretty busy pretty fast. Their job is to hire the team and then coach and train them, and that’s fine. But what they don’t do is get into the trenches.”
Get into the trenches.
“Successful managers go out there, roll up their sleeves, and do what their sales reps do. What greater feeling can you have then to sell something and then as a manager to see your sales reps sell something?”
“I’ve done it, I’ve been successful, I’ve earned the right to be here, I’ve earned the right to be a manager, and then here as a branch manager, but I haven’t forgotten what it takes to be successful and I’m going to show you that I haven’t forgotten. I’ll do the same things I’m asking you to do.”
Side by side.
“This is what we do here we roll up our sleeves, get in the trenches, we make sales calls side by side with our team members. I’m going to show you that I do it too and I’m not above doing it. If you’re a manager working for me, I need you to do it too.”
Sometimes you need to get dirty.
“I need you to get dirty sometimes. Sometimes you need to get dirty for them to see the value which you bring to the table, that you know what you’re talking about, you’re not just preaching to the choir.”
“Show them your successes, show them your failures, that hey I get in these sales calls and things don’t always work out 100% of the way they’re supposed to I’m human but I’m not going to tell you you’re doing everything wrong and not do the work.
“It’s leadership, it’s culture, it’s building that culture. All for one one for all. That’s what this is about, that’s what walking the same path means, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, I’m not afraid to do this, I feel your pain. I’m not trying to outshine you or show you up, I’m showing you that I’m willing to do what you do. Getting dirty goes a long way for your sales team, they appreciate that.”
Include the team.
“If you have a project that needs to get done there’s nothing wrong with including team members, there’s nothing wrong with asking them what they think and involving them. Ultimately you make the decision but including them in the process builds trust again that’s culture.”
“You delegate to them the things you want to get done and you ask them to make good decisions.”
What if they make a bad decision?
“I’m not going to get mad at you for making a bad decision but if you consistently make bad decisions we have to talk. But I’m not going to get mad at you for making a decision. I’m going to get mad if you don’t make a decision. When you make a bad decision I’m okay with it, you’re learning, but you just can’t do it over and over again.”
“I’m going to delegate this responsibility to you on this project, I’m going to make some decisions, put it together, get some constructive feedback. Some of it’s going to be good, some of it we’re going to change, that’s how it works. This builds a team, it shows your trust in them.”
Opens your eyes
“You’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty and now you’re willing to give them a little more responsibility. What does that do for you as a manager? It opens your eyes to the ability of your individual team members beyond what they’re selling for you now.”
“How do they work together as a team? How do they navigate those waters? Do they meet the deadlines? Can they follow the process to get the project done, is the quality of work good? Can they speak clearly and openly about it? Can they get their point across to you as they go through the project?”
“You’re learning about their ability to potentially manage one day. It’s growth it helps everybody.”
“I understand the value of team building. I understand the value of getting to know your rep.”
“Go to lunch with your rep, talk to them about the things that are important to them. Whether that’s personal, their family, their friends, what they like to do on the weekends.”
“Because I’m genuinely interested in who they are, what they’re about, and how I can help them. You should take a personal interest in them, it’s how you build culture because the rep thinks ‘wow they ask me personal questions about my family, genuinely, they’re interested. They care.'”
“Do some team dinners. One manager, I worked with he used to do a team dinner every year, again building that culture. There is also company functions or events, attend them, make it personal but not overly personal. Show you care about the people you work with.”
“You spend the vast majority of time with them every day you might as well know who they are, what they’re about, what’s important to them beyond the office, and what they care about or don’t care about.”
“I’m not saying you need to be their best friend but you get the point it’s all about becoming a team and working together. People respond to that, they want to be successful for you and for themselves because you care and they care about you. It’s culture.”
Beyond the numbers
“Value is beyond the numbers. I like people who hit their numbers and I have a minimal acceptable set of standards for success in my company right? But it’s beyond the numbers. You have to hit your number because that’s part of the deal but it’s more than that.”
See them as human beings
“You see them as human beings, treat them as human beings and not as a number or a means to an end for yourself. If you do that you’ve got genuine loyalty.”
Keep Filling The Funnel
We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover. You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.