Sales Culture: Can't We All Just Get Along
YES! The simple answer is yes, we can all get along. Sales teams are by nature competitive. We would all love to fill our teams with college athletes, right? I love hiring college athletes because they have had to work with a team. Most companies are hiring them because they have a competitive edge. The real question, is where does it go wrong?
We have somehow created a culture that is explained by executives as "a necessary evil". As a sales professional this has been offensive to me. Your sales team keeps your company afloat, is the reason your products are being referred to other companies and is the department paying your salary. Sales is often treated as if they are the most disposable department in a company, they certainly have more turn over than any other department. Executives set low salaries and high quotas, with the antiquated idea that a starving sales rep will work harder, than a well paid one. WHAT THE F? In what crazy mind did this make sense. Let's create stress in someone's personal life so they work harder for us. When you look at your entry level salaries and you're paying your marketing assistant twice as much as a sales rep with a 1.3 Million quota, you are the problem and you are the reason your sales team is a mess.
So how do we fix this? I have a few steps.
1.) Admit you created this problem. Not your sales reps or team leads. You the C Team, and you alone are the reason your sales team does not work well together.
2.) Be the company that fairly pays your sales team. Many companies have changed those 35k - 60k base salaries to 70k - 110k salaries. Because lets be very honest, a sales rep bringing your company 1M or more in sales a year should be bringing home at least 150k a year. There are so many studies that show employees who do not feel financial stress perform at a higher level, on the low side employees for feel valued are 35% more productive than those who don't. Can you imagine 35% more sales just by giving a 15% raise to your sales team. I mean WOW!
3.) Create an environment where your sales professionals are encouraged to work together. Team quotas and bonuses are amazing for this cultivation. If the entire team benefits from a team members "whale sale" they are all going to be excited when it happens, they will also want to help it happen. You'll eliminate most of the jealousy and back stabbing behavior by implementing this. Let's be honest here, a million dollar sale has never happened for any company without the help of management in most departments. This takes support away from other team members and puts pressure on them to support each other. Everyone should benefit from these times in companies. These sales should be celebrated and used as momentum.
4.) Never pin sales professionals against each other! PLEASE STOP DOING THIS! I have seen this done in many different ways and even as extreme as hiring two reps at a time and firing the one with lower sales after three months. This is the behavior of a toxic sales culture, if you are doing this you should know your sales numbers are lower than they would be if you had a positive culture.
5.) Team building! Yes, I know this can seem elementary but it works. Get your sales team out of the office, working as a team during office hours. This doesn't just mean send them to a bar or to lunch. Send them to do a team activity! Search team building activities in your city, they exist and you will be happy you sent them there! I highly recommend doing this monthly. Your sales team is stressed and worried about their job security, regardless of their individual performance.
I hope you're inspired to build a happier culture for your sales teams now! Please share how you have created a better team culture for your sales department in the comments! Have an amazing week!