3 Ways to Create a Successful Sales Culture

User AvatarZac Kerr

Culture dynamics in any workplace can make or break the job for employees. Have you figured out the best way to create positive culture in your sales teams yet? If you haven’t and are looking for ideas, check out what we’ve done and seen other successful companies do to make sure their reps love their job and avoid high turnover rates. 

Did you know…

According to the Harvard Business Review: “Companies worry about employee attrition in every department, but it’s especially costly in one function: sales. Estimates of annual turnover among U.S. salespeople run as high as 27%—twice the rate in the overall labor force. In many industries, the average tenure is less than two years.”

Even if your company or team doesn’t have high turnover rates like this one mentioned above, that should be something managers and business owners are constantly thinking about. One of the best ways to retain talent is to create an environment where they feel valued, welcome, and respected. That’s where sales culture comes in—what does yours look like?

What is sales culture?

Sales culture is the overall attitude, behavior, and habits of sales reps dictated by the dynamic of managers, other reps, or business owners. Oftentimes the sales culture is exemplified at any given time or place. The unique sales culture created will make or break the effectiveness of any sales team. 

A positive sales culture will create an environment in which employees feel heard, valued, and that they are being pushed toward professional development.

3 Ways to create a successful sales culture

  1. Create a team expectation of trust and accountability
  2. Acknowledge wins but also where there is room for improvement
  3. Have healthy competitions regularly

*Bonus tip: Conduct employee surveys to get real feedback

#1 Create a team expectation of trust and accountability

Look at your sales team like a football or baseball team (whatever sport you love). They are synonymous in the way you have to trust that your teammate will make that tackle or you hold each other accountable to show up to practice and train before games. In sales you’re only a team if you can trust your coworkers and know that they are doing their best just like you. As cliche as it sounds, you have to work together to be a successful team.

Here are some ways you can create a culture of trust and accountability within any team:

  • Be transparent about the stats required of each rep. When a rep knows the numbers they have to hit that month for the team to succeed, it’ll be easier for them to aim for those goals.
  • As a manager, trust that your reps will do their job, don’t micromanage their every move. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t keep an eye on their numbers, but don’t constantly badger them and make them feel like they are doing a terrible job all the time.
  • Promote accountability from rep to rep. Managers can only get so close to their employees, but coworkers can develop a different level of relationship so make sure that the team holds each other accountable for goals, not just managers. 

#2 Acknowledge wins but also where there is room for improvement

There is a delicate balance between only celebrating the wins your team has or only focusing on the shortcomings. Successful teams have to find a common middle ground. You have to include the negative where there is positive and vice versa. Acknowledging when your team hits a specific goal or exceeds a monthly projection is key to reward them for their hard work; but likewise if they fall short or perform below their usual threshold, managers and other reps need to detail where improvements need to be made to avoid this in a non-toxic way. 

We all have horror stories of past employers that would tell you you’re doing a terrible job in a non-constructive way. Successful sales culture has no room for that. There are plenty of healthy ways to explain the needs for improvement. Such as:

  • Having 1:1 meetings with the rep that needs help.
  • Acknowledge that they are trying their best and give specific ways that they can improve.
  • Host workshops for the entire team so the rep doesn’t feel singled out.

How to tell your employees or coworkers that they’re doing a great job:

  • Motivosity money. Give a shoutout and some money along with it so whoever is killing it can get a digital gift card. 
  • Share specific wins in company chats like Slack that show the entire company how good the sales team or rep is doing. 

#3 Have healthy competitions regularly

We all know that sales reps are naturally competitive people, so why not play into it? At SalesRabbit we have regular competitions with our reps and at times we get the entire company involved. 

Here are some fun ideas for you:

  • Have the company vote for which rep will sell the most accounts by the end of the month—publish results in company wide channels for more buy-in.
  • Offer a gift card or new shoes to whoever gets the highest monthly commission.
  • Incentivize reps with a day off or a pizza party for reaching a collective goal for the year or month.

There are a lot of other ways to get reps fired up; these are just some of the ones that have worked for us. What ideas have you tried?

*Bonus tip: Conduct employee surveys

There are so many software options out there to collect anonymous employee surveys to get real feedback on the sales culture. Use something like Fellow, Lattice, Google Forms, or SurveyMonkey to start getting actual insights on how your reps feel. A lot of these programs allow for a free trial so you can test it out without impacting budgets until you know if it works for your team. 

If you’re a rep reading this, suggest using one of these softwares in your next meeting so your voice and option will always be heard.

Looking for more tips on team culture?

We regularly share tips and tricks for how to create a strong bond for any sales team. Check out all of our blogs on sales culture in one convenient place and give us comments on what you find helpful!

Comment down below any tips you might have that have worked for your team or things that haven’t worked in the past.

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