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When A Salesperson Fails To Live Up To The Culture Code

For a sales team to be successful, they need to be unified in their culture and clearly understand the company's expectations. When salespeople don't live up to the culture code, it can cause tension within the team and create conflict. Here's what can happen when salespeople don't live up to the culture code, along with how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Define Expectations and Goals

First, you’ll want to establish ground rules, which can be complicated when salespeople have a different mindset than sales leaders. Salespeople are often focused on their own goals and objectives, and they may be resistant to change. As a result, sales leaders must be clear and concise when communicating the ground rules. They must also be willing to enforce the rules, even if it means making tough decisions. 

Only by establishing a clear set of expectations will sales leaders be able to avoid conflict and build a successful sales team. In particular, this means setting clear expectations for salespeople regarding performance, accountability, and conduct.

The Two Different Mindsets

A salesperson's mindset is typically focused on making the next sale. They are often thinking about their sales numbers and their personal quotas. In contrast, a sales leader's mindset is focused on building and developing a sales team that can be successful in the long term. Sales leaders are often thinking about sales training, development plans, and how to motivate and encourage their salespeople. 

This can sometimes clash with the salesperson's more immediate focus on making sales. According to SHRM, "Nearly 2 in 3 workers (65 percent) have experienced conflict with their co-workers—19 percent with their direct manager, 11 percent with an external manager, and 5 percent with an employee working at another company."

However, this clash can be avoided if the sales leader can establish agreed-upon rules at the beginning. The sales leader should clarify that the focus is on building a successful team and that individual sales quotas are secondary to this goal.

By doing so, the sales leader can avoid conflict and create a cohesive team that is focused on achieving success in the long term.

How to Approach Sales Goals

What’s the best way to approach sales goals when the leader and the team have different ideas? One of the most difficult challenges for sales leaders is to align their team's goals with their own. This can be especially tough when the culture code of the organization values individual achievement over team success. 

In such cases, it's vital to have a clear and concise plan for how salespeople can work together to reach goals while maintaining their individual motivation. The first step is clearly communicating the expectations and objectives to the team. Then, each salesperson should be given specific tasks and responsibilities that contribute to the overall goal. Finally, regular weekly check-ins and progress reports will help ensure everyone stays on track. 

By taking these steps, sales leaders can ensure that their team works toward a common goal, even if they have different ideas about achieving it.

Get Everyone on the Same Page

Every sales organization has its culture code, and every salesperson brings their own set of skills and experiences to the table. As a result, it's not unusual for a team's leader and members to have different approaches to meeting sales goals. The key is finding common ground and creating a plan everyone can buy into.

One way to do this is to start by getting everyone on the same page about the company's culture code. For example, what are the core values that drive the organization? What do great salespeople look like? Once you have a shared understanding of the culture code, you can start to align individual goals with the team's objectives.

It's also important to be realistic about what can be achieved. If the team's goal is aggressive, it may be necessary to break it down into smaller, more achievable goals. You, as the leader, should work with the team to develop a plan that everyone feels comfortable with and has a good chance of success. By taking these steps, you can ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal and that your culture code is being upheld.

Handling Objections and Feedback

As the leader of a sales organization, it's essential to create a culture code that values positive feedback and handles objections with respect. 

Your salespeople want feedback. According to Zippia, the Career Expert, "75% of employees who do receive feedback feel that it is essential to their work. Additionally, 45% of respondents also value feedback from their peers and customers, but less than 30% of respondents receive feedback on their work." Therefore, giving feedback should be an essential part of your one-on-ones. Feedback is crucial to learning, coaching, empowering, and building confidence, and it will help your team thrive in their roles.

All too often, salespeople are afraid to give feedback or raise objections out of fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, this leads to a culture of silence that can be toxic to a sales organization. Instead, it would help if you encouraged your salespeople to speak up and share their ideas. When they do, be sure to listen with an open mind and have a respectful dialogue. 

This will show them that their voices are valued and help create a culture of trust. In turn, this will make your sales team more successful and cohesive. 

By emphasizing the value of two-way communication with salespeople and holding everyone in the organization accountable for it, you can create an environment where objections and feedback are welcomed and handled with care. Doing so will help you build a more robust sales team and avoid many pitfalls that can accompany a culture of silence.

Encourage a Positive Team Culture that Supports Growth

A positive team culture is essential for any organization that wants to encourage growth. A culture code helps to define the values that guide an organization, and salespeople are often at the forefront of promoting these values.

By acknowledging and celebrating successes, sales teams can create a culture of excellence that will encourage everyone to strive for their best. In addition, this culture of success will also help to attract new talent and retain existing employees. Finally, by investing in a positive team culture, organizations can ensure that they have the foundation to support growth.

One way to do this is by creating and sharing the culture code. This document should outline the core values that guide everyone in the organization, from the CEO to the salespeople. It should also be a living document that is updated regularly to reflect the changing needs of the business.

OnePoll, on behalf of Bonusly, states, "39% of employees don't feel appreciated at work, which can lead to disengagement." Recognizing your employee's hard work and efforts is essential for motivation and purpose.

Another way to encourage a positive team culture is to celebrate successes. This doesn't mean having a big party every time someone hits their quota; it can be as simple as taking the team out for lunch or buying them a round of drinks.

Recognizing and rewarding good work is essential for maintaining a positive culture.

In The End

Sales is a challenging field but also among the most rewarding. When your sales team is working together and living up to the company culture code, you set yourselves up for success. But even with the best intentions, things can go wrong. That's where we come in.

At Pivotal Advisors, we help sales teams get on the same page and achieve their goals. We define expectations and objectives, encourage a positive team culture, and handle objections and feedback. Contact us today if you need help aligning your team or culture code.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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