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Sales Culture

By: Liz Heiman
Categories: Business Owners, Closing the deal, Sales, Sales Coaching, Sales leadership, Sales Management

CEO’s today must integrate sales into their culture if they want a healthy organization. In fact, they must lead, inspire, train, coach every employee about their critical role if they don’t want their company left for dead.

Rate your organization to see how it stacks up. You have a scary sales culture if:

1. Sales is a “dirty” word for most employees

If any member of your team cringes when asked if they are in sales, you have a problem.

2. Sales and Marketing are at odds with each other

Let’s be clear: Sales success depends upon marketing success. Power comes in working together to map the buying process and the role each department plays. Understanding the difference between a Marketing Qualified Lead and a Sales Qualified Lead will help define appropriate actions around each. Focus on the result – a closed deal.

3. Accounting, Operations and Product Development complain about the sales team

It’s easy to get upset at your sales reps, but they only get paid when they sell, and your company only makes money when they sell, so what is your team doing to support sales and remove internal roadblocks?

4. Only salespeople go to networking events

If everyone in your company thinks that networking is the sole responsibility of the sales team, your company is missing huge opportunities. The culture must shift so that everyone in the company is part of the sales team. Each employee must be able to articulate what you sell, your value proposition, and how to hand a lead over to sales.

5. Your company is focused on selling instead of buying

Are you focused on quotas, close dates and making sure you hit your numbers instead of why people want to buy from you, and what makes that process easier for them? If you are, you are slowing down your sales process. Turn the focus to the customer.  Understand what they want, how they want to buy and how you can help them.

6. You hire salespeople who can “Sell Ice in the Arctic”

If they don’t need ice in the Arctic, you shouldn’t be selling it there. Focus your efforts on customers who want what you sell. Focus on solving problems and building life-long relationships. The more you focus on finding the customers that want what you need the faster the sales process will be, the more repeat business you will get and the more referrals you will get.

7. If there is a problem, customers always call sales first

If your customers call sales first when they have a problem, it is because they don’t have relationships with the people in your company who should be helping them. Sales reps develop trusting relationships during the sales process, the rest of the team needs to find a way to establish credibility. If you want happy customers who buy more and refer new customers, your team needs to take responsibility for building relationships.

8. You cut prices to bring in sales early

When sales leaders get worried about hitting numbers, they cut prices. Often, that will make year-end numbers look good, but will cut into overall profits. Setting the precedence for year-end price-cuts makes a sales rep’s job that much harder next year. Instead, start paying attention to the top of the funnel. Make sure you have enough leads moving through that you won’t have to push deals to close early.

9. Sales managers blame sales reps for not hitting their goals

If there are only one or two sales reps, not hitting goal, there is a mismatch between your employee you hired and the job you need them to do. If most or all of your sales reps aren’t hitting their goals, there is something very wrong with your sales culture. Look at leadership and figure out how they can help support the sales team.

10. Employees complain about customers

Chances are you have customers who aren’t ideal, but that doesn’t mean your employees get to complain! Instead, it’s a sign of a deeper problem rooted in selling to the wrong customers. (Pssst; contact me about a better-targeted sales strategy.) If you can’t fix the relationship, sever it respectfully and stop the war of “us” vs. “them.”


What else makes a scary sales culture? I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below.

Liz Heiman
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Liz Heiman

Sales leadership coach at Alice Heiman LLC
A strategic thinker, sales strategist, Japanist, and Rotarian, Liz is a coach, trainer, and prolific speaker on the topics of sales and sales leadership. Liz loves sales, and enjoys working with sales leaders to create strategies and processes that make sense AND bring in results.
Liz Heiman
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