What Happens in a Culture when "Sales" is a dirty word?

If you have been in sales long enough, you will run across business professionals that believe sales is a dirty word. You may even work in a company where the sales team is not only under appreciated, but an afterthought in the success of the company.

 

If you are not one of these companies, read no further. You understand the importance of the sales role to business as a whole.

 

Typically this attitude starts at the top and works it’s way into the rest of the work place. The company may be trying to establish a team culture, and in doing so, overlook, or minimize the contribution of the sales team.

 

An example of this is the quarterly meetings held in some businesses. The business leaders may give credit for a great quarter to everyone in the company, except for the sales team. Other examples of demotivating a sales culture include these statements “ the sales people can unpack boxes, or pick up orders, they're not doing anything.”, “ why do they spend so much on clients?”, “when they take a client out, shouldn’t they pay for their own meals?”, “why can’t they finish their paperwork on weekends?” and “If we have to cut, the sales department is first.”

 

This demotivating environment will cause the A players to seek a healthier work place. These A players are on average the top 3% of the sales force. They are elite performers and do not have a difficult time seeking employment. Replacing them with another top performer is not so easy. These people may stay in a bad economy, but watch out, if the job picture improves they will fly away like birds in winter.

 

Some managers will use commissions as a way to excuse a lack of acknowledgement for performance, and sales team building. I have seen and heard this first hand  “ they make more than most of the people in management, that is enough credit.” My answer is: “if they don’t perform, they don’t get paid, and neither does the company.” This fact alone should make them important enough to receive some accolades. It is also prudent to remember that studies have shown money is not the only indicator of satisfaction in the work place.

 

Sales professionals are the front line, the revenue producers, and are pivotal to the success or failure of a business. Their success provides a revenue stream that pays for everything in the company including payroll. If these professionals are not given encouragement and support they become unmotivated and the entire company suffers as a result.

 

The role of a sales professional is difficult enough. Sales professionals face rejection, objections, competitors, pricing pressures, and operational problems. They master the art of relationships with strangers, use flexibility and creativity to provide solutions, counter negativity, read body language, and compel buyers to choose them. They present themselves and their companies in a positive light every day, even on the bad ones. They also eat some crow when things don’t happen the way they promised due to operational issues in the company.

 

If you are a sales professional, and this sounds like your work place, or a company in need of a change in your culture. Contact me, I will gladly provide insight into the importance of the sales role in your business. If you are lucky enough to be in a positive sales culture, word of caution sales professionals ; ”under promise”, and “over deliver.”

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