June 27th, 2011
Sales Leadership: Building Culture to Increase Profits
Did you know that when you lose a salesperson, it costs you 4 times what you paid that person during their employment? These costs include not only salary, but benefits, lost sales/profits, time of management support, training costs, and in many cases lost market presence and bad company image with repeated new salespeople calling on the same accounts (if you want the entire formula, send me an email and I will send it to you: Ken@AcumenMgmt.com)
In a recent WSJ column a graph was displayed showing the level of discontent of workers that are “seriously considering leaving their jobs”. They surveyed 2,400 workers and compared a study from 2005 to 2010 showing the percentages of discontent.
Ages 2005 2010
25-34 25% 40%
35-44 24% 33%
45-54 20% 28%
These numbers are significant for two reasons; one: as the economy gets better and more jobs open up, plan and expect to lose people and two: why should be people be discontented?
As readers of this blog should know, my answer to point number one to build an on-going sales recruiting program. See previous blogs on recruiting or view my free video on my website.
The answer to number two is more challenging but is a critical role in the job of sales leadership, creating a positive culture of high performance. In many of my keynote programs I discuss the need for leaders to “align the soul of the individual with the goals of the organization”, this means that the leader must know the individual goals of each person and then you must show that person they can achieve their personal and professional objectives by assisting the organization in achieving its goals. If the salesperson wishes to purchase a boat, show them how they can earn the extra commissions to pay for the boat, HINT, create a poster with a picture of that boat with a bar chart that reflects the sales goals required to hit the required cost of the boat. If is a college fund for their children you should know that as well.
In addition to the personal skills required by sales leaders, you will need to create the atmosphere where you reinforce belief in your organization. Previous blog on building belief would be a good read on this topic, but in summary focus on building success stories on where your product/service has greatly benefited your client base and share them at least quarterly.
Next, are you creating a fun atmosphere? An office where people enjoy each other, laugh, share idea’s, talk about their lives and work together for the common good is essential. One idea I have recommended at this time of the year is to have your sales team and/or management team cook a picnic lunch for all your employees. Make is a summer, once a month event, it’s a way to say thank you. Create a theme, some fun event, allow the president or others to simply give a short talk about a positive event(s) within the company and then everyone “get’s back to work!
If you have other ideas on building culture, please post them below and let’s build a library of ideas.
Focus on building a culture where your salespeople are earning top commissions, expectations for high performance are set, discipline, accountability, control are in place and a positive environment is a priority. Your turnover will reduce, your profitability will soar.
Have a safe and fun 4th of July and remember why we celebrate that day!
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 13 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America.