What Is Your Role in Your Company’s Sales Culture?
How can your organization sell more and sell smarter? By creating a powerful sales culture – an environment that inspires and engages everyone in the organization to become part of the virtual sales team and support the sales efforts. In this first article of our six-part series on how to build a sales culture, we focus on the different sales skills and roles required of not only your sales team, but also across your entire organization.
What Is Sales Culture?
Sales culture is the concept that everyone in an organization is in sales – including CEOs, accountants, lawyers, administrative assistants, as well as sales team members. Organizations with a sales culture are full of sales professionals – people who embrace the concept that they have a role in sales, whether they are directly or indirectly involved with the sales transaction. Companies with a sales culture have discovered that by mobilizing and harnessing the power of the entire organization they can effectively boost overall revenues, profitability, and growth.
The Roles of Sales Professionals Versus Sales Reps
When it comes to sales organizations, there are two basic types of team roles – sales representatives and sales professionals. We’re not necessarily talking about two different people, though. Depending upon what role an individual is playing in the sales process at any particular time, that person could be using the skills of a sales rep or a sales professional. In fact, it’s important for everyone in an organization to be aware of these roles and when and why they need to exhibit behavior of a sales rep versus a sales professional. Nurturing both sets of skills across the entire organization is what builds a truly powerful sales culture.
Both of these basic roles share the same basic set of skills needed to be successful. These skills include the ability to:
- Represent a company’s products and services to potential clients and prospects
- Develop expertise in an industry niche
- Know the value proposition and competition cold
- Know when to leverage other people to help bring a deal to closure
- Handle objections
- Do a great job at qualifying prospects
- Know when to ask for the business to close the deal.
So then, what differentiates a sales professional from a sales representative? Sales representatives are primarily focused on the present, their individual roles, and the here and now of a specific sale. They become fully engaged in providing product information to each customer with their primary goal set at getting a contract signed. A good sales rep is very effective in this type of situation.
On the other hand, while sales professionals also need to encompass the roles of a sales rep, they exhibit an important, additional set of skills. Sales professionals must take a step beyond their individual roles and the immediate sale to also consider the bigger picture. They are constantly aware of the overall sales campaign and the virtual team of supporters that contributes expertise to the close of each sale. They do a great job of developing high “Relationship Portability“™ – building strong, long-term business relationships that extend beyond their current day-to-day sales.
Sales Professionals – The Key to Building a Strong Sales Culture
Although sales professionals may at times also need to focus on the daily details of their jobs and closing each sale, they continually create a culture that engages all relevant players in the sales process. When dealing directly with a customer, they can operate as a sales rep focused on the sale – doing great discovery and managing their target list. Yet they never lose sight of the importance of creating a system that brings everyone’s best efforts to the forefront of the sales campaign. Sales professionals are the primary players in an organization who “rally the troops” to build a strong overall sales culture. And, a strong sales culture ultimately drives more sales.
As you look at your own organization, does everyone understand when and how to perform like a sales professional versus a sales rep? In future articles in this series, we’ll show you how to build the important sales rep skills as well as how to nurture the critical sales professional roles necessary to build a strong sales culture and achieve sales success.
For more information about how to build a sales culture in your organization, contact Todd Cohen today. Plus, Todd’s new book Everyone’s in Sales is now available. Click here to learn more about how you can get your copy and help your organization build a sales culture of its own.