Every group of people, no matter their purpose, takes on its own unique philosophy, culture, expectations, norms and values. The ability of a team to take on its own identity is the fundamental power of small group dynamics.
This culture will be formed with or without sales management’s active participation.
Sales managers need to evaluate their group and ask themselves two important questions:
- “What type of culture do I want to instill into my sales team?” and
- “Do I want to define the parameters or have them dictated to me?”
Let’s look at several examples of small group dynamics that can form with, or without, a sales manager’s participation:
- A culture that is cutthroat, overly competitive, and adversarial
- An environment that is laid back, non-competitive, and passive
- A group that is cooperative, yet competitive and resilient
- Salespeople who are proud of what they do, how they do it, what they represent, and who they represent
- Salespeople who are ashamed of sales, what they sell, and for whom they sell.
The real secret to building a successful sales culture is for you, as a sales executive or sales manager, to determine what you want your environment to be like.
The culture you forge will be a function of numerous variables including:
- The people you select to be on your team
- The standards you use to recruit, hire and retain team members
- The orientation and training program you have in place
- The expectations you place on people and the way you ensure accountability
- The performance management and review process in place
- The pay plan you use to incentivize your team
- The style of leadership you use
- The tools, systems, and processes you employ to ensure ongoing levels of motivation
- The support team and tools you utilize
- Your ability to communicate and ensure compliance to standards, decisions, reasons, and ideas to your sales team
The bottom line is that as a sales manager, you can be the creator of something that will develop anyway — so why not make a conscious effort to mold your sales team’s culture in ways that will be profitable, productive, and positive?
It’s easy to sit back and allow things to be dictated to you. If that is the case, you’ll have to work with the group dynamics your team creates on its own, good or bad. Your best-practice choice is to influence your team’s environment so you can control the outcome. Implement the previous ten variables in your own way to build a championship team. The key is to be proactive and consistent.
Putting those elements of your sales culture into place will help you be a more successful sales manager, help make your salespeople more resilient, positive, profitable and allow you to have a top-producing sales team.
Will Brooks is COO of The Brooks Group, a sales training, sales management training and sales assessment company based in North Carolina. Contact Will at 336-615-8835 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.