Sometimes as a Sales Manager you’ll find that the best path for improving sales is simply to get back to basics. I don’t mean revisiting the fundamentals of sales processes; rather, I mean asking yourself some basic grounding questions: “Why do we do what we do?”, “How does our Sales Team function as a unit?” and “How can we better connect with our clients?” To me, the answers to these questions can be found by focusing on the 3 Cs: Cause, Culture and Customers. Here’s what I mean:
Why do we do what we do? This question strikes at the heart of our baseline motivations. What drives us? What compels us? What excites us? Sure, there can be motivators like personal pride, recognition and, of course, money. But cause goes deeper. It is about our passion, our purpose, our calling! This can be tough to define at the corporate level (although companies like TOMS have mastered this with their philanthropic and service initiatives). But even if your corporate organization does not have a singular driving cause, you can seek to at least learn and support the individual callings of your sales team members.
Perhaps some of your salespeople are driven mainly by how their work can further what’s important to their family. Others might view their work to be an extension of their faith. Still others might be passionate about the arts or sports or social causes. You can probably tell what drives many of your sales team members without having to dig; they will talk freely about their passions or adorn their office walls with images that provide none-too-subtle clues. But some causes – and their supporters – can be quieter or more personal. Still, all you have to do is ask. Nearly everyone, including each team member and customer, loves to talk about what they believe in. Knowing those individual causes can help you motivate, reward and serve in ways that can drive superior sales performance.
Asking your sales team members – and genuinely caring about – what drives them can be a great first step in creating a positive culture within your sales organization. Even though your sales team might not occupy the same corporate space at the same time, very often due to external sales calls, they are still a team. And every great team, every team that performs well as a unit, is cohesive in ways that transcend their individual abilities. That cohesion is either working towards or against your team’s objectives. Do they feel supported and nurtured? Do they feel like you are helping them become successful? Do they feel as though their contributions are recognized? A salesperson might have many motivators, but it has been shown again and again that employees are more loyal and do better work when they feel like they are an important part of a team. Salespeople want to know that they not only fit in, but also that they are an important piece in defining the culture. Oftentimes, comfort with the culture can trump commissions as a motivator.
It’s easy to say that customers come first. After all, we must strive to keep the customer happy or risk losing the account to a competitor, right? Yes, but… If we think of the customer merely as an account, that is the first step in sacrificing the privilege to serve that customer. Indeed, when customers choose you, they are trusting you to serve them. That requires you to get to know them and their evolving needs over time. Some of that can happen during a periodic client review or customer check-up. But it should go beyond that. It should go beyond being the sole responsibility of salespeople to know their customers. As the Sales Manager, you, too, should do what it takes to know the customers. Don’t just ask your salespeople to share their impressions of the customer. Instead, visit the customer with the salesperson. Form your own impressions. This personal contact can provide essential perspective to help you and the salesperson discuss the customer – and ways to better serve the customer – moving forward.
The Bottom Line:
Focusing on Cause, Culture and Customers is essential for creating a positive sales environment and boosting sales performance. In thinking about these 3 Cs for this article, I was reminded of the journey my wife and I took to Tanzania (chronicled in my book). We went not only to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and to experience a safari adventure, but also to learn about the African people and make a difference in the lives of children in an African orphanage. In the end, of course, we learned a great deal about what makes us tick and how we can use that to become better servant leaders for clients. But you don’t have to venture to a distant part of the world to find ways to improve sales performance. By focusing on Cause, Culture and Customers, you will probably find that you have the answers already close at hand. We can help. Contact a Sales Xceleration Advisor today, or give us a call at 1 (844) 874-7253.