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7 Steps to create a sales culture of success. Learn how to recruit and retain top salespeople. Invest in developing and engaging your sales team to build a high-performing sales culture of success.

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Published by Treeline, Inc., 2017-05-04 15:07:07

How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success

7 Steps to create a sales culture of success. Learn how to recruit and retain top salespeople. Invest in developing and engaging your sales team to build a high-performing sales culture of success.

Keywords: sales culture,Treeline Inc,sales recruiting,retention,employee engagement,sales team,salespeople,sales hiring

How to Build
a High-Performing Sales

Culture of Success

7 Steps for Senior Leadership
to Recruit and Retain Salespeople

1 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

Sales culture may mean a variety of different things to different
individuals, but it is often associated with beer fridges, game rooms,
nap spaces, and free lunches. All of those perks add to creating an
enjoyable workplace for employees, but that should not define who
you are as a company.

Creating a sales culture of success starts with aligning business goals with values.

When building a high-performing sales culture of success, it’s not just about the “nice-to-
haves,” it’s about the prioritizing the “must-haves.”

Your sales team must: Employee
> Feel valued and appreciated
> Understand the vision of the company High
> Contribute to the big picture and direction of the Productivity

> Believe in the company’s mission, values, and

> Receive ongoing training and development
> Trust in the management team

Companies that actively work to build a culture of success understand that by investing
in their employees, they are maximizing overall employee productivity. It becomes a full
circle approach: drive employee productivity as you continuously invest in your team.

Salespeople are a fundamental component of your company’s growth. Your sales team
generates new business, increases brand exposure, and drives revenue. They are directly
and indirectly tied to the success of the company.

You need to actively recruit and retain the best of the best in order to grow your sales
team and revenue.

So how do you create a sales culture of
success that enables you to recruit and
retain top sales talent?

2 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

We asked sales managers, CEOs, recruiters, A great way to continuously receive feedback is to
human resource directors, and talent acquisition have both team and one-on-one meetings throughout
leaders how company culture plays into their sales the year. If your managers aren’t doing weekly,
recruitment and selection process. From years of monthly, quarterly, or even annual meetings and
working with different companies, we compiled 7 reviews with their teams, that needs to change.
steps to building and sustaining a high-performing
sales culture of success. Feedback should be twofold; give you insight and a
pulse into how customers view and use your products
STEP 1 and services, and help you understand what is and is
not working within your company internally.
Survey the Company and Bring
Key Decision Makers Together A great place to check for feedback on how current
and former employees view your company is on
As you look to build out
your sales recruitment Glassdoor. Use this
strategy, you first have to information to look for
understand your company’s trends on a common
core values. You want concern, as well as what
the people who join your employees love about the
company to reflect your company.
values, and you want your
core values to align with Another useful way to
the values of all of your gather current feedback
employees. is to ask employees to
participate in anonymous
This starts at the top with Source: MassPay surveys administered
your leadership team and by 3rd party vendors. An
must cascade throughout added benefit to these
the entire company. administered surveys is
that they can also measure
Ask for employee feedback employee engagement. It’s
important to distribute
Even though each department functions in a these surveys anonymously so your employees
different capacity with different day-to-day activities can be honest with their answers without feeling
and metrics, company culture must be universal. compromised.
Executives must be in tune with what’s happening
throughout the company. As demonstrated in the 2016 Gallup Q12 Meta-
Analysis Report, employee engagement continues to
be an important predictor of company performance.

You cannot have culture operate in a vacuum.

3 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

“ Understand your company challenges and map out
your goals
Feedback is
the breakfast Employee feedback allows you and the executive team to understand
of champions. the challenges that are presented within the company, allowing you the
opportunity to improve.

Senior leadership needs to create a plan of action to remedy negative
– KEN BLANCHARD aspects that dampen your company culture and understand the drivers of
what makes your employees genuinely happy and successful.

Depending on survey results, you should focus on a few (attainable)
initiatives that you can execute on over the next 12 months. Develop
a plan and a communication strategy to relay the changes and
improvements throughout the entire company.

Reminder: Your corporate goals motivate your employees and educate
them on what their focus should be. The goals need to be clean and
should articulate why they are important to each sales professional.
Outline your initiatives and be sure to include metrics of success so
that progress can be measured and reported on.


Define Your Company Culture

Your company culture is your identity. This is where
you define who you are, what you do, what culture
means to your entire company, and understand
how that reflects on who you hire to join your
sales team.

This lets your employees know what is expected
of them and what they can expect from you. It’s
important to emphasize this as you roll out new
initiatives. This should be an intrinsic part of your
recruiting and retention strategies.

Source: Rapid7

4 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

Who are you and what do you do? What are your company benefits
and perks?
Typically this is similar to a mission statement. You
are essentially creating a culture code that your This is generally mistaken for the definition of
entire company adheres to. company culture, but it is merely part of the
strategy to strengthen your company culture.
You should know who you are, who you help Your employees should understand their benefits
(your buyers), what your company provides, and package and be encouraged to take advantage of.
you should be able to identify this succinctly. Some benefits may be tailored to different stages
Understand what makes your company unique, of tenure within a company but the majority should
what your sole purpose is for business, what be available to all employees.
your niche is, and what your key characteristics
are. Reduce this to a concise and true message Benefits and perks to help strengthen a company
that everyone internally and externally can digest, culture could include, but are not limited to:
understand, and differentiate.
> Paid Time Off (PTO)
What are your core values?
> Corporate holidays
Your company culture should reflect your
employees’ core values and vice versa. A great way > Flex-time
to understand your company’s core values is to
use the employee feedback that you’ve gathered > Free lunches for celebrations or on a weekly
and identify the values that are important to your or monthly schedule
team members. What are key characteristics of
some of your most respected employees? Do they > Corporate outings
resonate throughout the rest of the company? And
most importantly, do the values of your employees > Time off to volunteer
match up to the values of your founder(s) or what
your executive team believes they should be? > Tuition reimbursement

Your core values should not be taken lightly and > Medical/Dental/Vision insurance
you need to ensure that they are conveying the
right message to your entire company. Make sure > 401k plans
your executive team believes in them, practices
them on a daily basis, and makes decisions to the > Commuting discounts
best of their ability based upon your company’s
core values. > Maternity/Paternity leave

If you’re unsure of what your core values are, pick up Once your corporate culture is defined and
a copy of the book Traction. It will help your company completed, share this with each department and
strengthen the core components of your business. team member. Have a physical copy in your office
(locations), and present it at meetings so that
everyone is clear on the benefits given to them and
why they should feel comfortable using them. It’s
also nice to have on your website so job seekers
can better understand who you are as a company.

5 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

“ STEP 3

Culture is everything to Build Your {Flexible} Candidate Blueprint
us. Central to that is our
set of core values, some As a growing company you need top sales talent. Now that
of which include WOW your company culture is defined, you should have a strong
Service, Be an Optimist, understanding of the type of individuals who would fit best
Embrace Change, Love within your growing sales company. For each sales role you
are looking to fill, identify your current top performers and traits
Community and Do they possess. Using your defined company culture messaging
More with Less, for and the traits and skills (both hard skills and soft skills)
example. These values from your top performers, you now have a flexible candidate
are practiced on a daily blueprint that can help you recruit the top sales talent you need
basis, starting with our to grow your company.
leadership team and
down through the Define the sales job you’re hiring for
entire organization.
Hiring your perfect fit starts with defining your perfect fit. Just
” as you define your corporate culture, you need to define your
open sales position.
This includes: > Who they report to
President at MassPay > Job title > Average deal size
> Responsibilities > Quota and average sales
> Requirements
> Territory/accounts cycle
> Who they are selling into > Commission structure

Work with the sales executive team and managers to get a
clear picture of the sales characteristics noted above. Before
you even begin recruiting, you need to have clear expectations
around the role to help you understand who you should be
looking for.

6 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

Understand the key sales
characteristics required

Companies often fail to hire when they misalign
the sales characteristics required for their
particular selling environment (your sales culture).

Each type of sales role requires certain sales To further align with your sales culture you also
characteristics that enable your new hires to want to focus on soft skills. Are they?
be successful in the role. There are a few sales
characteristics hiring managers should keep > Coachable > Focused
in mind regarding their sales job and the sales
candidates they are looking for. This is deeply > Resilient > Motivated
connected to your sales culture and is something
that should be considered. > Creative/Collaborative > Entrepreneurial

Ask yourself, does this sales role require Do they have GRIT? The ability and determination
someone who has: to persevere, endure, struggle, fail, get back up,
and hit long-term goals.
> A transactional or strategic selling approach?
> Inside or outside sales experience? Know the must-have and nice-to-have
> Sold into general decision makers or C-level requirements

decision makers? Companies often expect a piece of paper to
> Sold a product or service? meet their company and job requirements, but
> Hunting or farming sales experience? companies don’t hire resumes, they hire people.

“ As companies grow, two things generally happen
within hiring. They hire too aggressively and the
Some of the key characteristics corporate culture is watered down, or they are too
we look for are coachability, selective in their search and miss out on great
sales talent. Have a clear understanding of what is
perseverance and aptitude. These required, as opposed to what is preferred.
characteristics help us understand
if someone is going to embrace the
concepts we’re trying to teach, not
give up when it gets tough, and apply

the methods in the correct way.


Director of Sales at Signiant

Treeline, Inc.

STEP 4 Time and budget

Give Your Recruiting Team the Understand when you need to make this sales
Support They Need hire. Empty territories mean missed quotas, which
equals lost revenue that cannot be recovered.
Your company culture resonates at every level Make filling this open sales position a priority and
of your company and is very important in your give yourself a deadline. The average time to hire
recruiting strategy. Your recruiting team is a new employee is 43 days,2 and it takes about 68
supporting the entire company’s hiring efforts. days to fill an executive job.3
As a leader in your company you need to set up
your recruiting team for success as they recruit What is your budget and where will you
sales professionals. invest it?

66% Hiring talented sales professionals will cost you
both time and money, and your recruiting team
of candidates will wait less needs both. Understand what your budget looks
than 2 weeks to hear back from like and where you can allocate those resources.
an employer before considering
Where will you invest your budget?
another opportunity.1
> Job boards
Culture is a business objective, not just > Social media advertising
an HR objective > Career fairs
> Resume databases
By establishing a flexible candidate blueprint for > Offering employee referral incentives
each role, your recruiters understand who they > Partnering with a sales-exclusive search firm
should be targeting and connecting with. That’s
not enough though. In order to hire the best Determine which channel provides both the largest
sales talent, hiring managers need to be involved quantity of applicants and the quality of applicants.
throughout the process. There needs to be a Adjust your recruiting strategy as needed.
process, budget, and an actionable timeframe.

1 Auerbach, Debra. “66% of Candidates Wait Less Than 2 Weeks Before Moving On.” CareerBuilder, 19 September 2016, Treeline, Inc.
2 Howden, Daniel. “Recruiting KPIs: time to fill.” Workable, 24 March 2016,

3 Accelerating Recruiting “Recruiting Slowdown Hurts the Bottom Line.” CEB,

8 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success

Leadership and process “

According to MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study, It’s critical the sales
there are 2 key obstacles to growing headcount: a managers and leadership
lengthy hiring process and a shortage of candidates.
Before you start interviewing candidates, know play an active role
which of your team members are involved in not just “selling” the
the process and how many steps that process candidate to join us, but
consists of. You want to be mindful of this and have to build a relationship and
alignment to make the best hiring decision without understanding of what it
slowing down the process. It’s not a bad idea to have means to work here. It’s a
this process in writing so that everyone involved can
clearly see each step. team effort.

An example of this is: ”

> Phone screen (HR Manager) – CHRISTINA LUCONI

> Face-to-face interview with the hiring manager and Chief People Officer at Rapid7
team members

> Face-to-face interview with the VP of Sales

> Offer

STEP 5 What is employer branding?

Promote Your Employer Brand Your employer brand is how your customers,
prospects, employees, and future employees
Job seekers are looking for jobs and companies perceive what it’s like to work for your company.
that align with their values and goals. 64% of Just as you give your customers the information
candidates are doing research on your company they need to want to work with your company, you
before they even consider applying to your job.1 want to apply that same approach as you look
to recruit candidates to work at your company.
As a company that is hiring, it’s not enough to According to the LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends
promote your jobs. You need to promote your Report, 80% of talent leaders agree that employer
employer brand and culture. branding significantly impacts recruiting.

1 “New CareerBuilder Study Unveils Surprising Must Knows for Job Seekers and Companies Looking to Hire.” CareerBuilder, 1 June 2016,

9 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

Team up with marketing > Share images of your team at conferences,
volunteering opportunities, or hanging out in the
Employer branding is most effective when HR, office
management, sales, and marketing all team up
together. Work with marketing to build out and > Mention any awards your company has been
amplify a strong employer brand strategy that awarded, especially if they highlight culture
will help you reach the right sales talent for your
company. > Share pictures of your office environment and
use a hashtag on social media to let job seekers
If you do not have a Careers page on your website, know you’re hiring #ChangeTheWorld
it would be in your best interest to create one.
Before you even list your open sales jobs on > Highlight key benefits and perks
your careers page, you should give prospective
candidates a glimpse of what it’s like to work at Benefits and perks may not define your sales
your company and of the different departments. culture but they are important when it comes to
Your recruitment marketing efforts should being able to attract and sustain your sales force.
highlight your sales culture: Put a candidate’s mind at ease when it comes to
PTO, health insurance, and financial investments.
> Create and share videos about your current sales Make this information easy for them to find on
team members and what it’s like to work at your your website. This is also a good way to appeal to
company on the sales force different audiences.

> Create a culture code on SlideShare that
captures your corporate values

10 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

STEP 6 “

Engage with Your Sales Candidates Our mission is to spread the
power of optimism. Simple
Recruiting is a sales-driven activity, and just like sales “time as that. Recruiting starts
kills all deals.” You need to move fast on candidates you like. with sharing that message
Unfortunately, many companies will lose out on top sales
talent due to a long and disorganized interview process. It’s and every word matters. We
important that you stay engaged with candidates, nurture the craft our job descriptions,
relationship, and have an efficient sales hiring process. job postings and candidate
communication with
Learn how to sell authenticity and direct
connection to our mission.
Now more than ever, job seekers have options. Make sure you
are selling them on the company, culture, leadership team, ”
and the job itself before you start selling them out of the
opportunity. Don’t heavily rely on the negative sell to qualify – COLLEEN CLARK
candidates. Focus on getting sales candidates interested and
excited about your company and role. Head of Optimistic People
at Life is Good
Sell the sales candidate on the:

> Sales job
> Company and core values
> Leadership team and long-term vision
> Growth trajectory within the company
> Team building activities
> Training and additional educational opportunities
> Perks and benefits

There will be more time to qualify candidates throughout
the interview process.

Interview for Culture candidate shares the same values and would be
Required Skills + Culture Fit = Great Hire a good fit culturally is not always easy to measure.

That’s the formula companies follow in an ideal It’s important to understand that hiring for a
world, but the tricky part is being able to identify the cultural fit doesn’t mean all of your employees
necessary skills and to uncover whether or not the are exactly the same. It means that a company’s
potential sales candidate is a fit for the company. culture is embedded in a deeply diverse company.
Diversity is a competitive advantage. The sales
Skills are required for any role. Skills can also be team should be made up of individuals who
taught within the company. Understanding if the

11 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

complement one another. New hires bring the Some questions you can ask around culture fit:
opportunity for new ideas within the company.
> Who inspires you and why?
Once you are able to assess the hard skills (their > Do you prefer to work alone or in a team-based
selling ability) and understand that they are
capable of performing the sales role, you need to environment?
assess their cultural fit. > Can you describe the best sales leader you

In order to hire for a strong culture fit, ask worked with?
questions to assess a candidate’s interests, goals, > What are you passionate about?
motivation, work ethic, and values. > What attracted you to apply at this company?

It’s also important to have candidates come
into the office for interviews to meet different
members of the team, speak with management,
and experience the work environment.

Source: Rapid7


Retain Top Sales Performers

You have worked hard to invest in building a team recruitment process around necessary skills and
of vital top sales performers, why would you want culture fit, you want to continuously nurture and
any of the effort to go to waste? You need to invest develop your best employees. Success and culture
the same amount of effort towards retaining your are not static.
talented workforce. Just as you built out a strong

12 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

Setting attainable quotas and “
measurable metrics
A positive culture
Sales managers must be tracking the right metrics to understand allows for continuity within
the progress of their sales team. You want to make sure
management is measuring sales activity and has real insight into our organization. Let’s
what is working and what the sales team may be struggling with. face it, if your office isn’t a
fun, engaging and positive
Many sales professionals will choose to leave their sales place to be, your team will
company if they feel that the: continue to turn over. Our

> Sales management team is not supportive recruiting doesn’t stop
> Quota is unrealistic once a person has been on
> Commission structures don’t make sense boarded. We are constantly

You want to make sure you are providing your sales team with proving ourselves as
the right tools to achieve their goals. You should work with them managers to our team
to put together a plan on how they plan to meet their quota.
and asking for great
Recognize and reward performance in return.

Build out a tangible process to recognize, reward, and promote ”
employees. Be willing to offer compensation and benefits that
sustain your employees. When you invest in your team members – MARK HUDSON
they will invest back into your company. This is a low-cost,
high-impact approach to retain your top sales representatives. Co-Owner at Unishippers
Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are likely to
quit in the next year.4

8 TIPS to recognize hard work 5.Receiving high level of achievement through
and achievement: evaluations or reviews

1.Public recognition with a certificate or 6.Promotion or increase scope of responsibility
7.Monetary awards (raise, trip, prize)
2.Private recognition from a manager or CEO
3.Peer-to-peer recognition 8.Time off (half day, full day, extra PTO hours,
4.Praise from a customer work from home)

4 Mann, A., & Dvorak, N. “Employee Recognition: Low Cost, High Impact.” Gallup, 28 June 2016, Treeline, Inc.

13 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success

Engage with sales employees and Learn about their interests and build a relationship
welcome feedback of trust so you have an impact on their motivation
and level of engagement. You will have a better
Culture is not static. Make sure you are understanding of how to best align both their
consistently engaging with your employees and personal and professional goals.
inviting them to provide feedback. As you continue
to grow the company and add additional sales Foster employee development, coach,
professionals to your team, you must repeat steps and mentor
1 and 2 to build a sales culture of success. Make
sure engagement aligns with company objectives Seeing as how sales positions have a median
and revenue goals. tenure of 3.1 years,6 you need to continually
engage with your sales force. Therefore,
Engaged employees sell more than their less employee development should be a company
engaged counterparts.5 You want your sales focus. Employees generally look for a new sales
team to have a clear understanding of their job opportunity when they feel disengaged at work
responsibilities, how their performance impacts or don’t feel as if there is any mobility within
the growth of the company, and to feel engaged the company. Your top performers are going
with their work. to want to advance their careers. Provide them
that opportunity within your own company by
Bring your sales team together for meetings, continuously training and mentoring your employees.
reviews, as well as celebrations. Take the time to
get to know your employees on a personal level. 5 tips to develop your sales team:

Find out what’s important to them: > Allow sales representatives to take on additional
projects and shadow other departments to learn
> Are they starting a family? more about the company

> Do they enjoy traveling? > Provide the opportunity to meet with sales
management for Q & A
> Are they looking to purchase a home, car,
or boat? > Offer time in or outside the office to attend
courses, workshops, or conferences
> Do they enjoy reading, if so, what kind of
books do they like? > Provide monthly training exercises

> What are their favorite hobbies? > As a manager, listen in on calls and attend off-
site customer meetings with your sales reps
> Do they have a favorite sports team?

5 Smith, B., & Rutigliano, T. “Creating a Successful Sales Culture.” Gallup, 26 November 2001, Treeline, Inc.

6 “Employee Tenure News Release.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22 September 2016,

14 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success

Source: Unishippers

Reduce turnover, increase engagement Employees don’t leave companies,
and invest in management they leave management

Less than one-third of American workers were One of the main contributors of employee turnover
engaged within their position in 2012, compared is a lack of sales management. It’s been found
with 52% who were not engaged and 18% who that top producers leave companies due to the
were actively disengaged. It is estimated that breakdown in their relationship with their direct
actively disengaged workers alone cost the U.S. supervisor (70% of the time),8 so investing in
between $450 billion and $550 billion per year.7 your sales managers is equally as important as
investing in the entire sales force. Set your sales
Conclusion team up for success by coaching, training, and
mentoring your sales managers. Sales managers
Building a sales culture of success is a continuous set the culture for his or her sales team.
process. As your business grows, you need to
evaluate and define your own company culture. When a company’s culture is clearly aligned with
Understand the value it plays in the recruitment business goals, employees feel engaged and have
and retention of top sales professionals. a higher level of productivity. Negative culture
disengages sales performance and in the end, it
will negatively impact the bottom-line.

By having a long-term plan around creating and Simply put, happy employees are productive
sustaining a sales culture of success, companies employees. From recruiting, to hiring, to retaining
increase sales performance and revenue. top sales talent, your company must make the
According to Quantum Workplace, highly engaged investment in developing employees. By creating
companies have 22% higher profitability and 16% a healthy and competitive sales culture, your
greater revenue growth. company can continue to recruit and retain sales
professionals who can further grow the business.

7 Beck, R., & J. Harter. “Companies are Missing Opportunities for Growth and Revenue.” Gallup, 28 April 2015,

8 Smith, B., & Rutigliano, T. “Creating a Successful Sales Culture.” Gallup, 26 November 2001,

15 | How to Build a High-Performing Sales Culture of Success Treeline, Inc.

Meet the right fit for your

sales team today.

Contact Treeline, Inc.

Treeline Incorporated
591 North Ave, Suite 1
Wakefield, MA 01880

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