Don’t Look Now, but Your Sales Culture Gap Is Growing
Every business leader wants a productive, efficient, and effective sales organization—one that consistently hits quota. So why do recent studies suggest that two-thirds of sales reps fail to hit quota? Why do 65% of B2B companies tell Aberdeen Research that their #1 challenge is sales productivity?
A study by the Harvard Business Review on the problem with sales productivity isolates “sales culture” as the most important criteria determining a highly productive company. HBR’s research further indicates that the #1 factor determining whether a company achieves a high-performing sales culture is the company’s ability to align all customer-contact employees with a common culture based on an effective customer-communications strategy.
HBR defines “alignment” as clarity of vision, strategy, and shared behaviors. Without alignment among customer-contact teams, companies cannot avoid a gap in their sales culture. That gap ultimately damages sales productivity. Today, the gap is widening.
In fact, I would argue that this is the most important time in the history of selling for the advent of a healthy and effective company-wide sales culture. Some of the best-run companies in America agree with me—and they are doing something about it.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TIME IN THE HISTORY OF SELLING FOR THE ADVENT OF A HEALTHY COMPANY-WIDE SALES CULTURE.
As HBR suggests, the sales culture gap exists because the sales force is singing out of a different hymnal than the company’s other customer-contact teams. I refer to the people on those other teams, collectively, as Customer Relationship Professionals, or CRPs. CRPs work in functions with names like customer service, technical support, marketing, and many others. But, their ultimate job is to forge stronger relationships with customers. Trouble is, almost nobody even tells them that, much less trains them to do their ultimate job effectively. Small wonder there is so little synergy between the sales and support teams.
That is the reason there’s a gap. But, why is the gap growing today? Mainly because of the internet. Yes, as everyone can and does tell you (ad infinitum), buyers obviously have access to far more information about products and services, thanks to the internet. But, nobody talks about why and how that fact widens the sales culture gap. Here is my take on the situation…